More than nine in 10 childcare providers in Leeds were rated good or outstanding at their latest inspection.
Of the 862 childcare providers inspected in the area, education watchdog Ofsted classes 159 as outstanding and 666 good, as of 31 March.
This means 96 per cent were graded highly, in line with the average for Yorkshire and the Humber. The regulator visits childminders, nannies, nurseries and preschools within 30 months of registration. Inspectors judge providers on four categories: the effectiveness of the leadership, quality of teaching and learning, personal development and welfare, and the outcomes for children. Those rated inadequate will be inspected again within six months, and they require improvement within a year. In Leeds, 13 childcare providers are inadequate, while 24 require improvement.
Across England, 76,600 businesses and people providing childcare were registered with Ofsted in March, 12 per cent fewer than in August 2015, according to an Ofsted analysis. A fall in the number of individual childminders drove the decrease. Over the period, 9,000 were lost, leaving 39,000 at the last count. In Leeds, there are 703 childminders, 140 fewer than in August 2015.
Minister for children and families, Nadhim Zahawi, said more childcare providers were rated highly “than ever before”, up from 68 per cent in 2010. He added: “This improvement is testament to our committed early years staff who are pivotal to increasing quality and ensuring preschool children get a great start to their education.
“We are investing more in childcare than ever before, including £3.5 billion this year alone in our free offers, so that more children benefit from an early education that puts them on track to succeed in life.”