Reporting Year 2022

Childcare and early years provider survey

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Introduction

This release provides information on childcare and early years provision in England from the Department for Education (DfE)’s Survey of Childcare and Early Years Providers (SCEYP). SCEYP provides important insights into childcare and early years provision and the challenges that providers face. It covers group-based providers, school-based providers and childminders in a representative overview of childcare and early years provision in England. The DfE commissioned IFF Research and London Economics to conduct SCEYP in 2022. 

The study included group-based providers, school-based providers, and childminders.

Group-based providers (identified from the Ofsted register): providers registered with Ofsted and operating in non-domestic premises. Eligible group-based provision included full day and sessional care for children below school age.

The two main types of group-based providers included in this report are:

  • Private group-based providers: These are private companies and include employer-run childcare for employees. This group also includes independent schools offering nursery provision which were identified from the School Census.
  • Voluntary group-based providers: These are voluntary organisations, including community groups, charities, churches, or religious groups.

School-based providers (identified from the School Census). The two types of school-based providers are:

  • Maintained nursery classes: These are maintained schools offering nursery provision.
  • Maintained nursery schools: These are purpose-built maintained schools specifically for children in their early years with a qualified teacher present.

Childminders (identified from the Ofsted register): Ofsted-registered childminders providing early years care and operating in domestic settings (not including those registered with an agency).

In the tables, numbers of providers, places and staff have been rounded to the nearest 100 (apart from numbers of providers in different regions which have been rounded to the nearest 10).  Where figures have been broken down, they may not add up exactly to total figures due to rounding.

In the 2021 Survey, many of the figures were banded e.g. a provider that charged a fee of £4.62 per hour would be recorded in the "£4.50 to £4.75" fee band.  As a result, it is not possible to test the statistical significance of differences between 2021 and 2022 survey results.

Further details are included in the accompanying technical report. 


Headline facts and figures - 2022

Number of providers

The 2022 Survey estimated there to be 60,000 Early Years providers in total, made up of: 

  • 21,900 group-based providers: 
  • 9,700 school-based providers: 
  • 28,500 childminders.

The total number of providers fell by 3 per cent between 2021 and 2022: 

  • The decline in the overall number of childcare providers is explained by a 9 per cent fall in the number of childminders:
  • The number of school-based providers and group-based providers both slightly increased (by 2 per cent and 3 per cent respectively).

Number of registered places

The 2022 Survey estimated there to be 1.57 million registered places, made up of:

  • 1,066,700 group-based places: 
  • 329,300 school-based nursery places: 
  • 172,400 childminding places.

Number of early years staff

This Early Years’ provision was delivered by an estimated 340,000 staff, consisting of:

  • 252,100 staff in group-based provision 
  • 53,400 staff in school-based provision
  • 34,300 childminders and assistants

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Section 1 - Number of childcare providers and their characteristics

Introduction

This section provides an overview of the childcare market - the number of childcare providers and characteristics of the care that they provide.

Findings

Number of providers

Between 2021 and 2022, the total number of providers fell by 2,000 (3 per cent), from 62,000 to 60,000.

The decline in the overall number of  providers is explained by a fall in the number of childminders.

The number of school-based providers and group-based providers both slightly increased.  The number of childminders, however, fell by 2,700 (9 per cent) from 31,200 to 28,500.

Between 2018 and 2022, the number of providers fell by 6,600 (10 per cent).  

The number of group-based providers stayed about the same and the number of school-based providers increased by 1,100 (13 per cent).  The number of childminders, however, fell by 8,000 (22 per cent), from 36,500 to 28,500.

School-based providers make up the smallest group of providers in all regions, ranging from 9 per cent of providers in the South East to 26 per cent of providers in the North East.

Childminders make up the biggest group of providers in all regions, ranging from 40 per cent of providers in the West Midlands to 52 per cent of providers in the South East.

Twenty-nine per cent of group-based providers are part of a chain.  This proportion is higher for private group-based providers (38 per cent) than for voluntary group-based providers (10 per cent). 

Almost 99 per cent of school-based providers offering nursery deliver childcare solely by themselves.  Fifty, or half of one per cent of providers, provide childcare in partnership with another school or schools, while another half of one per cent (52 providers) provide childcare with formal involvement from voluntary, community or private sector providers.

Ninety per cent of childminders and 77 per cent of private group-based providers are open during both term-time and school holidays, compared with 23 per cent of voluntary group-based providers and 5 per cent of school-based providers.

Since they are more likely to be open during both term-time and holidays, private group-based providers and childminders expect, on average, to be open for more weeks in the year than other provider types.  Private group- based providers expect to be open for a mean of 48 weeks per year and childminders for a mean of 46 weeks per year.

