Related to: Socio-economic Inequality, Births and Fertility, Children and Young People, Education, Safeguarding Children and Young People, Breastfeeding, Child Poverty, Child Protection Plans, [[Children and Young People Safeguarding Referrals and Assessment]], [[Children In Care]], Physical Activity, Play and Play Areas, Postnatal Depression

 

Key Facts

  • There has been a steady increase in resident births during the last 12 years. This has had an impact on the demand for childcare provision.
  • There has been a particular increase in the demand for childcare in the Twerton area.
  • There is a total of 445 childcare providers in Bath and North East Somerset
  • There is a total of 6,269 childcare places in B&NES.
  • The average ratio of childcare places to children in B&NES is 0.28.
  • There are an estimated 2,898 children eligible for Early Years Entitlement provision in B&NES and 3,346 places.
  • 43% of take up of two year old Early Years Entitlement in B&NES is from lone parents

What is childcare? 1

Childcare - is defined in Section 18 of the Childcare Act 2006 as “any form of care for a child” including “education … and any other supervised activity.”

Childcare includes some ‘supervised’ provision for under 18 year olds. This may overlap with local authorities’ duties under section 507B of the Education Act 1996,to secure sufficient leisure activities for 13-19 year olds. Local authorities should regard childcare as any provision that is regular and reliable and provides children a safe place to be.

The following are specifically excluded from this definition:

  • education or activities provided by a school for a pupil during school hours, unless that pupil has not yet started Key Stage 1 (thereby including nursery and reception classes);
  • care provided for a child by a parent, step-parent or person with parental responsibility; or any relative; or foster parent (local authority or private); or
  • care provided by a children’s home, a care home, a hospital or a residential family centre, a young offenders’ institution, a secure training centre, or a secure care home within any of those establishments.

Early Years Provision - in the Childcare Act 2006 means childcare for a child aged from birth until the 31st August following the child’s 5th birthday.

Later years provision - means childcare for a child from the 1st September following the child’s5th birthday ending with such day as may be prescribed.

What is sufficient childcare? 2

Local authorities are under a duty to ensure that there is sufficient childcare provision in their areas for two main purposes under the Childcare Act 2006, the provision must be “sufficient to meet the requirements of parents in the local authority’s area who require childcare in order to enable them to:

  • take up, or remain in, work, or
  • undertake education or training which could reasonably be expected to assist them to obtain work"

This requirement is applicable to all children up to 1st September after they reach the age of 14. For disabled children (as defined by the DisabilityDiscrimination Act 1995), the requirement applies to children or young people until they reach the age of 18.

Different types of childcare services 3

There are a number of different types of childcare services in Bath and North East Somerset:

Childminders- people who are registered with OfSTED to care for children aged under 8 in their own home, for more than 2 hours per day.  Childminders can care for older children but the law does not require them to register for this. The hours they work vary according to the agreement made with the family. Childminders provide full time or part time day care for under 5's and before and/or after school and holiday care for school aged children. They can provide a wide range of activities including going to groups, such as parent and toddler groups and local toy libraries. Most childminders will provide meals and are willing to cater for special dietary requirements.

Nurseries - provide care and early years education for babies and children from birth to 5 years. They are usually open from 8am to 6pm most of the year. You can use nurseries for full or part time childcare. Nurseries give children the opportunity to take part in group activities and the opportunity to learn through play.  Children are usually placed in small groups with a key worker, (the worker responsible for that group of children) which lets them establish relationships with other children and staff members. Throughout the day children tend to follow a routine of play, meals, rest, etc. as similar to a home environment as possible.

Pre-schools/Playgroups - give young children the opportunity to learn and play in small groups, usually for two to three hours in the morning or afternoon during term time only.  Pre-schools and playgroups provide a range of activities which varies from group to group depending on the accommodation they use, (many have to pack up daily, whilst others are able to leave equipment set up). They all provide an opportunity for children to develop their social, creative, physical and imaginative skills. Due to the short hours of pre-schools and playgroups and their closure during school holidays, they aren't always an ideal childcare option for full-time working parents, unless they're used as part of a childcare package, e.g. with a childminder or nanny, who would be able to drop off the child and pick them up.

Out of school clubs - care for children aged between 4-16 (some cater for children from specific age groups within this range).  They operate from a variety of locations, including school premises, village halls and community centres.

What does the data say?

Childcare Sufficiency Assessment 2013 4

The Childcare Act 2006 requires local authorities to carry out and publish a sufficiency assessment of childcare in their area at least every 3 years. Local authorities carried out their first assessment in 2008. The report is prepared at least every three years with reviews taking place every six months.

