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Childcare in England falling behind, charity warns

  • April 16, 2024
  • 2 min read
Childcare in England falling behind, charity warns

England’s childcare system is failing and falling behind much of the world, a UK charity for gender equality and women’s rights has warned. The Fawcett Society said that it is failing on several fronts, affordability, quality, and levels of public spending.

It looked at early childhood education and care (ECEC) provisions in Australia, Canada, Estonia, France, and Ireland, countries that have recently or begun a government-led transformation in this sector, finding England’s to fall short in both ambition and delivery.  

The findings echo various warnings on the state of childcare in the country, as surveys find that a third of parents with young children struggle to afford childcare, while nurseries warn that government plans for free childcare are undeliverable. As many as a quarter of mothers with young children have left their jobs due to the challenges in balancing work and their children.

The most recent changes to the childcare system in England was an expansion of free hours, which came into effect this month. The Fawcett Society said that while this was welcome for some families, the narrow focus of the expansion would fail to help those who are disadvantaged and not properly address the wider issues with the system. It argues in the report that the government should offer free “universal” hours of ECEC for all children from the end of parental leave until school age.

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