Voluntary group-based providers expect to be open for 7 weeks fewer than private group-based providers - a mean of 41 weeks per year.

School based providers expect to be open for the fewest weeks - a mean of 39 weeks per year.

As well as being open for more weeks in the year, on average, private group-based providers are open for more hours in the day.   

Along with childminders, they are open for an average of nearly 10 hours per day compared with 8 hours per day for voluntary group-based providers and 7 hours per day for school-based providers.

Private group-based providers most commonly open between 7.30am and 8.30am and close between 6.00pm and 7.00pm.

School-based providers most commonly open later (between 8.30am and 9.00 am) and close earlier (between 3.00pm and 4.00pm) than private group-based providers and childminders.

Around 40 per cent of school-based providers offer services other than just childcare, compared with around 25 per cent of group-based providers. 

Among school-based providers that offer other services, specialist family support is the service most commonly provided (30 per cent of school-based providers offer this service).  

Among group-based providers that offer other services, specialist services to children is the service most commonly provided (19 per cent of group-based providers offer this service).

Further information

The numbers of providers reported in these tables are based on representative survey estimates and will be slightly lower than the number of group-based providers and childminders on the Ofsted register and the number of schools in the School Census (the three lists from which the survey sample was drawn). This is because providers who are on the Ofsted register but do not currently have any children aged 0 to 4 registered at the setting were excluded from SCEYP.

More detailed information, including sample sizes, can be found in additional tables available in the “supporting files” section of this release.  As well as the figures shown in this section, these tables show, for instance: the proportion of providers open during different school holidays (i.e. Easter, Summer and Christmas); the distribution of childcare provider opening and closing times; and the number of group-based providers broken down by level of deprivation.

The categorisation of a small number of less common types of group-based providers has changed between 2021 and 2022. A small group of not-for-profit providers (including social enterprises, community interest companies, and worker’s cooperatives) were previously coded as either voluntary or private providers depending on their charitable status.

  • In the 2021 analysis, most of the not-for-profit providers with charitable status were recoded as voluntary providers and those without charitable status were  recoded as private providers.
  • In the 2022 analysis, these not-for-profit providers have all been defined as ‘Other group-based providers’ along with Local Authorities, school/college, and other types of group-based providers that were previously defined as ‘Other’.

In 2022, there are 101 private (not for profit) providers in the sample from the core survey and defined as ‘Other group-based providers’. Of these, 85 would previously have been recoded as voluntary . This means the subcategories within group-based providers cannot be compared over time. It does not affect the total group-based providers, and it remains possible to compare the total over time.

The below tables illustrate the impact of this change, with the 2021 definition and 2022 definition side by side:

 

Number of providers2021 definition 2022 definition % difference
All group-based providers21,89621,896-
  Private14,28614,191-1%
  Voluntary6,8936,581-5%
  School/college/LA/other unclassified7171124+57%

Section 2 - Number of childcare places

Introduction

This section describes the number of childcare places that providers have registered with Ofsted; the number of children that have childcare sessions booked with them; and the number of surplus childcare places that they have.

A childcare provider has “surplus” places if it is willing and able to take an additional child or children, over and above those children that are already booked.

Findings

Number of Ofsted-registered childcare places

The total number of Ofsted-registered childcare places in England increased by nearly 15,000 (1 per cent) between 2021 and 2022, to 1,568,500.

The number of places at school-based providers fell by 23,000 (7 per cent) and the number of places at childminders fell by 20,600 (11 per cent).  

Group-based providers, however, have the largest number of Ofsted-registered places and this number increased by 58,100 (6 per cent) between 2021 and 2022.

School-based providers have a mean of 35 Ofsted-registered childcare places.  This number is much higher for maintained nursery schools (95 places) than it is for school-based providers that offer nursery (32 places). Maintained nursery schools, however, only make up a small proportion of the overall number of school-based childcare providers.

Group-based providers have a mean of 48 Ofsted-registered places.  This number is higher for private group-based providers (55 places) than it is for voluntary group-based providers (35 places).

Childminders have the fewest registered places, with a mean of 6 Ofsted-registered places each.

Although childminders make up the biggest group of providers in all regions, they only have an average of 6 Ofsted-registered childcare places each.

As a result, childminders have the smallest proportion of Ofsted-registered places in all regions, ranging from 8 per cent of places in the West Midlands to 13 per cent of places in the East of England, South East and South West.

Group-based providers have the majority of Ofsted-registered places, in all regions.  In the South West (73 per cent) and South East (74 per cent) almost three-quarters of Ofsted-registered childcare places are in group-based providers.

