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Children: Day Care

Volume 468: debated on Thursday 6 December 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what recent assessment he has made of the levels of availability of childcare for children aged 12 and upwards. (170676)

Local authorities are required to complete by 31 March 2008 assessments of the sufficiency of child care in their areas in relation to children of all ages, covering supply of places, demand for places and gaps between the two. Their assessments will provide the basis for their duty to secure sufficient child care for all working parents from 1 April 2008.

The Government do not collect this data centrally because child care markets are essentially very local, and local authority level assessments aggregated nationally would be potentially misleading. Sufficiency, of course, is not just about numbers but about a host of criteria including accessibility, flexibility and affordability, as well as quantity.

Secondary schools, as part of the development of extended services, are expected to provide young people access to a varied menu of activities in a safe place to be, before and after school from 8 am to 6 pm and during the school holidays in response to demand. At present, 1,720 secondary schools are providing access to the full core offer of extended services.

The core offer in secondary schools comprises: a varied menu to activities in a safe place to be, parenting support, swift and easy access to a wide range of specialist support services and community access to school facilities.