Parents Struggle to Work Due to Childcare Shortage

Sherpa Kids’ survey finds many parents are struggling to work due to childcare shortage

Many working parents across the UK have difficulty in finding out of school hours childcare and some have been forced to give up work as a result, a survey by international childcare franchisor Sherpa Kids has revealed.

The online survey, conducted among around 1000 UK parents, found that 53 per cent of respondents had failed to return to work, given up work, or reduced their hours because they were unable to find suitable out of school hours childcare.

Twelve per cent of the survey’s respondents, who were all parents of children aged between four and 11, said that their school did not offer a breakfast club, after-school care club or holidays activities.

This figure was much higher in some regions across the UK, particularly the East Midlands and East Anglia where 29 per cent of parents in each of those areas said their school did not offer any out of school hours care.

The best served area was London where only five per cent of respondents said their school did not offer any out of school hours care, followed by the South-West (seven per cent) and the South-East (nine per cent).

Overall, 55 percent of respondents said that their child’s school had a breakfast club, 66 percent offered an afterschool club and nearly a third (32 percent) provided holidays activities.

When asked to cite the most important features of out of school hours care provision, aside from reasonable cost and flexible booking, the majority of respondents said quality of food (53 percent), closely followed by carer/child ratio (50 percent) and a varied programme and themes (48 percent).

Vicki Prout, Co-Director of Sherpa Kids International, said: “Being able to access good quality, affordable out of school hours childcare is essential for many working families. Yet our survey shows there is a shortage of such services in large parts of the UK.

“Schools are ideal places in which to offer out of hours childcare and Academy structures may allow for more flexible provision of these services. With so many working parents needing help with childcare, it can also be an important differentiator when choosing a school.

“We are currently working with a number of schools across the UK, as well as many overseas, to develop bespoke before and after-school club programmes and holidays activities that fulfil their needs.”

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