The proportion of Ofsted-registered childcare places that are in school-based providers ranges from 14 per cent in the South East and South West to 36 per cent in the North East.

Booked places

On an average day, school-based providers have 156,000 children booked in full-day nursery, 162,000 children booked in morning nursery and 114,000 children booked in afternoon nursery.  

The number of full-day nursery places booked in school-based providers increased by 3,000 (2 per cent) between 2021 and 2022.  The number of morning and afternoon sessions, however, fell by 9 per cent and 12 per cent respectively.

Most full-day nursery sessions are booked in group-based providers and this number increased by 61,000 (12 per cent) between 2021 and 2022, from 507,000 to 568,000.  The number of morning and afternoon sessions also increased, although by a smaller proportion (4 per cent and 6 per cent respectively).

The number of places booked with childminders increased by 7 per cent between 2021 and 2022, from 79,100 to 84,300.  

Surplus places

Providers were asked about the number of additional children that they would have been willing and able to take, over and above those children who were booked - that is, the number of spare (or “surplus”) places that they had.

Around 50 per cent to 60 per cent of providers report that they have one or more surplus place.  This proportion is slightly higher for group-based providers than it is for school-based providers and childminders.

 The proportion of full-day nursery places that are surplus is higher in school-based providers (20 per cent) than in group-based providers (15 per cent).  Afternoon sessions have the highest proportion of surplus places (29 per cent for school-based providers and 28 per cent for group-based providers).

Twenty-three per cent of childminder places are surplus.

School-based providers have 38,800 surplus full-day places, group-based providers have 109,000 surplus full-day places and childminders have 25,300 surplus places.

School-based and group-based providers have an average of 5 surplus places per session.  Childminders have an average of one surplus place.

Providers were asked how occupancy rates compared with the previous year.  Almost half (48 per cent) of group-based providers said that occupancy rates had increased in 2022, three times the proportion that said they had fallen.

Further information

This section shows three different measures.  

Firstly, the number of places that providers have registered with Ofsted - that is, the maximum number of children allowed in the setting at any one time.

Secondly, the number of children who have childcare booked at the provider.  The number of children attending the provider at a particular time of day should not exceed the number of places that the provider has registered with Ofsted.

Finally, the number of surplus places that the provider has.  This is the number of additional children that the provider is willing and able to take, over and above those children that are already booked with them.  

Adding the number of surplus childcare places at a provider to the number of places that they booked does not necessarily arrive at the number of places that they are registered to provide.  Childminders, for instance, have on average 6 Ofsted-registered places but only 3 children booked.  On average, they have an additional one surplus place, giving a total of 4 places that they are “willing and able” to provide.

The number of registered, booked and surplus places varies between different days of the week.  In these tables, the average number across all days is shown.  Additional tables, available in the “supporting files” section of this release, show a breakdown by day of the week.  They provide further additional information, such as sample sizes, and further tables to those shown in this section, such as the proportion of childcare places that are surplus in different regions.

The categorisation of a small number of less common types of group-based providers has changed between 2021 and 2022. A small group of not-for-profit providers (including social enterprises, community interest companies, and worker’s cooperatives) were previously coded as either voluntary or private providers depending on their charitable status.

  • In the 2021 analysis, most of the not-for-profit providers with charitable status were recoded as voluntary providers and those without charitable status were  recoded as private providers.
  • In the 2022 analysis, these not-for-profit providers have all been defined as ‘Other group-based providers’ along with Local Authorities, school/college, and other types of group-based providers that were previously defined as ‘Other’.

In 2022, there are 101 private (not for profit) providers in the sample from the core survey and defined as ‘Other group-based providers’. Of these, 85 would previously have been recoded as voluntary . This means the subcategories within group-based providers cannot be compared over time. It does not affect the total group-based providers, and it remains possible to compare the total over time.

The below tables illustrate the impact of this change, with the 2021 definition and 2022 definition side by side:

 2021 definition 2022 definition % difference
Number of registered places Private group-basedVoluntary group-basedAll group-basedPrivate group-basedVoluntary group-basedAll group-basedPrivate group-basedVoluntary group-basedAll group-based
England774,027243,5961,066,688774,086235,4711,066,6880%-3%-

Section 3 - Childminders

Introduction

This section describes some of the characteristics of childminders who responded to the Survey.

Findings

The proportion of childminders employing an assistant fell from 16 per cent in 2021 to 14 per cent in 2022.  

A further 5 per cent of childminders reported that they were considering employing an assistant.

