Research by the National Day Nurseries Association, carried out with parenting website Netmums, found that eight out of ten families expected to take all the free hours of childcare that would be offered to them.
The survey of 1,000 parents and carers of under-fives found that:
80 per cent of parents said that they would probably or definitely take all 30 free hours offered to them
53 per cent said they wanted to get more work as a result.
Although working was the top reason for taking up free places, some parents said they would spend any non-working child-free time to study to further their careers.
75 per cent of stay-at-home parents said they would definitely or probably look for work if they were able to get 30 hours’ free childcare.
Comments included, ‘I left my job because most of my salary went on childcare but if childcare was free, working would be worth it’, and ‘The only reason I can’t work at the moment is the lack of childcare.’
Chief executive of NDNA, Purnima Tanuku, said, ‘This shows the Government’s offer of more childcare hours is wanted and needed and already eagerly anticipated.
‘The survey also suggests that reform will encourage more parents to work more hours, bringing the economic boost the Government wants. There could also be a knock-on effect that grandparents, freed up from childcare, may also look for more work.’
But NDNA warns better levels of funding and full consultation with the childcare sector is required to make reform a success.
Ms Tanuku added, ‘It is now extremely important that the Government works closely with the childcare sector to establish how reform can be achieved at a practical, workable level.’
She highlighted that 52 per cent of parents would rather have fewer hours all year round, rather than term-time only.
‘Most people’s jobs are not term-time only and such a move could help nurseries to create more places more efficiently.’
The survey also found that 4 per cent of respondents reported relying on grandparents or other family members to care for their children when they are working, with comments from parents suggesting that the Government’s extended free provision could also free up relatives to the jobs market, NDNA said.
-reprinted from Nursery World