Blog | Out of school, out of mind?

Policy team | 29 Aug

The report we published today shows that for many parents with school age children, far from easing the pressure on childcare needs, the transition to school sees childcare woes worsen.

 

Not only is out of school childcare becoming increasingly expensive and difficult to find, there are virtual childcare deserts in significant parts of the country presenting many parents with an impossible struggle to balance work and care commitments. This is made worse by large variations in prices within local areas which creates real difficulty working out what childcare is on offer in an area and what is best for them.

 

With less than half of local authorities reporting that they have enough childcare for school age children, parents are faced with a postcode lottery that has serious implications for their quality of life as well as the family budget.

 

Key findings in our report show that:

 

  • Over 40 per cent of parents we spoke to said that their childcare arrangements became more difficult as their children started school.

 

  • Nearly two-thirds per cent of parents of the parents we spoke to said that they had been forced to change their working patterns to accommodate childcare when their children had started school, with almost 12 per cent having to either change or quit their jobs completely.

 

  • The average cost of an after-school club for 15 hours a week is nearly £2000 a year. The cost has increasing by 9 per cent in the last five years.

 

  • Only 40 per cent of local authorities had enough childcare for 5-11 year olds, and about a third (35 per cent) had enough holiday childcare.

 

Our findings once again highlight that we have a childcare system which is simply not fit for purpose for families today. We need to support the many families up and down the country who are currently struggling with the cost and lack of availability of childcare for their children. We need bold reform, and we need it now.

 

We are calling for local authorities to put in place clear action plans to plug any gaps in childcare, and for government to hold them to account if this doesn’t happen. We also want to see out of school childcare become a legal entitlement so that wherever you live and whether or not your child has a disability, parents with school aged children have access to affordable, quality out of school childcare.

 
Read the full report here

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