Nurseries may drop out of free childcare expansion
June 17, 2016 1 comment
Government plans to offer 30 hours of free childcare to the parents of three- and four-year olds may be derailed by a lack of participation, MPs have claimed.
The manifesto pledge will double the parents’ current entitlement, from 15 to 30 hours per week. It should be available to everyone eligible by September next year.
But the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee has now sounded a warning that a significant number of nurseries may refuse to participate at all because they will no longer be able to charge higher rates to parents to cover the low funding rates to be paid by local authorities.
There is therefore, the committee claims, a “real risk” there will not be enough participating nurseries to meet demand. It has urged the government to use the upcoming pilot scheme, due this September, to fully assess the ability of nurseries and daycare centres to meet expected demand.
It warned that, under current plans, the government “will have little time to evaluate the results and implement any lessons learned before it rolls out the new entitlement.”
Purnima Tanuku is chief executive of the National Day Nurseries Association. She declared:
“Nurseries want to be able to deliver this flagship policy which will benefit children and their families. However, this increase in funded hours will not be possible for many nurseries to deliver if they can’t remain sustainable as businesses.”
Photo by Nelson de Witt via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.
June 17, 2016