More than nine in 10 childminders in Wigan were rated good or outstanding at their latest inspection – despite dwindling numbers.
Of the 236 childcare providers inspected in the area, education watchdog Ofsted classes 42 as outstanding and 181 good, as of March 31.
This means 94 per cent were graded highly, below the 95 per cent average for the North West. The regulator visits childminders, nannies, nurseries and pre-schools 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 Wigan, six childcare providers are inadequate, while seven 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 Wigan, there are 157 childminders, 46 fewer than in August 2015.
The Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years industry body is working with the University of Plymouth to find out why fewer people choose to become childminders.
Its chief executive, Liz Bayram, called dwindling recruits “a major concern” when demand for childcare is at a record high.
She said: “Recent decisions to end the childcare business grant for new childminders, registration delays at Ofsted, unnecessary bureaucracy and low income levels due to reduced government funding are putting more and more people off.
“We need to work with government to tackle these issues and for them to work with PACEY to reinvent childminding as the perfect flexible career for 21st century parents, carers and others who want to work with children.”
Standards remain stable with 95 per cent of the country’s childminders rated as good or outstanding, the same share as overall childcare providers.