William Eichler 18 April 2017

Whitehall’s 30 hours free childcare policy ‘in danger’ as nurseries opt out

Whitehall’s 30 hours free childcare policy ‘in danger’ as nurseries opt out  image

The Government's promise to provide parents with 30 free hours of childcare is in danger as daycare nurseries opt out leaving 50,000 children without places.

A new survey by the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) has revealed one fifth of nurseries are ‘Unlikely’ or ‘Definitely won’t’ offer 30 hours and only 44% say they will participate.

Around 35% say they ‘Don’t know’ just five months ahead of the rollout of Whitehall’s flagship policy.

The survey also discovered that 85% of nurseries are underfunded, with the average loss per child per year being £958 for 15 hours funded childcare.

More nurseries (83%) than in previous years plan to increase their fees, with the average rise being 4.5%, the NDNA found. And the number of nurseries expecting to make a loss has almost doubled since 2016 from 9% to 17%.

The association’s survey found staff wages is the single biggest challenge nurseries face. Payrolls are due to rise by a further 7% average. This will force more nurseries to employ younger and less qualified staff to reduce bills.

The NDNA’s chief executive warned this was the result of the National Living Wage.

Inadequate funding and pressure to deliver 30 hours will also threaten free places for disadvantaged two-year-olds, with 10% reducing two-year-old places.

‘Our findings are significant as they concern full daycare settings, the largest part of the nursery sector, who provide more places than schools or playgroups,’ said Purnima Tanuku, chief executive of NDNA.

‘There is no such thing as ‘free’ childcare – parents, nurseries and their staff are all paying for this.

‘It is time the Government stopped promising parents ‘free’ childcare hours unless they are prepared to invest the money needed. This manifesto promise is in real danger of failure.’

The Family and Childcare Trust recently warned the policy could put quality and availability of services at risk.

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Assistant Director Practice Improvement and Development

Birmingham Children's Trust
Up to £92,681 plus market supplement and relocation allowance (subject to terms and conditions)
We have developed an environment where learning, development and practice improvement are underpinning principles service wide. Birmingham, West Midlands
Recuriter: Birmingham Children's Trust

Social Worker (Safeguarding Adults Team)

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£29,636 - £33,799 per annum
The safeguarding team have an excellent opportunity for an experienced qualified Social Worker who... Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Occupational Therapist (Short Breaks- Residential and Community)

City of York Council
£30,500 to £34,797 per annum
Looking to recruit an Occupational Therapist who is able to meet the needs of children and young people with... York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Social Worker - SGO & Connected Person Assessment Team

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Special Guardianship Order (SGO) & Connected Person Assessment Team The SGO and Connected Person's Assessment Team first started in April 2019 and due England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Programme Support Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£29.766 - £30.711
This role is a programme support officer which will assist the delivery of vital monitoring, control and governance work to... Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue