Affordability: College care underfunded

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The funding allocated to provide childcare for student parents in further education is not enough for colleges to support them, a Daycare Trust report has found.

Childcare for adult learners in higher education, produced by theDaycare Trust and the Nuffield Foundation, examines the childcaresupport and funding offered to students aged over 20 in the UK. TheTrust surveyed colleges in Nottinghamshire and London, interviewed staffand monitored calls to their information line.

Joint chief executive of the Daycare Trust, Emma Knights, said, 'Themajority of colleges reported that there is more need than they havefunding for. A lot of colleges subsidise adult learners' childcare withother funding, but this eats into students' other needs, like travel andaccommodation.'

Concerns are raised about Learner Support Funds (LSF), which hasdistributed 32.7m for childcare support in 2007/08.

'One of the big issues was timing,' said Ms Knights. 'A lot of studentsdo not have access to funding until the first day of term, so it is verydifficult for them to organise a place for their child before termstarts.'

Deposits for places are also not included in the LSF grants. The reportargues that students need more support from colleges to secure a nurseryplace.

Colleges said that on-site nurseries also needed more governmentsupport.

'A number of colleges were subsidising their nurseries to significantsums of money, and they didn't know if that would or could continue,'said Ms Knights. 'There was also a call for a change in monitoring ofthe take-up of courses in relation to childcare so that we know how manypeople are unable to study because of a lack of childcare.'

FURTHER INFORMATION

To download the report visit www.daycaretrust.org.uk.

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