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'HEALTHY CHILDCARE MARKET'

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New research published today shows that the government's commitment to childcare is driving up standards and provid...
New research published today shows that the government's commitment to childcare is driving up standards and providing more choice for parents of young children with increased places and a better skilled workforce.

Minister for children and families Beverley Hughes welcomed the findings and said that thanks to record government investment, implementation of the ten year childcare strategy and the introduction of the Early Years Foundation Stage, more and more parents will have the opportunity to access high quality childcare and early years provision.

She was responding to the publication of the report series '2005 Childcare and Early Years Providers' conducted by BMRB on behalf of the Department for Education and Skills. The key findings include:

* Staff working within the three childcare group settings (full day care, sessional and out-of-school settings) are increasingly well qualified. In 2005, 58% of staff held at least a Level 3 qualification compared with 48% of staff in 2003

* Across the four types of childcare providers surveyed there were approximately 1,360,000 registered childcare places in England, and approximately 1,803,000 children were enrolled on them

* The number of places in full daycare settings have increased from 431,600 in 2003 to 511,000 in 2005 and the number of full day care providers has increased by 51% from 2001 to 2005 (from 7,800 to 11,811)

* The number of out of school places has increased from 286,800 in

2003 to 309,870

Ms Hughes said:

'This government has done more than any other to give parents the option to work whilst at the same time driving up the quality of early education and care for children. There are now 617,000 more registered childcare places than in 1997. Our ten year childcare strategy and Childcare Bill will increase the availability of flexible, affordable, high quality childcare, helping parents to balance work and family life and giving young children the best possible start in life. The findings of the research published today reinforce the encouraging state of the childcare market and can only be good news for parents.

'The increase of over 79,000 full-time places and 23,000 out-of-school places between 2003 and 2005 will have made an enormous difference to the lives of parents and children in working families. We must now concentrate on ensuring that places are sustainable, and that they are available to meet the needs of all parents, like those on low incomes, with disabled children, or who have unusual work patterns.

'The research also highlights a better qualified workforce, meaning that parents can have increasing confidence in the quality of provision. However, there is still a need for improvement on this front and our£250m Transformation Fund will help raise qualifications standards in private, voluntary and independent settings, without compromising affordability for parents.'

This research study was undertaken by BMRB Social Research. The 2005 Childcare and Early Years Providers Survey is the latest in a series which began in 1998 and was repeated in 2001 and 2002/3. The full publication is available from the DfES Research & Statistics Gateway.

Notes

1. The research report series '2005 Childcare and Early Years Providers', consists of the following five separate reports: Overview Report, Full Day Care Providers, Sessional Day Care Providers, Out-of-School Providers and Childminders.

2. The research study was undertaken by BMRB Social Research. The

2005 Childcare and Early Years Providers Survey is the latest in a series which began in 1998 and was repeated in 2001 and 2002/3. The survey collected information on the number and characteristics of providers, the number and characteristics of the children enrolled, staff numbers, qualifications and training, and business operation.

For the first time, the 2005 survey also collected information on issues around recruitment and retention and the costs of childcare.

Three further annual surveys of Childcare and Early Years Providers have been commissioned for the next three years (2006-8).

3. The study consists of four separate nationally representative sample surveys of Ofsted registered childcare settings: full day care settings, sessional settings, out-of-school providers and childminders. Interviews were conducted with over 1,000 providers in each type of setting - totalling 4352 interviews - during June to September 2006. The results were weighted and grossed to provide national estimates.

4. The 10-year Childcare Strategy Action Plan follows the initial strategy which was published in December 2004. The Action Plan is available online at http:www.everychildmatters.gov.uk

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