Two thirds of parents unconvinced by manifesto pledges on childcare

New polling by the Early Education and Childcare Coalition finds many parents are unconvinced that childcare will improve after the election.

Child playing with blocks at nursery


Almost two thirds of parents don’t feel confident that childcare in England will improve after the general election, according to a poll from the Early Education and Childcare Coalition.

The poll of over 2,000 parents of under fives shows 64% do not think that political parties are doing enough to support families with children under the age of five: 60% of parents think the main parties are not doing enough to increase the availability of early years places, while a further 64% of parents don’t feel enough is being promised to bring down the cost of childcare.

Sarah Ronan, Director of the Early Education and Childcare Coalition, said: The new government will take office amid the biggest expansion of childcare support in history and just two months out from the next phase of the roll-out. As our polling shows, families are not yet convinced that political parties have grasped the scale of the challenge for the early years sector or the pressure facing parents. Those running for government need to show they understand that, and more importantly, that they are willing to take action to address the root causes of the crisis in early years. That action must include more support for the sector and the early years workforce so they can meet demand and deliver for babies, toddlers and their parents.

Respondents were also asked which of the policies proposed by the main parties would make the single biggest difference to childcare in England. The most popular policy was a pledge to ensure that early years providers receive enough funding to cover the cost of delivering government schemes such as the 30-hours free childcare during term-time for two year olds which is being rolled out in September. By next autumn, the plan is to extend 30 hours free childcare to eligible parents of children from nine months old. Just 50% of parents say they feel confident that the plan will improve childcare for them. Childcare providers are worried about their ability to provide places due to funding problems and a recruitment crisis.

When asked about the effectiveness of other policies proposed by the main parties to improve childcare in the early years, 65% of parents said that better flexible working and enhanced parental leave would make the biggest difference. The same figure (65%) said breakfast clubs in primary schools would be effective in improving childcare – a policy promised by Labour – while 61% said more investment in early intervention and support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) would be effective.

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