Free childcare scheme faces funding ‘crisis’, charity claims

The BBC is reporting a study commissioned by the Pre-school Learning Alliance that suggests the government’s free childcare scheme is facing “chronic underfunding”…

Local authorities currently receive money from the government to pay for up to 15 hours of free childcare a week.

But the report suggests this funding is only enough to cover four out of every five children taking up the offer…

Researchers found that the average hourly cost of providing a childcare place for a three- or four-year-old is £4.53, but nurseries and pre-school centres receive £3.88 per hour per child on average.

That represents a shortfall of 18%.

For two-year-olds, the average hourly cost of a childcare place is £5.97, but centres caring for this age group receive an average of £5.19 – a shortfall of 15%.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the alliance, which represents over 14,000 providers of childcare, warned that the situation was “clearly not sustainable”.

He accused the government of being “unwilling to give the support that providers need” and added that “chronic underfunding has left us with a free entitlement scheme in crisis”…

A spokesperson for the Department for Education said it was doing more than any other government to tackle the cost of childcare.

The spokesperson said the report had been “totally overblown. It is nonsense to suggest that childcare has been underfunded. The cost of childcare is falling in real terms and we have increased annual funding for early education by over £1bn since 2010.

“As a result of our plan for education more families than ever before are now eligible for free childcare.”…

More at: Free childcare scheme faces funding ‘crisis’, charity claims

 

I know many independent early years providers I have spoken to believe the hourly rate they receive for children on the scheme is below their costs of delivering the childcare. Would you agree with that or does the DfE have a point in suggesting overall annual funding has been increased and the report is “totally overblown”? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…

 

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Comments

  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove No denial from govt that funding is an issue just the usual “we’ve done better than the other parties” drivel. Pointless

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove No denial from govt that funding is an issue just the usual “we’ve done better than the other parties” drivel. Pointless

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