Demand for childcare provision 5

There has been a steady increase in resident births during the last 12 years. This has had an impact on the demand for provision. In addition Bath and North East Somerset Council has always attracted more children from outside the Council area to attend providers, particularly in the 0 – 5 age range, than attend provision in neighbouring Council areas as a result of family working patterns and locations.

There has been a particular increase in demand in the Twerton area because of an increase in population over the past few years which may be due to the redevelopment of social housing, resulting in more families moving into Twerton.

Childcare provision 6

Table 1: Supply of childcare  - current providers in Bath and North East Somerset as at April 2013 7

table 1-Supply of childcare provisionin BANES

Table 2: Childcare places in Bath and North East Somerset – September 2013 8

Table_2- childcare places in banes-sep 2013

Most areas have a good supply of childcare provision with exception of Twerton,Radstock and Paulton Children’s Centre areas.

Table 3: Childcare places in Bath and North East Somerset by Ward - All childcare excluding holiday clubs - year to September 2013 9

Table 3 - childcare places in banes by ward -sep 2013

Average weekly childcare costs 10

Average weekly childcare costs in the South West compared to England’s regional average - 2012 - 2013: Nursery care of 25 hours for the under 2 year olds - £113.32 in the South West compared the England regional average of £108.51.

  • Nursery care of 25 hours for 2 year olds and over - £110.77 in the South West compared the England regional average of £106.52.
  • Childminder care of 25 hours for the under 2 year olds - £98.96 in the South West compared the England regional average of £98.98.
  • After school club care of 15 hours - £44.11 in the South West compared the England regional average of £49.71.
  • Childminder after school pick up - £57.41 in the South West compared the England regional average of £72.79

With the exception of a 4.1% decrease in the cost of Childminder after school pick up, between December 2011 and December 2012 childcare costs in the South West have increased by between 4.7 -6.1%.

The Family Information Service (FIS) 11

The Family Information Service (FIS) was developed to provide information, advice and assistance to parents and to ensure parents and prospective parents can access the full range of information they may need for their children right through to their 20th birthday.

A total of 562 people accessed the FIS by email, with 320 face to face and 1018 through their Freephone service.

 

Part of the work of the FIS is to provide a brokerage service to families, offering impartial information on childcare available in Bath and North East Somerset. For the period 1st April 2012 – 31st March 2013 the FIS responded to 1630 enquiries regarding childcare brokerage. A further 148 other professionals worked with families to secure suitable childcare.

 

Early Years Entitlement (EYE) 12

“The free entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds is at the heart of the Government’s vision for all children to have access to high quality early years provision that helps them reach their full potential. It offers universal free provision from the term following a child’s third birthday up until they reach compulsory school age, for every child, irrespective of background or family circumstances. From September 2010, the free entitlement equates to 15 hours per week, over a minimum 38 weeks of the year, with flexible access to meet parents’ needs.”

The EYE is a significant contribution towards childcare bills for parents with 3 and 4 year old children. It provides up to 570 hours a year free entitlement at Ofsted registered Private, Voluntary or Independent (PVI) and School nurseries until the child moves into reception.

Table 4: Early Years Entitlement provision in Bath and North East Somerset – 2010 and September 2013 13

Table 4 - early years entilement provision in banes 2010 and 2013

Two year old Early Years Entitlement 14

Two year old early years entitlement was introduced as a pilot in September 2009, with Bath and North East Somerset Council offering 50 places within the South West Bath area. This was expanded in September 2012 to 140 places across the whole of the Bath and North East Somerset area.

Table 5: Take up of two year old Early Years Entitlement by category between 1st April 2012 and 31st March 2013 15

 

Table 5 - take up of two year old early years entilement by category in banes 2012 and 2013.

Are we meeting the needs?

 

Ofsted outcomes 1st October 2010 – 31st March 2013 across Bath and North East Somerset 16

57 ‘Childcare on non-domestic premises’ were inspected

  • 11 were graded as Outstanding
  • 37 were graded as Good
  • 8 were graded as Satisfactory
  • 1 was graded as Inadequate

83 Childminders were inspected

  • 13 were graded as Outstanding
  • 50 were graded as Good
  • 19 were graded as Satisfactory
  • 1 was graded as Inadequate

Additionally 10 providers were assessed against the voluntary register – 9 met the requirements and 1 did not.

What can we realistically change?

Recommendations from the 2013 Childcare Sufficiency Assessment 17

1. Ensure sufficient 2 year old entitlement places

2. Ensure sufficient 3 and 4 year old entitlement places

3. Increase provision in areas of under supply

4. Management of the childcare market, and provision of business advice and support to providers

5. Continue to offer support to families, including take up of benefits

6. Continue to support new and existing provision

7. Expansion of places following housing development from capital receipts from Planning Obligations (section 106) developer contributions

8. Produce twice yearly updates of sufficiency data by children's centre areas