We asked parents with children aged four or under about their current and future use of childcare provision. We wanted to know this in order to better understand the future demand for the additional 15 hours of free childcare to be introduced in September 2017, for 3 and 4 year olds.
The consultation ran from the 22 February 2017 – 5 April 2017 with an online questionnaire (anonymous responses) being available during this period on the council’s Engage Barnet website available to all stakeholders. A document with information on the 30 hours of free childcare and eligibility criteria for parents to qualify for the additional 15 hours was available.
Overall we received 49 responses.
Of these, 78% had accessed some form of childcare in the past 6 months. The majority that answered questions on their current childcare answered that: their child attends a nursery school, playgroup or pre-school; they currently receive free childcare and their child(ren) attend for 8-14 or 15-20 hours a week; they pay for childcare from Monday to Friday, paying more than £161 a week and that it was easy for them to find a childcare provider at suitable times and dates.
Of the 7 parents that answered a question on if they plan to access formal (i.e. nursery) childcare in the next 18 months, 6 agreed they would.
Most parents said it was very likely that they would use the additional 15 hours of childcare if these were available now and most would access 11-15 hours of this a week. Most would switch to another provider to access this if their current provider couldn’t offer the additional hours, but would only use one provider for all their children.
Most respondents were currently in work and had a partner in work. Most agreed that the additional 15 hours of childcare would benefit them to increase their working hours and reduce the cost of childcare to their household.
The results of the consultation were presented to a 30 Hour Working Party on 19 April 2017 in order to plan future provision. This party included representatives from across the Early Years sector in Barnet, including nursery and daycare managers and reception teachers.