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Three quarters of childcare providers charge for additional services

By Rachel Lawlerchild outside walking childcare
 
Almost three quarters of childcare providers charge parents additional fees on top of the funding they receive for the 15 and 30 hours offer, according to research from the Department for Education.
 
The most common fees include charges for unarranged late pick-ups, one-off activities and meals. Other fees include charges for regular activities, snacks, consumables and registration or other admin.
 
Additional charges
The survey found that 74% of providers were charging parents for additional services. It also found that that medium or large size providers with no children under two, or with SEND, had higher income-to-cost ratios.
 
The average hourly fee for non-funded hours was found to be 58p higher than the average funding rate paid to providers for funded hours.
 
Provider survey
The DfE surveyed early years providers in 2018 about their hourly costs over the telephone, online and through paper questionnaires. They spoke to a total of 1,062 providers – 288 private providers, 278 voluntary providers, 130 nursery classes, 85 maintained nursery schools and 263 childminders.
 
"Underfunding pushing up costs"
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, commented: “Yet again the government’s own research has backed up what providers have been saying since before the rollout of 30 hours. The government’s underfunding of the early years is pushing up fees and additional charges for parents and leaving providers with no choice but to limit places to those children with the fewest additional needs.
 
“This is an unsustainable approach to early education and it’s nothing short of appalling that ministers are asking parents to prop up their flagship childcare policy. It's inevitable is that this is only going to get worse. Countless providers have already told me that April’s increase to employer pension contributions and the minimum wage will mean they have to close – and yet ministers continue to insist everything is fine.
 
“Ignoring independent studies would be one thing but we’re now in the absurd position where the government is hiding from its own reports. This is not fair on parents or providers and it simply can’t continue – it’s time ministers faced up to their responsibilities and ensure funding covers the true cost of providing quality childcare.”
 
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