Parents split over holiday childcare

School, Education


Working parents are divided over how they are covering the summer holidays between those who are relying on free childcare in the form of friends and family and those who are having to pay for childcare, according to a poll.

The poll shows that 19% of parents are relying on a mix of family, friends and paid childcare and 18% are mainly using paid childcare. This compares to 18% who are relying on a mixture of family and friends and paid childcare and 38% who don’t need summer childcare because of various reasons like being on maternity leave, working term time only, leaving jobs to cover the summer period or being out of work. Some 7% admitted they had not got summer childcare sorted yet. The school holidays begin this week.

One mum said: “I have been out of work for two years now. I am looking for part-time work as a cleaner or in customer services.”

Several parents commented about the difficulty of finding summer childcare. One simply called it “a nightmare”.

A recent survey of 1,500 UK adults for Cotton Traders summer campaign found that almost a third of parents struggle to find childcare across the summer holidays and over a quarter of parents have to take unpaid leave from work to cover childcare.

The survey also found:

  • 36% find it difficult to get time off work in the summer to spend time with family
  • Almost half of parents think that having a more flexible workplace would help with this
  • 29% of parents dread the summer holidays due to the stress of finding childcare
  • 26% of parents work from home during the school holidays to spend more time with their children
  • 39% of parents have to miss out on summer events such as sports day, plays and early finishes due to work
  • 41% rely on family and friends to look after their children in the holidays
  • Over a quarter of parents have to take different days holiday to each other to ensure that someone is free to take care of the children
  • Half of parents wish they could spend more time with their families over the summer break.


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