Alt text: Man holding up a placard at the March of the Mummies protest

We need you to respond to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Childcare

Section One: Childcare Entitlements  

1. How affordable and easy to understand is the current provision of childcare in England and what steps, if any, could be taken to improve it, especially in relation to families living within the most deprived areas in England? 

  • Include how the cost of childcare affects you. Have you gotten into debt? Have you had to use a foodbank? Have you or your partner had to take a lower paying job or had to leave your job altogether? Have you had to move house? Are you unable to use formal childcare provision due to cost or availability? 
  • If you are a Universal Credit claimant, has paying for childcare upfront prevented you from accessing childcare and returning to the workplace?
  • Do you use tax free childcare? If not, why? If yes, what would you like to change?
  • Do you have issues accessing the 30 hours ‘free’ scheme either because you are not eligible or because it is too complicated? 
  • In your response, if you are a low income earner and/or live in an area of the UK classed as an area of deprivation, please do include this. 


2. Are the current entitlements providing parents/carers with sufficient childcare, and to what extent are childcare costs affecting parents/carers from returning to work full-time?

  • Include how childcare costs, including any subsidies you are entitled to, have affected your ability to work. Can you not return to your job? Have you had to reduce your hours?
  • The 30 hours free scheme does not start until the term after your child turns three. How did this impact your ability to work the hours you wanted to? 
  • Do you feel like the 30 hours free scheme provides enough financial assistance for you to be able to work the hours you want to?
  • Does your nursery charge top up fees for the 30 hours free scheme (something many need to do to survive). How does this impact you?
  • If you are a Universal Credit claimant, has having to pay for childcare upfront prevented you from returning to the workplace?
  • Do you use tax free childcare? If not, why? If yes, what would you like to change?
  • Did the fact that the cost of childcare is at its highest when returning to work from maternity leave have an impact on the hours you work or whether you remained in work? 
  • You might want to mention that it is not just cost that is the issue, but also availability.
  • Do you use, or would you like to use, after school and/or breakfast clubs – what challenges have you had with this either in terms of availability or cost?

3. Whether the current Tax-Free Childcare scheme, and support for childcare from the benefits and tax credit system, is working effectively or whether these subsidies could be better used within other childcare subsidies 

  • Do you believe the current system enables you to take up all of the childcare that you need?
  • Do you believe the Government should do more to subsidise childcare from the point that parental leave ends? 
  • Do you feel that the tax free childcare system needs reform? Perhaps you find it too complicated to use? Perhaps you think the amount of discount available should have increased as the cost of childcare increases. 
  • Can you access the 15 hours of ‘free’ childcare for 2 year olds? If so, do you think this is working? 
  • Are you a student who is unable to access any subsidy? How does this impact you? 


Section Two: Early years provision 

4. What challenges do early years providers face in terms of workforce, including recruiting, and retaining qualified staff, and the barriers faced by individuals joining the profession? To what extent has the Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated workforce challenges?  

  • Has a setting that your child attends had trouble recruiting staff. Has your nursery had to close at short notice for full days due to a lack of staff?
  • Has your childs keyworker left? Do you know why?
  • Has your local provider closed? Are you struggling to find another provider?


5. Whether the Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) system is meeting the needs of pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN), and the improvements that could be made to better support young children with SEN within early years provisions 

  • Do you have a child with SEN? Do you feel that you are able to access high quality and affordable childcare for your child? What are the specific challenges that you encounter? 

6. To what extent does the early years system adequately prepare young children for their transition into primary education, particularly children from disadvantaged backgrounds

  • You could make a note here about how important it is that staff are valued by paying them better and giving them opportunities for progression as this has an impact on your child’s education. 


7. The extent to which the reduction of Sure Start Children’s Centres has affected children and families, particularly children from disadvantaged backgrounds, and the role of Family Hubs

  • You could make a note here if you were able to use a Sure Start Centre with an older child but felt you missed out with a later child.



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