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NEWS: Coram survey reveals continued decrease in the availability of childcare in England

Coram Family and Childcare’s 23rd annual survey was published this week. The survey is based on surveys from local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales, that were returned to Coram Family and Childcare between November 2023 and February 2024. A total of 184 councils returned data generating a response rate of 89%.

The survey shows: 

  • Continued decrease in the availability of childcare in England, across all areas of provision 

  • A part-time nursery place for a child under two now costs an average of £158 per week in Great Britain, up 7% on 2023 

  • Ahead of the childcare expansion roll-out from April, councils raise concerns over delivery of the policy and availability of places 

In particular, the survey results show that disadvantaged children and children with disabilities face insufficient childcare with just 6% of councils reporting sufficient childcare for children with disabilities, a decrease of 12 percentage points on 2023. 

The rising costs of childcare were also reported in the survey with a part-time nursery place (25 hours per week) for a child under two now costing an average of £158 per week, a 7% increase on 2023. The most expensive area in the country is inner London, where parents pay an average of £218 per week for one part-time nursery place. 

The report again highlights councils’ concerns over the delivery of the expansion to free early education entitlements, which start from April, and the further impact on the availability of childcare places*. While 63% of councils in England are ‘confident’ or ‘very confident’ that there will be enough places to meet demand for the imminent expansion (15 free hours for two-year-olds), just 28% say the same about the expansion from September 2024 (15 free hours from nine months), and this falls to just 12% for the September 2025 expansion (30 hours from nine months). 

Read the full report here  

Representation of Childminders on The One Show 

On Tuesday this week, in a segment on The One Show about the results of the survey and childcare provision for children with SEND, Childminders in particular were deemed not to be able to provide a standard of care to support the development of a child who has SEND. 

Helen Donohoe, PACEY Chief Executive released this statement on the matter: 

‘It is a huge shame that a popular and widely respected BBC programme such as The One Show chose to broadcast such a one sided and unfair portrayal of the first-class early education and childcare that childminders provide. In contrast to the impression given on the programme (19 March 2024), we know that childminders provide absolutely critical care and development for children with SEND who often thrive in a smaller, home from home environment with closer interaction with their childcare provided. Ultimately, what matters is that every child is unique, and every child should have access to the setting that best suits their needs. However, we refute the way that childminders were portrayed and have contacted the BBC to raise the issue directly with them.’ 

PACEY contacted and spoke to The One Show to challenge this opinion. Understandably many Childminders reached out to us to express their hurt, anger and disappointment at how they had been represented. 

The One Show presenters made a statement on an episode that aired the following day: 

“We've been reading your messages in response to our film last night which sone a light on the important work nurseries and childcare providers do for children with special education needs and disabilities. And it is really important to stress by the way what amazing work so many childminders do as well – they play such an important role and follow the same framework and processes as nurseries. (Lauren Laverne) 

It’s a big thank you to everyone who works in the sector as it's such a skilled and important job. Thanks to everyone who’s been in touch on this. (Jermaine Jenas)”