About Early Years

A robust sector research programme

From delivery costs to workforce challenges, reliable timely data on the early years and childcare sector is hard to come by. The About Early Years research programme was launched by independent EY research experts Ceeda, to fill this gap.

We carry out research across the year with a representative panel of registered day nurseries, pre-schools and childminders. Working with a sector-led advisory group, the programme delivers timely, relevant analysis you can use with confidence. Get involved and join the panel, you will enjoy tailored analysis to support your planning and inform policy direction too.       

Join the panel

Latest news

More than two in every five (44%) nurseries, pre-schools and childminders in England are receiving less funding, in real-terms, than they were five years ago. Our analysis of official Department for Education figures shows that after adjusting average funding rates for inflation, 60 local councils in England paid childcare providers less per hour for funded three- and four-year-old places in 2017/18 than in 2013/14. Read exclusive coverage in the Observer and get the full story in our annual report.

Our annual report is out! 

All the latest figures on costs, funding shortfalls, capacity, quality, business confidence and operating conditions are rounded up in our annual report, a must read for every decision-maker in early years. The main report is supported by 3 spreadsheets, including forecasts of non-domestic places-per-head-of-population for 326 local authority districts to 2041, funding rates for every LEA from 2013 to 2018 indexed to inflation, and the rateable values of over 8,700 nursery premises - subject to VOA terms and conditions of use. A wise investment in your future at just £75 including VAT.

"If the aim of the About Early Years annual report is to build a clear picture of the early years sector, then it has certainly succeeded with its robust, independent data and rigorous analysis of the current political and financial environment." Liz Roberts, Editor, Nursery World

Order form our reports page, if you are an active panel member you will receive your copy free! See how to get involved here.      

A focus on 30 hours 

Our autumn 2017 survey wave focused on 30-hours as the first term rolled out across the country. We found a total capacity of 332,400 30-hour places across day nurseries, pre-schools and childminders, but just 153,000 were offered on a genuinely 'free' basis. A range of strategies for bridging gaps between funding rates and delivery costs were in evidence, including charges for meals, activities and increased fees for private hours. See the full picture in our free bulletin on the reports page