Nearly all North Yorkshire childcare providers rated good or outstanding
More than nine in 10 childcare providers in North Yorkshire were rated good or outstanding at their latest inspection – despite plummeting numbers of childminders.
Of the 548 childcare providers inspected in the area, education watchdog Ofsted classes 92 as outstanding and 434 good, as of 31 March.
This means 96% were graded highly, in line with the average for Yorkshire and the Humber.
The regulator visits childminders, nannies, nurseries and preschools within 30 months of registration.
Inspectors judge providers on four categories: the effectiveness of the leadership, quality of teaching and learning, personal development and welfare, and the outcomes for children.
Those rated inadequate will be inspected again within six months, and within a year for those requiring improvement.
In North Yorkshire, 11 childcare providers are inadequate, while 11 require improvement.
Across England, 76,600 businesses and people providing childcare were registered with Ofsted in March, 12% fewer than in August 2015, according to an Ofsted analysis.
A fall in the number of individual childminders drove the decrease. Over the period, 9,000 were lost, leaving 39,000 at the last count.
In North Yorkshire, there are 361 childminders, 88 fewer than in August 2015.
The Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years industry body is working with the University of Plymouth to find out why fewer people choose to become childminders.
Its chief executive, Liz Bayram, called dwindling recruits “a major concern” when demand for childcare is at a record high.
She said: “Recent decisions to end the childcare business grant for new childminders, registration delays at Ofsted, unnecessary bureaucracy and low income levels due to reduced government funding are putting more and more people off.
“We need to work with government to tackle these issues and for them to work with PACEY to reinvent childminding as the perfect flexible career for 21st century parents, carers and others who want to work with children.”
Standards remain stable with 95% of the country’s childminders rated as good or outstanding, the same share as overall childcare providers.
Minister for children and families, Nadhim Zahawi, said more childcare providers were rated highly “than ever before”, up from 68% in 2010.
He added: “This improvement is testament to our committed early years staff who are pivotal to increasing quality and ensuring preschool children get a great start to their education.
“We are investing more in childcare than ever before, including £3.5 billion this year alone in our free offers, so that more children benefit from an early education that puts them on track to succeed in life.”