Exclusive: underfunding leaves childminders struggling to earn minimum wage

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Just one in ten childminders are planning on offering the free 30 hours to parents, exclusive research carried out by Nursery World's Nursery Management supplement suggests.


Childminder Sarah Neville of Knutsford Childminding says that childminders based in Cheshire are losing a pound an hour on funded places

The survey of 430 childminders reveals the extent to which many are already experiencing underfunding by offering the 15-hour entitlement for three and four-year-olds.

Eighty-four per cent of childminders, both those currently offering the funded hours and those who don't, said that offering the funded places means that they are unable to pay themselves the minimum wage for over-21s of £6.50 an hour.

Because of this, 88 per cent were either 'not sure' about taking, or 'not' going to take threes and fours when the 30-hour offer comes in. The findings cast doubt on the viability of plans to double free childcare for working parents.

Aside from the ongoing underfunding crisis for nurseries, many settings say they do not have the capacity to expand their premises to offer more hours.

Research from head teachers' union NAHT has also revealed that most primary schools are already subsidising free nursery places from the rest of their budget and fear that doubling the entitlement will force them to cut pupil numbers (see page 11).

The latest findings from the longitudinal Study of Early Education and Development, which is tracking 6,000 children from age two to the end of Key Stage 1, flags the quality provided by childminders.

  • See the full childminder survey results in Nursery Management, free with this week's issue of Nursery World.
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