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Middle class parents are ‘more informed’ about childcare services

A report from the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission has revealed that middle class parents are more informed about the early years childcare services available to them than working class parents.

“The experiences of early parenting differ according to social grade; which clearly has implications for social mobility,” the report stated. “Middle class parents are accessing more services antenatally and in the first year of their child’s life, appear to be more likely to be developing social connections for themselves and their child, and are also more informed about financial support with childcare costs and school options.”

The report surveyed 1,000 parents across the country and found that overall, 39% of parents had ‘a reasonable idea’ as to the awareness of support with childcare costs, but nearly half (47%) were either ‘confused’ or had ‘no idea’ of what was available to them. When broken down, more than half (53%) of working class parents either had no idea that any help was available, or knew there was something but were unsure of the scale or how to access it.

The report suggests that the very parents who are most likely to want to work more hours (but are put off by the cost of childcare) are also more likely to have a poorer understanding of the available support.

A spokesperson for the DfE dismissed the findings and told reporters that it was a “small poll based on the findings of just 1,000 parents, and does not reflect reality”.

“Our own survey of more than 6,000 parents shows around half say there is enough information available. The recent National Audit Officer report found that most parents of three- and four-years olds take up free childcare places for their children,” the spokesperson said. “This is backed up by our own figures, showing that 96% of three- and four-year-olds are already benefitting from high quality free childcare.”