Ten per cent of childminders care for their own child or children as well as other children.  Seven per cent care for one of their own children, 2 per cent for two of their own children and a very small proportion (less than half of one per cent) care for three or more of their own children.

Eleven per cent of childminders who responded to the survey said that they did another job, in addition to childminding, to supplement their income.

Childminders have worked for an average of 13 years in the childcare sector compared with 5 years for childminder assistants.

Further information

More detailed information, including sample sizes, can be found in additional tables available in the “supporting files” section of this release.  

Section 4 - Workforce

Introduction

This section shows the number of staff working for childcare providers; levels of staff turnover; the qualifications that staff have; and characteristics of staff (their gender, ethnicity, age and hourly wage).

Findings

Total number of staff

The number of paid early-years staff working in school-based providers fell by 500 (or 1 per cent) between 2021 and 2022, from 53,900 to 53,400.

The number of staff employed in group-based providers increased by 16,100 (or 7 per cent), from 236,000 to 252,100.

The number of childminder staff, however, fell by 4,300 (or 11 per cent) from 38,600 to 34,300.

School-based providers have an average of 6 staff members.  This number is higher for maintained nursery schools (17 staff) than it is for school-based providers that offer nursery (5 staff). Maintained nursery schools, however, only make up a small proportion of the overall number of school-based childcare providers.

Private group-based providers (13) have a slightly higher average number of staff than voluntary group-based providers (9).

Between 2021 and 2022, the proportion of school-based providers employing temporary staff increased from 31 per cent to 34 per cent and the proportion of group-based providers employing temporary staff increased from 27 per cent to 30 per cent.

Between 2021 and 2022, the total number of temporary staff employed by school-based and group-based providers increased by 3,100 (13 per cent), from 23,600 to 26,700.

Between 2021 and 2022, the proportion of school-based providers employing voluntary staff increased from 21 per cent to 29 per cent and the proportion of group-based providers employing voluntary staff increased from 24 per cent to 34 per cent.

Between 2021 and 2022, the total number of voluntary staff employed by school-based and group-based providers increased by 5,600 (45 per cent), from 12,300 to 17,800.

Between 2021 and 2022, the proportion of school-based providers employing apprentices increased from 11 per cent to 12 per cent.  A higher proportion of group-based providers than school-based providers employ apprentices and this proportion increased further, from 40 per cent in 2021 to 49 per cent in 2022.

Between 2021 and 2022, the total number of apprentices employed by school-based and group-based providers increased by 6,300 (34 per cent), from 18,600 to 24,900.  Nearly all (6,000 of the 6,300 increase) was in group-based providers.

Sixty-one per cent of apprentices in school-based providers and 65 per cent of apprentices in group-based providers are employed on Level 2 apprenticeships.

Staff turnover

On average, providers had more staff joining than leaving in the previous 12 months.  

The number of staff recruited to school-based providers was double the number leaving (9,000 joined and 4,400 left).

The number of staff recruited to group-based providers was a third more than the number leaving (58,900 joined and 44,100 left).

Staff turnover rates in 2022 were twice as high in group-based providers (18 per cent) as school-based providers (9 per cent).

Staff qualifications and experience

A similar proportion of school-based provider (82 per cent) and group-based provider staff (80 per cent) are qualified to Level 3 or above.  A slightly lower proportion of childminder staff (74 per cent) are qualified to this level.

A higher proportion of school-based staff (34 per cent) are qualified to Level 6 than group-based staff (11 per cent) and childminders (10 per cent).

These figures are largely unchanged from 2018.

In school-based providers, 93 per cent of headteachers and early-years co-ordinators are qualified to Level 6 compared with 26 per cent of other staff.

In group-based providers, 35 per cent of senior managers are qualified to Level 6 compared with 9 per cent of other staff.

Seventy-four per cent of childminders are qualified to Level 3 or above compared with 36 per cent of childminder assistants.

The proportion of group-based provider staff with highest qualification at level 3 who hold the Early Years Educator qualification showed a small increase in 2022.  In school-based providers, there was a small decrease.

The proportion of childminders who hold the Early Year Educator qualification saw a large increase, from 38 per cent in 2021 to 49 per cent in 2022.

Eighty-three per cent of Level-6-qualified school-based provider staff have Qualified Teacher Status compared with 25 per cent of group-based provider staff.  

Conversely, a higher proportion of Level-6 qualified group-based provider staff (57 per cent) than school-based provider staff (19 per cent) have an early years degree.

Staff characteristics

The vast majority of childcare staff are female.

 

Around 80 per cent or more of staff are White British.  This proportion is lowest in private group-based providers (79 per cent) and highest in voluntary group-based providers (89 per cent).

