The Care Inspectorate has today published its annual report on childcare provision in Scotland. 

The figures show how, where and to whom childcare is provided.  

The report looks at both childminders operating in their own home, and day care services including nurseries, playgroups, out of school care and holiday play schemes. 

 This is the fourth year these statistics have been produced.

Any person or organisation in Scotland providing care must be registered with the Care Inspectorate.

The latest figures show the total number of registered services decreased by 1.3% from 10,099 at 31 December 2012 to 9,968 at 31 December 2013. There were 6,185 childminding services and 3,783 daycare of children services. 

This was the result of a 1.4% decrease in childminders, the first since 2008, and a 1.1% decrease in daycare of children services, a continuing trend. 

The number of out of school care services increased by 0.7% between 2012 and 2013. This was the only service type to increase over the year, reversing the decreasing trend of this main service type from 2008. 

The number of nursery services reduced by 0.5% between 2012 and 2013 but the size of nurseries increased by 1%. 

Between 2012 and 2013 the total number of childcare services decreased but the number of daycare services offering additional services increased to 29% from 27%. The number of playgroup services offering additional services has almost doubled in a year from 7% to 13%. Breakfast clubs were the most common type of additional service, with 93% of breakfast club services offered by nurseries and out of school care services. 

Overall, around 31,720 children (3.5% of population aged 0-15 years) attended a childminding service in November 2013, an increase from 30,390 in November 2012 (3.3% of population aged 0-15 years). Around 192,270 (21.1% of population aged 0-15 years) children attended a daycare service in November 2013 an increase from 191,270 (20.9% of population aged 0-15 years) in 2012. 

As at 31st December 2013 around 246,850 children were registered with a childcare service, 27% of the 0-15 year old population, a 0.3% increase from December 2012.

There were half as many active childcare services in the most deprived areas of Scotland (54.3 per 10,000 population) compared to the least deprived areas of Scotland (109.9 per 10,000 population). 

However this trend was predominantly childminding services with a more even spread of daycare of children services throughout Scotland.

Daycare of children services were on average slightly bigger in the most deprived areas of Scotland compared to the least deprived (49.7 and 46.9 places respectively). 

Generally in urban areas services are larger but there are fewer of them compared to rural areas where services are normaler but there are more of them. For example in large urban areas there are 23.8 nursery services per 10,000 population with an average capacity of 52.5 children compared to remote rural areas where there are 50.9 nursery services per 10,000 population with an average capacity of 20.7 children.

Annette Bruton, chief executive of the Care Inspectorate said: “These statistics give us a broad overview of childcare in Scotland. 

“As Scotland’s regulator for care services it’s our job to ensure that every child in Scotland has access to high quality care which meets their needs and respects their rights.

“These figures show that the total number of childcare services has reduced slightly, while the number of children accessing services has increased.

“Overall, these statistics show a stable picture of numbers of registered childcare services and numbers of children using them, with only slight decreases on the number of services on last year.

“We are pleased to note that 94% of all nurseries were providing early learning and childcare through either local authority or partnership funded education. This is an increase from 92% of nurseries in 2012. 

“Local authority/partnership funded education was provided in 87% of all children/family centres and 81% of playgroups.”

Excluding childminding services, around 4% of services used another language (other than Gaelic or sign) as well as English in 2013.  

The number of childminding services has decreased between 2012 and 2013 but more assistants were used in 2013. 594 assistants were working in childminding services, an increase of 13% from 2012. 

Half of childminding services in Scotland had all grades of very good or excellent and two thirds of childminding and daycare services had a grade of very good or excellent for quality of care and support as at 31st March 2014. 

3.5% of daycare services and 1.1% of childminding services had complaints upheld about their service between 1st April 2013 and 31st March 2014.

Download a copy of the report below.

Childcare Statistics 2013 

Supporting tables