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Children: Day Care

Question for Department for Education

UIN 100458, tabled on 7 October 2020

To ask the Secretary of Sate for Education, what assessment she has made of (a) the level of childcare provision available during the covid-19 outbreak; and what assessment she has made of the effect of available childcare on the number of mothers taking redundancy since March 2020 to date.

Answered on

16 October 2020

Since April 2020, we have been collecting weekly data from all English local authorities to monitor the availability of early years childcare. We collect and publish information on the number of open and closed early years providers as well as the number of children attending. This information contributes to our regular publication, ‘Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak’, which is available here:
https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Term-time attendance at early years settings has been increasing since September. On a typical day in the autumn term, we estimate attendance to be around 887,000 children, due to different and part-time patterns of childcare during the week. We estimate that 753,000 children attended early years settings on 8 October, which is approximately 85% of the usual daily level, and an increase of almost 340,000 from at the end of the summer term. 80% of early years settings were estimated to be open on 8 October.

From 4 July, wraparound childcare providers and other providers of out-of-school activities have been able to care for all children, with protective measures in place. We have published further updated guidance for providers who run before and after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school settings for children on the protective measures that should be put in place to ensure they are operating as safely as possible. This is also to ensure that with the introduction of our new local COVID-19 alert levels, that wraparound childcare is able to remain open, to support parents to continue to work. The guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

We also know that many schools operate their own breakfast and after school clubs, and they should be working to resume this provision, if they have not already. As part of our guidance to schools on full opening, we have provided schools with guidance to support them in reopening this valuable provision. The guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

The department does not hold information on the reasons for redundancy. However, the poll of 1000 parents of 0-4 year old children in May 2020 showed only 7% of critical worker families disagree that ‘the hours their child(ren) can access childcare or school at the time of the poll fits with the working hours of the adults in the household’. Of all parents surveyed who previously used childcare and were not intending to return to formal childcare after the wider reopening on 1 June, only 6% said this was because their usual provider or school was remaining closed and 4% stated their child’s usual provider is only open for some children and their child is not eligible. More details on the poll are available here:
https://www.ipsos.com/ipsos-mori/en-uk/parents-0-4-year-olds-and-childcare-1st-june-2020.