You are here: News Shortages of summer childcare

For the first time, two areas of Britain – Wales and the East of England - have reported that they do not have enough holiday childcare across all age groups and needs.

The Family and Childcare Trust’s 15th annual Holiday Childcare Survey – sponsored by Computershare and Community Playthings – shows that 88 per cent of local authorities in England, 78 per cent in Scotland and 100 per cent in Wales report that they do not have enough holiday childcare to meet demand.

And for the first time new data show that despite dire shortages, only 19 per cent of local authorities across Britain indicated that parents had complained about a lack of holiday childcare in the last 12 months, even though at least 5 million children live in local authorities with insufficient holiday childcare.

Average prices went down across Britain by 1.9 per cent since 2015, with the price of one weeks’ holiday childcare now at £121.12 – bucking a trend of rising prices which, since 2010, have increased by 21.9 per cent.

Julia Margo, chief executive at the Family and Childcare Trust said:

"Once again British families face a summer holiday of high costs and limited choice when it comes to finding formal childcare.

"We would like to see real commitment to increasing availability to meet demand, with a particular focus on deprived areas. Families should have a right to a childcare place, in line with a right to a school place.

"The introduction of parents’ ‘right to request’ holiday childcare in their local schools offers a real opportunity for improvement. Government needs to provide the right information and support to realise this opportunity.

Julian Foster, Managing Director at Computershare said:

"It’s vital that parents get the support they need to balance their work and family lives, and organisations too benefit when employees are not dealing with great pressures over childcare. “As a result the expensive costs and shortages of childcare this summer are a real concern, and it’s vital that more support is provided, particularly in poorer areas."

The Family and Childcare Trust’s Holiday Childcare survey also sets out a number of recommendations that could further ease the burden on parents across Britain, bringing together local authorities, schools and organisations to develop local strategies and making sure local authorities produce accurate and timely online information listing holiday clubs and activities for parents. The full report is attached.


Contact: Mark Bou Mansour, Communications and Campaigns Manager. Telephone: 0207 940 7535, mobile: 07538 334 772, email:

Notes to Editor:

  • In Britain the average price of one week’s full-time (50 hours) of holiday childcare is now £121.12, compared with £123.49 in 2015. This represents a 1.9 per cent decrease in price over the last 12 months.
  • In Britain, public sector holiday childcare now costs an average £101.35 per week, compared with £125.03 per week in the private and non-for-profit sectors.
  • The region with the most expensive holiday childcare is the South East, with the most expensive provision in that area reported to be £600. This is nearly five times as much as the average price in Britain.
  • Under the Childcare Act 2006 all local authorities in England and Wales have a legal obligation to make sure there is sufficient childcare for working parents and those undertaking training. Despite this duty, 29 per cent of English local authorities and 17 per cent of those in Wales had insufficient data to see if their supply met parental demand.
  • In Scotland, where the legislative framework is different, that figure is 54 per cent, representing 14 local authorities.
  • Parents of children aged 12 or over, families who live in rural areas and those with disabled children face the biggest gaps in provision.  Some 83 per cent of local authorities in England and all local authorities in Wales lacked sufficient holiday childcare for disabled children.
  • New government guidance for schools on parents and childcare providers’ right to request wraparound and holiday childcare has been released and will be active from the start of the autumn term.



In May 2016 a survey was sent to all local authority Family Information Services in England, Scotland and Wales. This requested information about the average price of holiday childcare projects – sometimes called holiday clubs or play schemes - in their area. About one in five families use this type of childcare across the UK.

We also asked local authorities to draw on their most recent childcare sufficiency data and report if they had enough holiday childcare for different age groups of children, those who live in rural areas, disabled children and where parents worked full-time.

The survey was sent out to 205 local authorities in Britain. We received responses from 177, giving an overall response rate of 86 per cent and a minimum response rate of 74 per cent in all regions and nations of the UK. Of the responding local authorities, 148 had adequate data to answer questions on sufficiency.

About the Family and Childcare Trust

The Family and Childcare Trust aims to make the UK a better place for families. We are a leading national family charity in the field of policy, research and advocacy on childcare and family issues, with over 40 years’ experience. Our on-the-ground work with parents and providers informs our research and campaigns. We focus on the early years and childcare because they are crucial to boosting children’s outcomes throughout life and supporting parents to work.

About Computershare Voucher Services (CVS)

Computershare is the UK’s largest childcare voucher provider, responsible for the administration, management and development of childcare vouchers, an employee benefit available to all eligible working parents. CVS currently works with over 150,000 working parents, more than 15,000 organisations and around 130,000 carers each month. CVS has vast experience of the childcare vouchers industry, reinforced by significant technology enhancements which benefit its diverse customer base, spanning every sector, from some of the UK’s largest corporations to SMEs.

CVS is a founding member of the Childcare Voucher Providers Association (CVPA) which represents childcare voucher providers and sets the benchmark for standards in the industry through its Code of Practice, to ensure carers, parents and employers receive the highest standard of service from childcare voucher providers.

For more information visit:

About Community Playthings

With a fifty-five year history in manufacturing, Community Playthings produces attractive, durable, wooden furniture and play equipment. Their child-friendly designs support children’s creativity, learning, and play in schools and nurseries across the private, voluntary and public sectors.

For more information, visit: