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Childcare and Early Years Series

Mother with baby

Aim

The Childcare and Early Years Survey of Parents is part of a series of surveys that provides up-to-date and accurate information on families' childcare arrangements, their views of the childcare providers they use, and their thoughts about childcare in their local area. The first survey was conducted in 1999.

Findings

  • More parents were using formal childcare arrangement, particularly for 3 and 4 year olds.
  • While more people were making use of the entitlement to free early years provision for 3 and 4 year olds, take-up was lower among more disadvantaged families.
  • Parents from disadvantaged families were almost twice as likely to be unaware of the entitlement to free early years provision suggesting a need to improve access to information for disadvantaged families.
  • Friends and relatives (particularly grandparents) played a prominent role in providing childcare and supporting maternal employment.
  • Almost a quarter of families paying for childcare find it difficult or very difficult to meet their childcare costs (22% in England and Wales).
  • Approximately half of non-working mothers would prefer to work if they could arrange good quality childcare which was convenient, reliable and affordable

Method

As part of this survey, face-to-face interviews are carried out with over 7,000 parents of children aged 14 and under. Parents are randomly selected to take part from Child Benefit records to make sure that they are representative of all parents in England.

Read 2008 report

Read 2009 report