Thousands nurseries and daycare providers have decided to drop out of the government’s free childcare scheme.
No less 10,650 fewer such organisations plan to participate when the parents of young children become entitled to 30 hours free, government-funded childcare per week in September.
Figures from the Department for Education suggest that approximately 44,250 nurseries, pre-schools and daycare providers plan to offer 30 hours – a sharp drop of 19 per cent on the 54,900 who provide the current 15 hour entitlement. The data was derived from a survey conducted before the final funding levels were announced by the government.
Neil Leitch of educational charity the Pre-school Learning Alliance believes the hourly rates the government will pay provide a straightforward explanation for the fall and insists the situation will only get worse.
“What’s most alarming is that these figures were gathered at a time when many providers thought they would be receiving close to the average funding rate of £4.88 per hour. With final rates currently being confirmed across the country, and many providers discovering that they’ll be receiving significantly less, we would expect the number of settings opting out of the 30-hour offer to be even higher than these statistics suggest.”