By comparison, in the 2021 census, 81% of people in England were reported to be White, 9.6% Asian and 4.2% Black. 

There are marked differences in the age profile of staff in different settings.

Only 1 per cent of childminders are aged under 25 compared with nearly a quarter of staff in private group-based providers (23 per cent).

Forty-two per cent of childminders are aged over 50 compared with just 13 per cent of staff in private group-based providers.

The sector with the youngest age profile (private group-based providers) saw the biggest percentage increase in staff numbers between 2021 and 2022 (an 11 per cent increase, from 163,400 to 181,500).

Whereas the sectors with the oldest age profile (voluntary group-based providers and childminders) both saw the number of paid staff fall by 11 per cent.

The National Living Wage

On 1st April 2016 the government introduced a new mandatory National Living Wage.  Workers aged over 23 (reduced from age 25 on 1st April 2021) receive the highest National Living Wage rate.  There are lower rates for younger workers and apprentices.

In 2022, 38 per cent of childminding assistants earned below National Living Wage.  In other settings, the proportion of staff earning below National Living Wage was between 11 per cent and 17 per cent.

Further information

More detailed information, including sample sizes, can be found in additional tables available in the “supporting files” section of this release.  As well as the figures shown in this section, these tables show, for instance the average number of hours that staff are contracted to work, and the average number of hours that they actually work.

Further information on the workforce can be found here

The categorisation of a small number of less common types of group-based providers has changed between 2021 and 2022. A small group of not-for-profit providers (including social enterprises, community interest companies, and worker’s cooperatives) were previously coded as either voluntary or private providers depending on their charitable status.

  • In the 2021 analysis, most of the not-for-profit providers with charitable status were recoded as voluntary providers and those without charitable status were  recoded as private providers.
  • In the 2022 analysis, these not-for-profit providers have all been defined as ‘Other group-based providers’ along with Local Authorities, school/college, and other types of group-based providers that were previously defined as ‘Other’.

In 2022, there are 101 private (not for profit) providers in the sample from the core survey and defined as ‘Other group-based providers’. Of these, 85 would previously have been recoded as voluntary . This means the subcategories within group-based providers cannot be compared over time. It does not affect the total group-based providers, and it remains possible to compare the total over time.

The below tables illustrate the impact of this change, with the 2021 definition and 2022 definition side by side:

Total number of paid staff 2021 definition 2022 definition % difference
 Private group-basedVoluntary group-basedAll group-based providersPrivate group-basedVoluntary group-basedAll group-based providersPrivate group-basedVoluntary group-basedAll group-based providers
England182,38859,667252,068181,83956,567252,068-0.3%-5.2%-

Section 5 - Staff-child ratios

Introduction

The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage sets out the required staff to child ratios in Early Years and Childcare settings.  Childcare providers are, however, allowed to exceed these ratios in exceptional circumstances.

For children aged under two 

There must be at least one member of staff for every three children.

 For children aged two 

There must be at least one member of staff for every four children.

For children aged three to four 

If a person with an approved level 6 qualification is working directly with the children there must be at least one member of staff for every 13 children. 

If a person with an approved level 6 qualification is not working directly with the children there must be at least one member of staff for every 8 children.

Findings

In 2022, 91 per cent of private group-based providers and 89 per cent of voluntary group-based providers reported that they were operating at, or above, the statutory ratio for children aged under 2 i.e. one member of staff for every 3 children.  Nine per cent and 11 per cent respectively had child to staff ratios higher than the statutory levels, a slight increase on 2021.

Ten per cent of private group-based providers and 16 per cent of voluntary group-based providers reported staff:child ratios that were more generous than the statutory minimum i.e. fewer than 3 children per staff member.  

The average number of children per staff member was 3.

Ninety-eight per cent of private group-based providers and 97 per cent of voluntary group-based providers reported that they were operating at, or above, the statutory ratio for children aged 2 i.e. one member of staff for every 4 children.  Only 2 per cent and 3 per cent respectively had child to staff ratios higher than the statutory levels, a similar proportion to 2021.

Seventeen per cent of private group-based providers and 30 per cent of voluntary group-based providers reported staff:child ratios that were more generous than the statutory minimum i.e. fewer than 4 children per staff member.  

The average number of children per staff member was 4.

For children aged 3 to 4, the mean number of children per staff member in group-based providers was 7.  The mean number of children per staff member in school-based providers offering nursery was 8 and in maintained nursery schools it was 10.  School-based providers, however, are more likely than group-based providers to have staff qualified to Level 6, and providers are allowed to have higher child to staff ratios when a member of staff qualified to Level 6 is present.

