There has been a fall in the number of registered childminders in England.
The latest figures, from Ofsted, show there were 11.5% or 8,400 fewer registered childminders in June this year than at a peak in June 2004.
Many childminders blame an increasing amount of regulation linked to Ofsted and statutory guidelines on caring for children coming into force next month, but the government said its guidelines did not place a burden on childminders.
A statement from England's inspectorate said: "Ofsted has no evidence to suggest that the Early Years Foundation Stage is the reason for the drop in registered childminders."
The EYFS provides a statutory framework that all child care providers have to follow.
The government launched it in March 2007 to ensure that all children in childcare settings were looked after to a high standard.
It sets out a series of learning and development requirements, as well as legal requirements for safeguarding children and steps towards certain learning and development goals have to be recorded.
Childminders as well as nurseries have to have regard to the guidelines and would have to explain why they had departed from them, if that was the case, when inspected by Ofsted.
Children's Minister Beverley Hughes insisted the new guidelines were not a burden on childminders because most of them would be doing it already – helping children learn and develop through play.
"The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is based on the advice of qualified early years professionals and we consulted widely on it –and it's supported by the National Childminding Association who say the EYFS is a positive development."
Ofsted say although there has been a drop in the number of registered childminders, there has been no reduction in the overall number of child-care places.
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