You are here: News Part time nursery place in Wales tops £6000 per year

The average price for a part time nursery place for a child under two comes up to £116 per week in Wales, that is over £6,000 per year, more than double what Welsh families spend on groceries in a year (1).

The Family and Childcare Trust’s 17th annual Childcare Survey finds that prices are slightly lower for a childminder at £100 per week for a part time place for a child under two.

Most parents are entitled to some Government support to help with childcare costs and some working parents will be spending less on childcare this year following the introduction of tax free childcare – but the confusing hotchpotch of different ways parents can get support means that many parents are at risk of missing out on the help they need. Government support is the least for the youngest children between the end of parental leave and the child turning three – and that’s when the costs are highest.  

The survey also revealed significant childcare shortages in Wales: only half of local areas have enough childcare for working parents. Not a single local authority reported there being enough childcare places for parents working outside of typical office hours.

Ellen Broomé, Chief Executive at the Family and Childcare Trust, said:

“Childcare is a smart investment – it supports parents to work, boosts children’s outcomes and provides employers with a reliable workforce. Too many parents remain locked out of work by high childcare costs and low availability.

“We are calling on the UK Government to streamline the current hotchpotch of childcare schemes into a simple and responsive childcare system that makes sure every parent is better off working and makes sure childcare quality is high enough to boost children’s outcomes in life. The Welsh Government has taken important steps to better understand their local childcare needs and are now better placed to fill the gaps.”

Alongside the Family and Childcare Trust’s call for ambitious childcare reform, the Childcare Survey 2018 has set out several short term actions which the Government can take to support parents to work:     

  • Provide start up grants and responsive funding for childcare providers so that they can meet the needs of disabled children to increase the availability of childcare places.
  • Increase the maximum amount of childcare costs that are supported by universal credit in order to make sure parents are better off for every extra hour worked, and move to upfront payments so that parents can move into work.
  • Monitor whether tax free childcare is causing prices to rise and if the new funding – tax free childcare and free childcare extensions – is helping parents into work and narrowing the achievement gap.


Contact: Mark Bou Mansour, Communications and Campaigns Manager, Family and Childcare Trust, telephone: 020 7940 7535, mobile: 07538 334 772,

Notes to Editor:

  1. Average weekly household expenditure on food and non-alcoholic drink in Wales for the financial year ending 2017 was £52.90. Family spending in the UK: financial year ending 2017. Office for National Statistics. Link.
  2. 2017 saw the introduction of new nationally mandated Childcare Sufficiency requirements in Wales. This survey is the first which captures all local authorities’ new data under this requirement. This has led to a notable drop in ‘don’t know/cannot tell’ responses for childcare sufficiency – local authorities have a stronger knowledge of their local market. We have also seen a significant rise in some childcare prices this year – based on local authorities which returned data in both 2017 and 2018. We believe that this may be due to local authorities now holding more up to date and comprehensive data for their areas.  
  3. Following the introduction of new childcare assessment requirements on local authorities in 2017, the new price figures are based on more complete and current data and are therefore not directly comparable to previous years. Childcare prices in England, Wales and Scotland:
  1. For full figures on childcare sufficiency and costs in Wales, please see report attached.
  2. All two and three year olds living in Flying Start areas in Wales are entitled to 12.5 hours of free childcare a week for 39 weeks a year in Flying Start areas. These are geographic areas which are more deprived.
  3. All three and four years are entitled to 10 hours of free childcare a week during term time. Seven local authorities in Wales are piloting the extended entitlement for working parents of three and four year olds, which gives them 30 hours free childcare a week during term time. Sufficiency data on these pilots was not included in this report.
  4. The tax free childcare scheme pays £2 for every £8 parents pay for childcare, up to a maximum of £2000 per child per year. The scheme gradually rolled out from 2017 to February 2018, made available first to working parents with young children before becoming available to working parents with children under 12 years old.

About the Family and Childcare Trust

The Family and Childcare Trust works to make the UK a better place for families by bringing together what we learn from our on the ground parent-led programmes and our research to campaign for solutions that parents want and need. We focus on childcare and early years to make a difference to families’ lives now and in the long term.

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