To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of nursery closures this year on childcare (1) fees, (2) quality, and (3) availability.
6 January 2023
The childcare and early years provider survey contains information on average fees charged by childcare providers. This showed that between 2021/2022, average fees for children under 2 years of age increased by 2.7%; average fees for children aged 2 increased by 3.4%; and average fees for pre-school children aged 3 and 4 increased by 3.8%. All of these increases were below the rate of inflation, which in May 2022 was 9.1%. Fees charged by providers will reflect a variety of factors.
The quality of childcare remains high which is testament to the great work of childcare providers. As of 31 August 2022, 96% of childcare providers have been judged good or outstanding at their most recent inspection. More detail is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/childcare-providers-and-inspections-as-at-31-august-2022/main-findings-childcare-providers-and-inspections-as-at-31-august-2022.
The key measure of sufficiency is whether the supply of available places is sufficient to meet the requirements of parents and children. Ofsted data shows that the number of places offered by providers on the Early Years Register has remained broadly stable at 1.3 million places since August 2015.
Under Section 6 of the Childcare Act 2006, local authorities are responsible for ensuring that the provision of childcare is sufficient to meet the requirements of parents in their area. The Department has regular contact with each local authority in England, and if a local authority raises concerns about sufficiency issues we will support it with any specific requirements.