Free childcare at risk of places shortage

Research conducted by the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) has found only 45 per cent of nurseries will be increasing the number of free places on offer, due to funding fears.

Results from the NDNA’s survey suggests a number of nurseries will not be extending the number of free hours they offer due to fears the costs will not be covered by the government.

The Association went on to warn that a shortage of places could leave parents struggling to find suitable nurseries offering the deal when the free childcare policy comes into action in 2017.

Purnima Tanuku, chief executive of the NDNA, said: “The nursery sector is fully behind the principle of more support for parents. But serious funding shortfalls stand in the way of nurseries getting on board, despite their desire to help families with free childcare.”

Tanuku further explained that each nursery was already making a loss of £34,000 on the provision of funded places, with the funding gap at its highest ever at £1.68 per hour on average per three and four-year-old’s place.

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