Quality Childcare in 2018
The About Early Years project was launched in May 2017, by Ceeda, the private sector research agency specialising in early years research.
Connect Childcare have been their Technology Sponsor from the beginning and are proud to be supporting this research programme to incite change in the early year’s sector.
Their latest report highlighting changes and issues in the sector from 2017 – 2018 is due for release on the 1st October and contains some important and valuable insights.
We’ve had a look at the full report and bring you some of the headlines about the state of quality and capacity in the childcare industry right now.
Changes to providers.
The number of Non-Domestic Childcare Providers (Nurseries, Pre Schools & Holiday Clubs) has remained relatively stable compared to the previous year, but the number of registered Childminders continues to drop dramatically, emulating the decline of the previous years.
The number of single-site non-domestic providers has dropped by 18% since last year with the number of two or more site providers continuing to rise. However, despite consolidation within the market, the majority (69%) of places are still delivered by providers with 2 sites or less, meaning that many providers will struggle to benefit from economies of scale.
Changes to capacity.
Unsurprisingly, with the introduction of the 30-hour funding for eligible 3 & 4 year olds average occupancy has increased from last year, with the biggest rise in 3 – 4 year olds occupying places.
Changes to quality.
Despite the issues faced by the sector, quality childcare is still on the rise. 95% of childcare providers were rated as good or outstanding at the end of March 2018, an increase from just 79% 5 years ago.
Closing the gap.
The report highlights the issue that where you live may impact your ability to access a childcare place.
The most deprived areas of the UK have seen a drop in the number of childcare places per head, while the places per head in the least deprived areas is increasing.
Could the closure of Childcare Centres, and the increase in closures due to the 30-hour funding be having an impact on the outcomes of children in deprived areas?
In 2017, just 56% of children known to be eligible for free school meals achieved a good level of development at the end of reception, compared to 73% of all other children. The About Early Years’ report confirms that the progress in narrowing the gap between the average performance of all children and the 20% lowest attaining children has halted. A separate report by the Education Policy Institute suggests that it will take well over a hundred years to close the gap by the end of secondary school.
We know the impact that good quality early education can have on disadvantaged children and hope that this report will highlight the impact that changes to the sector might have on the next generation.
The About Early Years Annual Report is available from the 1st of October.
Before it’s release you can read the headline bulletin here.