30 Hours of Free Childcare
Following the Conservatives’ re-election and the Queen’s recent speech, we have all heard about the government’s plans to help working parents by doubling the provision of free childcare from 15 to 30 hours a week for three and four year olds.
Although this increase is valuable for working parents and is certainly a step in the right direction to support parents wishing to go back to work, many early years professionals have their reservations. These concerns are largely due to the fact that the current 15 hours of free childcare is greatly underfunded, and consequently many early years’ professionals have had to increase their normal hourly rates to cover the costs.
A recent NDNA survey revealed that parents will work longer when the 30 hours of free childcare is introduced. It found that four in five families plan to make full use of the extended hours; therefore if the government do improve the funding and work closely with childcare professionals, it could be very successful. According to latest figures, it will save a family up to £5,000 a year.
This offer which doubles the current hours of free childcare available over the course of 38 weeks of the year will be implemented in 2017. Families where both parents within the household are working will be eligible for this as well as families where there is one parent living in the household who goes to work. At the moment 80% of families in the UK consist of two working parents.
Anne-Marie O’Leary, editor in chief of Netmums, said: “The high – and rising – cost of childcare is one of the biggest factors stopping parents working. And for those parents who do work, on average childcare bills swallow up a third of their income, forcing them to cut back sharply in other areas.
“The proposed 30 free hours should – if properly funded – help make childcare more affordable for parents of three and four year olds, improve the choices UK parents have and ensure work pays for many more mums and dads.”
Even though the 30 hours of free childcare is great news for working parents, more information needs to be released for childcare professionals, as well as a full funding review. Nursery Resources will be sure to keep you up to date with the progressions of this as and when new information is released.