30 hours 'free' childcare is drawing ever closer and thousands of childcare professionals are in unchartered territory. Nurseries
Pilots are starting in September but nurseries are worried that if they agree to double the free provision they offer, currently 15 hours per week, then funding may not add up and they'll risk incurring big losses and making their businesses unsustainable.
The reality is that the government will become our sector's biggest customer in 2017 when full roll-out of childcare reform is here. But it has to pay us fairly if it wants us to deliver high quality care and education sustainably. The funding has to be sufficient.
Any help for parents in meeting these costs is good news, so 4Children welcomes yesterday's announcement. However, to best help parents the scheme must be simple, widely available and apply to childcare for school aged children. Most importantly, with costs rising by more than 5% a year, families need this help now. At the moment though, the Tax Free Childcare scheme is not scheduled to come on stream until autumn 2015.
The UK spends more than any of its western counterparts on childcare and yet it remains unaffordable for many working parents and continues to make headlines for all the wrong reasons. So what went wrong; who can we blame; and what are the solutions?