Thirty-nine per cent of school-based providers and 35 per cent of group-based providers reported staff:child ratios that were more generous than the statutory minimum i.e. fewer than 8 children per member of staff.

Childcare providers are allowed to exceed staff to child ratios in exceptional circumstances.

Fourteen percent of group-based providers and 8 per cent of school-based providers said that they had used the “exceptional circumstances” allowance at least once in the last year.

Seventeen percent of group-based providers and 34 per cent of school-based providers, however, said that they were “not aware” of the allowance.

Further details

More detailed information, including sample sizes, can be found in additional tables available in the “supporting files” section of this release.  

Section 6 - Overview of provider finances

Introduction

This section provides an overview of provider finances. 

Findings

The mean annual cost to providers of providing childcare, and the mean annual income that they receive, vary according to the size of the provider.

In all providers, staffing accounts for the large majority of costs.  

Staff costs account for 85 per cent of total costs for school-based providers and 76 per cent of total costs for group-based providers.  In group-based providers, rent or mortgage payments account for a further 9 per cent of total costs, compared with just 1 per cent of school-based provider costs.  

Materials, training and food account for 7 per cent of costs and “other” costs account for the remaining 7 per cent of costs.

Further information

Additional tables, showing the mean and median annual cost to providers of providing childcare, and the mean and median annual income that they receive, are available in the “supporting files” section of this release.  

An in-depth report on provider finances will be published in Spring 2023.

Section 7 - Funded entitlements and tax-free childcare

Background

15 hours entitlement 

All 3 and 4 year olds, and eligible 2 year olds, are entitled to 570 hours of funded early education or childcare per year. This is usually taken as 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year. 

30 hours entitlement 

Since September 2017, the funded childcare entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds increased to 30 hours a week for working parents that meet the eligibility criteria.

Tax-Free Childcare 

Tax-Free Childcare was introduced in April 2017. Under this scheme, eligible parents open an online childcare account and for every £8 that they pay into their account the government pays in an additional £2, up to a maximum of £2,000 per child per year (this goes up to £4,000 if a child is disabled). Parents are then able to use the account to pay for childcare costs with a registered provider.

Introduction

This section shows the number of providers receiving these entitlements and, where providers do not offer entitlements, the reason why.

Findings

Providers were asked whether any of the 2-year-olds they provided childcare to were funded through the 15-hour entitlement.

The proportion that said they had 2-year-olds funded through the 15-hour entitlement was much higher for school-based providers (78 per cent) and group-based providers (86 per cent) than it was for childminders (25 per cent). However, on average, many more children attend school-based and group-based providers than attend a childminder.

There was a small fall (from 83 per cent to 78 per cent) between 2021 and 2022 in the proportion of school-based providers that had a 2-year-old funded through the 15-hour entitlement.  For group-based providers and childminders the proportion stayed almost the same.

A higher proportion of providers had 3- to 4-year-olds funded under 15-hour entitlements than 2-year-olds. With the exception of childminders (60 per cent) over 90 per cent of providers had one or more child funded through the entitlement.

These proportions were very similar in 2021 and 2022.

Seventy-four per cent of all school-based providers and 92 per cent of all group-based providers provided childcare to a 3- to 4-year-old child funded through the 30 hour entitlement in 2022.  These proportions are similar to 2021.  

A smaller proportion of childminders had children receiving the 30 hour 3- to 4-year-old entitlement (70 per cent) although, on average, fewer children attend a childminder than attend other types of providers.

Providers were asked if there were any limitations on when they offered entitlements.

Private group-based providers are the most likely to offer entitlements throughout the year.  Fifty-three per cent offer the 15-hour entitlement for 2-year-olds; 57 per cent offer the 15-hour entitlement for 3- to 4-year olds; and 65 per cent offer the 30-hour entitlement for 3- to 4-year-olds both during and outside of term-time.

This proportion was lower for school-based providers, although these are less likely to be open outside of term-time.

School-based providers were more likely than other providers to restrict entitlements to certain sessions or hours of the day.   Fifty per cent restricted the 15-hour entitlement for 2-year-olds, and around 40 per cent the 15-hour and 30-hour entitlement for 3- to 4-year-olds.  

Childminders were the least likely to restrict entitlements to certain hours of the day.  Around 90 per cent of childminders had no restrictions on when the entitlement was offered.

Providers who do not offer entitlements were asked for reasons why.  

“No local demand for entitlements places” was the most common reason given.

Around 20 per cent of childminders that do not offer entitlements gave “funding rates are not sufficient” as a reason.

Just under half (47 per cent) of school-based providers are signed up to receive Tax-Free Childcare payments compared with 88 per cent of childminders and 92 per cent of group-based providers.  

