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Increasing the hours of free early learning and child care provision - An exploratory analysis of parents’ views on the proposed increase to 1140 hours per year

Increasing the hours of free early learning and child care provision - An exploratory analysis of parents’ views on the proposed increase to 1140 hours per year

Thursday, December 24, 2015

ISBN: 9781785449338

This report provides the analysis of an exploratory survey conducted by Education Analytical Services within the Scottish Government on the views of 4485 parents of 3 and 4 year olds on the proposed increase, by 2020, of free early learning and child care hours.

Executive Summary

Main findings

Overall, 86.4% of parents reported that they currently used the free child care entitlement.

The most often cited reasons for using child care was for their child’s educational development, so that the parent could work, and so their child could interact with other children.

The most commonly reported barriers to using the current child care entitlement was that they would still require some private child care to cover their needs. This was closely followed by reports of lack of availability of places within their area.

The majority of parents also stated that they would like to be able to access more child care hours, and that they would like more choice in the type of child care available to them.

Overall, the majority of parents reported that they found it difficult to afford the child care they need, with only one in five disagreeing that this was the case.

When informed that the Scottish Government were proposing to increase the number of hours of free entitlement, the majority of parents stated that they would use the additional hours, fewer than 1 in 6 stated that they would not use all of the hours offered.

The most frequently preferred option of extended child care entitlement was for year round early learning and child care, rather than only during school term time.

The majority of parents would like to be able to access more child care hours so that they could work, train, or study. Parents in non-working households were more likely to state that they would use the additional hours to work, train or study, while parents in 2 parent working households were more likely to say that their work pattern would not change.