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Extra funding for out-of-school childcare

Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister, Lesley Griffiths, has announced £400,000 to provide out-of-school childcare for families across Wales.

The funding, which the Welsh Government says is on top of £2.3 million already provided, is aimed at gaps in childcare provision across Wales.

Projects set to get extra funding include childcare centres in Caerphilly and Conwy which will provide play workshops for local children.

Providing quality childcare and improving parents’ access to it is one of my top priorities. Childcare facilities are not just simply a place to go while parents are at work, they are also about improving the lives of children, especially those from our deprived communities.

Childcare not only plays a central role in improving children’s well-being and reducing inequalities, it is also vital to ensuring parents are able to access employment and training opportunities.

– Lesley Griffiths AM, Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister

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Holiday childcare in Wales: We want your views

According to research by the Family and Childcare Trust almost a fifth of parents in Wales had to call in sick last year, in order to manage childcare during the summer holidays.

A number of organisations are calling for childcare to be more affordable Credit: PA

We want to hear your views on this, and we'll feature some of the best on our website. You can get in touch in the following ways:

  • Email: wales@itv.com
  • Facebook: search ITVWales
  • Twitter: @ITVWales

Charity: Families struggling with costs of childcare

A lack of holiday childcare means around a fifth of Welsh workers will call in sick to look after their children over the summer break, according research by the Family and Childcare Trust and Netmums.

The Chief Executive of Children in Wales, Catriona Williams, says families are under a lot of pressure due to the rising costs of childcare and they're having to rely on family members to look after their children.

Parents forced to call in sick during school holidays

Holiday childcare costs in Wales has increased by 2% in the last year. Credit: PA

Almost a fifth of parents in Wales had to call in sick last year, in order to manage childcare during the summer holidays.

That's according to new research by the Family and Childcare Trust, and Netmums. Both are calling for more affordable childcare to be made available.

Their research also found a further 12% of parents had been forced to give up their jobs entirely, causing the Welsh economy to miss out on nearly 50,000 working days every year.

"Most parents have no choice but to work, and should not have to take sick days to manage childcare.

"This is not the way to operate a modern economy, and this is why we are calling on our employers and head teachers to help parents manage the school holidays, and on government for a new childcare strategy that properly represents the realities working families face today."

– Anand Shukla, Family and Childcare Trust

Childcare costs in Wales are more than a mortgage

Increases in childcare now mean costs can be over £7,000 a year in Wales. Credit: PA

Part-time childcare costs for a family of two children have overtaken the average UK mortgage bill by 4.7 per cent, according to new research.

The report by the Family and Childcare Trust shows that in Wales, where average mortgage costs are £5,252 per year, part-time childcare costs are 36 per cent higher at £7,139 per year. Full-time childcare would cost £10,760 which is 105 per cent more than the average mortgage in Wales.

Parents in Wales also face the worst gaps in provision, an issue that has not improved over the last five years. Only 11 per cent of local authorities had enough childcare for 5-11 year olds, compared with 35 per cent in England. No local authority had enough childcare in rural areas.

The Family and Childcare Trust believes governments should:

• Extend free early education to all two year olds.

• Make better use of school premises to provide flexible childcare provision.

• Uprate Working Tax Credits to account for rising childcare costs.

• Effectively enforce the duty on local authorities to provide sufficient childcare.

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Welsh Conservatives announce childcare inquiry

Opposition leader Andrew RT Davies will use his conference speech in Swansea to announce that he's setting up a commission to look at ways of providing what he calls 'proper, affordable childcare.' He's appointed Shadow Education Minister Angela Burns to head the commission. He'll tell delegates:

I want parents across Wales to look at the Welsh Conservatives and see a party that “gets it” and is doing something about it.

I want young people across Wales to look at the Welsh Conservatives as a party leading the way for aspiration.

So today, I’m pleased to announce that my Shadow Minister for Education, Angela Burns has set up a Commission to look at how we can provide proper, affordable childcare.

Following on from some of the great work already undertaken by the UK Government in this field, Angela will work with professionals from representational organisations and business to see how we can help parents across Wales to be as aspirational for themselves as they are for their children.

Engagement in real policy development is the only way we can sell ourselves as the party that ‘gets it.'

– Andrew RT Davies, leader of the Opposition

Counting the cost of childcare

A Barry nursery owner is calling for childcare staffing regulations to be relaxed.

Abeer Bafiqih runs the Daisy Day Nursery in Barry and Cardiff looking after children up five years old. She believes regulations around staffing levels could be relaxed.

She said: "We face the same costs as all other business such as rates; our salaries are probably higher because we are so labour intensive, because of the legislation around ratios.

"If we had maybe more children per adult maybe in the older age ranges, that would lower our salaries costs and that in turn would impact on the fees we charge."

Strict guidelines govern the way a childcare business is run and the number of staff needed. For children under 2 there has to be 1 adult to 3 children, youngsters between 2 and 3 need 1 adult to 4 children and children aged 3 to 8 need one adult to every 8 children.

The Children's Commission is currently looking at relaxing the restrictions on the ratio of staff to children in England, but the Welsh Government say they have no plans for change.

Gill Rutter, of the Daycare Trust said: "We think that changing the ratios risks compromising safety. It also may not save parents any money in the long term. Why should nurseries, why should child minders pass on those savings to parents if they change the ratios."

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