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.

Best practice in resident ballots image

Best practice in resident ballots

Residents on the South Kilburn Estate overwhelmingly voted in favour of council plans to regenerate their neighbourhood in October 2019. Brent’s strategic director for regeneration and environment Amar Dave shares the lessons learned for other landlords holding resident ballots.
Highways jobs

Senior Manager – Older Adults – Residential Care

Cumbria County Council
£68,709 - £71,218
This pivotal role requires leadership and management of the Council's twenty in house Residential Care services Carlisle, Cumbria
Recuriter: Cumbria County Council

Education, Health and Care (EHC) Co-ordinators

Buckinghamshire Council
£30,874 - £37,188 per annum
Interested in a career as an EHC Coordinator? Come along to our drop-in event to meet members of the SEND team and find out more about the role! England, Buckinghamshire, Aylesbury
Recuriter: Buckinghamshire Council

Children's Assistant Team Managers - Childrens Looked After Team

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
Up to £46,347 Plus £2,000 welcome payment
As an Assistant Team Manager in LAC service you will have a major contribution to make to the delivery of our vision and strategic priorities, by... London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Senior Practitioner

Redbridge London Borough Council
£39,774 - £42,684 per annum plus 3,000 R&R
Looking to recruit a highly motivated qualified Social Worker who is ready to take the next step in their career progression as a... Ilford, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Interim Head of Corporate and Customer Services

West Lancashire Borough Council
£56,093 to £56,943 per annum
Looking for an experienced dynamic leader to join our team and drive a culture of commercial development, service improvement, and... Lancashire
Recuriter: West Lancashire Borough Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

This issue of Local Government News explores how councils can tackle modern slavery and trafficking in their supply chains, finds out more about Cambridge's first cohousing scheme and the launch of a new project to build a shared service pattern library for local government.

This issue also contains a special focus on children's services and how councils are protecting children following local safeguarding children boards being abolished.

Register for your free magazine