The proportion of school-based providers signed up to receive Tax-Free Childcare payments remains below 50 per cent.  Group-based providers have the highest proportion signed up to receive Tax-Free Childcare payments (92 per cent) and childminders have seen the biggest increase, from 66 per cent in 2018 to 88 per cent in 2022.

School-based providers had on average 5 children with parents paying fees using Tax-Free Childcare (an estimated 13 per cent of their registered places). Group-based providers had 17 children (an estimated 30 per cent of their registered places) and childminders had 3 children (an estimated 43 per cent of their registered places). 

Further information

More detailed information, including sample sizes, can be found in additional tables available in the “supporting files” section of this release.

Further information about the entitlements and Tax-Free Childcare can be found here

Section 8 - Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Introduction

Providers were asked how many of the children registered with their setting had Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND). They were asked to include all such children, including both those with and those without formal support in place, as well as those who were not yet formally diagnosed but who staff had identified as potentially having SEND.

Findings

All provider types saw an increase in 2022 in the proportion of providers that care for at least one child with SEND. The proportion is much lower in childminders (19 per cent) than it is in school-based and group-based providers. However, on average, many more children attend school-based and group-based providers than attend a childminder.

In 2022, school-based providers and group-based providers both had an average of 5 children with SEND (an estimated 16 per cent and 11 per cent of their registered places respectively).

Almost all school-based providers (98 per cent) and group-based providers (97 per cent) have a colleague formally designated as a Special Education Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO), compared with only around a quarter (23 per cent) of childminders. 

Many childminders rely on access to an external SENCO (42 per cent).  Forty-two per cent of childminders, however, have access to neither an internal nor an external SENCO. 

Eighty-two per cent of school-based providers with an internal SENCO have at least one member of staff with a formal qualification related to SEND, compared with 57 per cent of group-based providers and 39 per cent of childminders.

Around two-thirds of school-based and group-based providers provide support to parents with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan, compared with 13 per cent of childminders.  The proportion is highest in maintained nursery schools (94 per cent).

Further information

More detailed information, including sample sizes, can be found in additional tables available in the “supporting files” section of this release.

In additional to the information shown in this section, these tables show, for instance, a breakdown of children registered at childcare providers by severity of SEND.

Section 9 - Provider fees

Introduction

This section describes average fees charged by childcare providers.

Findings

In 2022, the mean fees charged by childcare providers were higher for younger children than they were for older children.

The mean hourly fee charged for children aged under 2 was £5.68 per hour and for children aged 2 it was £5.72 per hour. 

Fees were slightly lower for pre-school children aged 3 and 4 (£5.60 per hour) and were lowest for school-age children (£5.44 per hour).

Fees were highest for private group-based providers and lowest for childminders.

In 2022, private group-based providers were the most likely to have increased fees in the last 12 months.  Seventy-nine per cent said that they had increased fees for children under 2, 70 per cent said that they had increased fees for children aged 2 and 69 per cent said that they had increased fees for children aged 3 and 4.  School-based providers were the least likely to increase fees for children aged 2 (28 per cent) and children aged 3 and 4 (21 per cent).  Childminders were the least likely to increase fees for children aged under 2 (39 per cent).

Across all setting and age groups, the proportion of providers that had increased fees in the previous 12 months was lower in 2021 than in 2019, but higher in 2022 than in 2021.

Average fees for children under 2 years of age increased by 2.7% between 2021 and 2022.  This is lower than the rate of inflation, which in May 2022 was 9.1% (see “further information”).

Voluntary group-based providers (1.4%) and childminders (2.5%) saw below-average increases in fees.  Private group-based provider (5.1%) saw an above-average increase in fees.

Hourly fees charged by school-based providers increased the most.  They increased by 11.2% in maintained nursery schools and by 22.7% in maintained nursery classes.  However, not many school-based providers have children under the age of 2 enrolled with them, so these figures are based on small sample sizes (10 and 24 respondents to the survey respectively in 2022).

Average fees for children aged 2 increased by 3.4% between 2021 and 2022.    This is lower than the rate of inflation, which in May 2022 was 9.1% (see “further information”).

Maintained nursery schools (0.9%) and childminders (2.4%) saw below-average increases in fees.  Private (4.5%) and voluntary group-based providers (6.4%) saw above-average increases in fees.

Hourly fees charged by maintained nursery classes increased the most, by 19.0%.

Average fees for pre-school children aged 3 and 4 increased by 3.8% between 2021 and 2022.  This is lower than the rate of inflation, which in May 2022 was 9.1% (see “further information”).

Maintained nursery schools (0.5%), childminders (2.7%) and private group-based providers (3.2%) saw below-average increases in fees.  Voluntary group-based providers (7.3%) saw an above-average increase in fees.

Hourly fees charged by maintained nursery classes increased the most, by 13.9%.

Mean hourly fees were highest in London, followed by the South East and East of England.  They were lowest in Yorkshire and The Humber and the North East.

These figures mirror differences in average levels of disposable household income which in 2020 were highest in London (£29,890) and lowest in the North East (£17,416).

Differences in fees within regions were relatively small compared with differences between regions.  Within regions, fees for children of different age groups only varied by around 20p to 30p per hour.  Differences between regions, however, were much larger. The mean hourly fee for children under age two, for instance, was £4.85 in Yorkshire and The Humber, while in London it was £7.31, over 40% higher.

For children aged under two, two regions - North East (-2%) and North West (-6%) - saw a fall in average fees between 2021 and 2022.  Other regions saw fees increase by between 3% and 5%.

For children aged two, there was a 2% fall in average fees in Yorkshire and The Humber between 2021 and 2022. Other regions saw fees either stay the same (North East) or increase by between 1% and 6%.

For pre-school children aged three and four, all regions saw their fees increase.  Increases ranged from 1% in the North East and Yorkshire and The Humber to 8% in East Midlands.

The following tables and charts show mean and median fees in each local authority area.

In order to help interpret the mean, the tables show “95% confidence intervals”.  Based on the responses we received to the survey, we can be 95% confident that the mean for all providers in the local authority lies between the “lower” and “upper” values.

For children aged two, over half of local authorities had mean childcare fees of between £4.75 and £5.75 per hour.  

However, no local authority in the North East and Yorkshire and The Humber had a mean fee of more than £5.75 per hour, and only one of the 32 local authorities in London had a mean fee of less than £5.75 per hour (Havering - £5.72 per hour).

Eighteen local authorities (all in London) had a mean fee of £7.00 per hour or more.

For pre-school children aged three and four, over half of local authorities had mean childcare fees of between £4.50 per hour and £5.50 per hour.  

There were similar regional disparities to fees for children aged two.  Only one local authority in Yorkshire and The Humber and the North East had mean fees of more than £5.50 per hour (Gateshead - £5.68 per hour).  By contrast, none of the local authorities in London had mean fees of less than £5.50 per hour.

Twenty local authorities (all in London) had fees of £7.00 per hour or more.

Further information

There are a number of factors that influence the fees that providers charge.  The type of provider delivering care is an important factor. The costs that childminders, for instance, incur will be different to those incurred by other childcare providers.

Comparisons at a regional and local authority level will reflect the mix of providers within the area, along with other factors, such as levels of disposable income, average salaries and levels of demand within the area for different types of childcare.

Inflation figures refer to the Consumer Price Index.  Fee increases were compared with the inflation rate in May 2022 as this was the mid-point of the survey fieldwork.

 

The categorisation of a small number of less common types of group-based providers has changed between 2021 and 2022. A small group of not-for-profit providers (including social enterprises, community interest companies, and worker’s cooperatives) were previously coded as either voluntary or private providers depending on their charitable status.

  • In the 2021 analysis, most of the not-for-profit providers with charitable status were recoded as voluntary providers and those without charitable status were  recoded as private providers.
  • In the 2022 analysis, these not-for-profit providers have all been defined as ‘Other group-based providers’ along with Local Authorities, school/college, and other types of group-based providers that were previously defined as ‘Other’.

In 2022, there are 101 private (not for profit) providers in the sample from the core survey and defined as ‘Other group-based providers’. Of these, 85 would previously have been recoded as voluntary . This means the subcategories within group-based providers cannot be compared over time. It does not affect the total group-based providers, and it remains possible to compare the total over time.

The below tables illustrate the impact of this change, with the 2021 definition and 2022 definition side by side:

Mean and median hourly fee for children Children under age twoChildren aged twoPre-school children aged 3-4
 2021 definition 2022 definition2021 definition 2022 definition2021 definition 2022 definition
Private providers£ 6.59£6.59£ 6.49£6.49£ 6.29£6.30
Voluntary providers£ 6.17£6.15£ 5.92£5.92£ 5.75£5.75

Help and support

Official statistics

These are Official Statistics and have been produced in line with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

This can be broadly interpreted to mean that these statistics are:

  • managed impartially and objectively in the public interest
  • meet identified user needs
  • produced according to sound methods
  • well explained and readily accessible

Find out more about the standards we follow to produce these statistics through our Standards for official statistics published by DfE guidance.

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