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A new report outlines how many parents face additional charges on top of regular childcare fees.
Just under three quarters of childcare settings ask for additional charges from parents, according to a new Department for Education report.
The report says the most common types of charges were for unarranged late pick-ups (44 percent), one-off activities (41 percent) and meals (30 percent). Less common were charges for regular activities (14 percent), snacks (12 percent), consumables (10 percent) and registration or other administration (8 percent).
Having children in receipt of the government’s 30 hours free childcare was also associated with a higher likelihood of additional charges, whereas having a higher funding rate for the free entitlement was associated with higher fees and a lower likelihood of additional charges.
Private providers are more likely to ask for additional charges. The report also says larger childcare settings, that is, the bigger nurseries, are associated with higher staff hourly pay, a higher unit cost, higher fees and a greater likelihood of additional charges for parents.
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance which represents childcare providers, said underfunding of the 30 hours policy was pushing up fees and additional charges and limiting places for those with special needs.
He said: “This is an unsustainable approach to early education and it’s nothing short of appalling that ministers are asking parents to prop up their flagship childcare policy. It’s inevitable is that this is only going to get worse. Countless providers have already told me that April’s increase to employer pension contributions and the minimum wage will mean they have to close – and yet ministers continue to insist everything is fine.
“Ignoring independent studies would be one thing but we’re now in the absurd position where the government is hiding from its own reports. This is not fair on parents or providers and it simply can’t continue – it’s time ministers faced up to their responsibilities and ensure funding covers the true cost of providing quality childcare.”