Sector capacity and quality 

Whilst basic place data exists, we lack the detail required to understand sector capacity, occupancy levels, age-mix and the balance of funded and private provision. The introduction of a 30-hour offer is taking place in a vacuum of knowledge about the potential impact on capacity, quality and affordability of care for all children. 

The About Early Years programme has made a start on filling the gaps, the summer survey wave found: 

  • A total estimated capacity in PVI pre-schools and day nurseries of 978,000 places and 44.8 million hours of provision. 
  • Summer occupancy averaged 69% but there were hot spots - 30% of settings were operating at 81% occupancy or more.
  • Three and four year olds used 54% of all occupied hours, two year olds 26% and under twos 19%.
  • On average, 52% of occupied hours in a setting were funded, however in almost a third of settings (30%), funded hours accounted for 76% or more of all occupancy. 

See the latest bulletin for full details 

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