The Treasury Is Considering A ‘Huge Expansion’ Of Free Childcare In England

What could the proposed extra funding from nine months mean for your family?

more free childcare

by Rhiannon Evans |
Updated on

The Treasury is reportedly considering a proposal which could expand free childcare to one and- two-year-olds in England.

The current 30-hours-per-week offering kicks in a term after a child turns three. But a proposal costing billions of pounds has been submitted by Department for Education officials which would expand that to start at nine months.

The story appeared in this weekend’s Guardian. The plans have reportedly been submitted after the Treasury asked other departments to feed in to how to get more people into employment, including young people, new parents and recently retired.

Another option has been reportedly mooted, which could offer a smaller number of hours for two-year-olds, one that would mean 10 free hours for disadvantaged one-year-olds and changing ratios for childcare providers.

Plans to change ratios to allow adults to look after more children have been repeatedly criticized by most childcare campaigners.

Childcare campaigners Pregnant Then Screwed tweetedover the weekend that there are drawbacks to the proposal.

‘Pleased to hear the Gov is taking the childcare crisis seriously,’ they Tweeted. ‘But the devil is in the detail. Simply expanding the "free hours" is not the solution - the sector is in such a mess that if you increase demand without increasing supply, it will fall over.’

Alongside Grazia’s parenting channel The Juggle, Pregnant Then Screwed have been campaigning for an inquiry into all elements of childcare – from how much parents pay, to structural issues and government funding and how much childcare workers are paid.

It was last month announced that the Education Select Committee has finally committed to a review of our childcare and early years sector in England.

The Guardian’s story also claimed that expansion of free childcare was the most costly idea on the table and that Chancellor Jeremy Hunt was ‘concerned about the cost’ and unlikely to approve such an offering.

Pace is gathering though, to make changes within the childcare sector, with more and more groups realising the huge economic importance of a system that works for parents.

The Confederation of British Industry recently called for billions to be spent on childcare.

And the Labour party have begun to hint at what their offering to parents could be at the next election.

Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson recently said their offering would work from the end of parental leave to the end of Primary School and could include things like universal free breakfast clubs.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us