Skip to main content

Children: Day Care

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 13 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps the Government have taken to assist working parents with childcare outside school hours since 1997. (204548)

Since 1997, the total number of registered childcare places has more than doubled; and the number of places in out of school clubs has increased from 78,700 to 365,400 over the same period.

Childcare, including activity based provision that parents can use as childcare, is a key part of the extended schools core offer. Primary schools are expected to provide access to traditional childcare between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. in line with demand as well as a range of activities. Secondary schools are expected to deliver access to activities that provide a safe place for children and young people to be between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Over 10,500 schools are already delivering access to the full core offer and many more schools are delivering access to the childcare and activities elements of it. All schools will provide access to the core of extended services by 2010, with at least half of all primary schools and a third of secondary schools doing so by September 2008.

All local authorities were required to complete assessments of the sufficiency of childcare in their areas by 31 March, identifying supply, demand, and gaps between the two. Since 1 April, local authorities have also been under a new duty to secure sufficient childcare for working parents, and that will help parents who are seeking childcare outside school hours to find the flexible, affordable, high quality provision that they want for their children.

We appreciate the impact that childcare costs can have on the family budget and are providing substantial help—over £3.5 million a day—through the tax credits system to help working parents with the cost of childcare. Parents making use of childcare out of school hours are, like other parents, benefiting from this.