Closures of children’s centres have been blamed for a significant fall in the number of children in deprived areas that can access childcare places. A report into the state of childcare by early years research company Ceeda, shows that childcare places on non-domestic premises were available to just a quarter of children living in the 20 per cent most deprived local authority areas, compared with 33 per cent in 2016. Conversely, among the least deprived areas availability has increased from 32 per cent in 2016 to 43 per cent now. The report suggests the decline is due to nearly a decade of cuts to local children’s centre provision. Since 2009, around 1,000 children’s centres have closed according to research published in April by education charity the Sutton Trust. The report also shows a widening gap between childcare availability and quality in the wealthiest and most deprived areas. Ofsted rated only 19 per cent of non-domestic settings in the fifth most deprived areas as “outstanding” by March 2018, compared with 25 per cent in the least deprived. Read more.