Over half of parents have left sorting summer childcare to the last minute or have not yet covered the whole holiday period, according to a Workingmums.co.uk poll.
The poll which ran over the last two weeks of term and the first two days of the holiday found 33% had got some childcare sorted, but had not covered the whole period while 19% had not sorted childcare at all. A third had sorted it weeks ago and the rest had only sorted it at the last minute.
One parent who planned in advance said: “I needed to plan in advance as I have a three year old and a six year old so it is difficult to accommodate these ages together. There is not much provision available.”
Another said: “I have to sort it early – otherwise I worry about it.”
A parent who had not yet sorted care for the whole summer said: “It’s too expensive basically. I work to earn only for it to be given to a childminder. Do you think it’s worth it? Number 1 childcare is dead expensive 2) I’m leaving my child with an unknown person 3) I can’t spend quality time with my child so he loses out. A mother should have the same holiday as her child gets from school.”
A report out from the Family and Childcare Trust found that holiday childcare costs have risen by five per cent in England since last summer, bringing the average parents now pay for one week of holiday childcare to £125 – more than double what families spend on food and drink in a week.
The report also revealed that the availability of childcare places has also reduced since last year. Fewer local authorities in England report having enough holiday childcare available compared to last summer, says the Trust: just 29 per cent of local authorities reported having enough holiday childcare for four to seven year olds, compared to 33 per cent in 2016.
The NSPCC warned just before the holidays started that it had seen an increase of 36% on calls to its helpline about children being left unattended in 2016 compared to 2015.
The law doesn’t specify a minimum age at which it is ok to leave a child home alone, but the NSPCC says no child should be left on their own if there is any risk they will come to harm. It has created guidelines for parents.