More than one in eight nurseries and other early years childcare providers in Windsor and Maidenhead have closed since 2015, according to data published by Ofsted - in Slough the figure is one in 10.

The Pre-school Learning Alliance has called for 'urgent action' to address a funding crisis it says has left more than 40 per cent of providers in England contemplating closure next year.

Any provider who cares for early years children - from birth up until the August following their fifth birthday - must be registered with Ofsted.

In Windsor and Maidenhead, there were 237 such providers on the register at the end of March 2018, 34 fewer than in March 2015.

In Slough 167 were open in March - 21 fewer than three years earlier.

All three and four-year-olds in England are entitled to 15 hours of free childcare per week during term time.

But since September 2017, parents can claim an additional 15 hours if both they and their partner earn less than £100,000 a year but more than the equivalent of 16 hours at the minimum wage.

The Pre-school Learning Alliance argues that the funding the Government provides for the scheme is not enough to cover the costs incurred by providers.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-School Learning Alliance, said the new scheme had 'further exasperated' funding problems already experienced by providers under the 15 hours scheme.

He added: "There has never been any such thing as free childcare. It’s subsidised childcare.

"Early Years funding is frozen until 2020, and while our costs go up, we’re just told to make it work."

Research undertaken by the organisation has found that more than four in ten providers are now charging parents for extras such as lunches or nappies to make up the shortfall in funding.