The team here at Parental Choice have recently read the Family and the Childcare Trust Childcare Survey 2018 to see what the main findings are for working families.
The survey collates information and data on childcare provision from Local Authorities across England, Scotland and Wales.
The survey is a simple overview of cost and provision of nursery care, childminders and afterschool care. There is no overview of the quality of care provided.
Cost of childcare
It’s bad news if you are using day-care or afterschool clubs as these have seen prices rise above the level of inflation. 25 hours care for children under two is costing an additional 7% at an average of £122 and over twos on the same number of hours has risen by 6% to an average of £119. Afterschool care does not fare so badly, with a rise of 3% to an average of £56 for five days provision.
Most parents will not pay these prices as the costs are subsidised through tax free childcare or the benefits system.
Unfortunately, what the survey does not address is the current or average cost of alternative sources of childcare, such as nannies, au-pairs and childminders so an industry-wide comparison is not possible.
Free government entitlement
The three nations surveyed all have different provision for free childcare places, varying from no provision in Wales for under twos to 30 hours for three and four-year olds of some working parents in England.
Make sure you understand your own provision, which could be very different from your friends and family as it is often means-tested.
Is there sufficient childcare?
This is a difficult question to ascertain an answer to from the research; possibly because it is limited to the knowledge of Local Authorities and does not cover alternative childcare options.
However, it would appear only half the local authorities in England and Wales have enough appropriate childcare for parents working full time. The Family and Childcare Trust are lobbying Government to encourage them to provide start-up grants to childcare providers and responsive funding to assist providers in meeting the needs of disabled children.
Not all private nurseries are offering places to utilise their free 30-hour entitlement in England, this equates to 82%. This could be down to economics; the actual cost of provision is often higher than the costs which can be claimed from the government. Therefore, many of these 82% of nurseries will be asking for top-up fees from parents or may charge for lunches or essential provisions.
Remember when looking at nurseries to discuss your entitlement, whether they offer subsidised places and what, if any are the additional fees. You need to be able to budget.
Cost and complex administration is also thought to be the driver behind just 53% of childminders being able to offer subsidised places, but not making them available.
Don’t forget nurseries and childminders are busy and the Ofsted ‘outstanding’ ones offering subsidised care are going to be the harder to get places at, so register early.
Making the right choice
Cost should not be the only driver behind making your childcare decisions. Parental Choice are experts in helping working families make the right decisions regarding their childcare.
There is wide range of information on the different types of childcare options available to you on our website. Once you have selected the right type of provision for you, Parental Choice can search for a suitable solution for you.