Skip Navigation

Childcare costs surveys

Family and Childcare Trust (formally Daycare Trust) publish annual childcare costs surveys in January/February (nursery, childminder and out-of-school childcare costs) and July (holiday childcare costs).

A summary of the findings of the Family and Childcare Trust childcare costs and holiday childcare costs surveys is given here. You can purchase the full reports from previous years in our online shop

Holiday childcare costs in 2013

The Family and Childcare Trust’s Holiday Childcare Costs Survey 2013, launched on Monday 15 July, reveals the average cost of childcare during the school holidays has broken the £100 per week threshold, for the first time, across all of Britain:

  • The average cost of 1 week’s holiday childcare in Britain is now £109.23.
  • For most parents living in England, prices have risen an average of 9.2 per cent since last year.
  • Only 30 per cent of English local authorities, and 16 per cent of Welsh local authorities, can provide sufficient holiday childcare for working parents.

During the school holidays, schools and school-based nurseries are closed and working parents have to find childcare during the day. Not all parents can rely on shift parenting or informal childcare such as grandparents and friends. Some who work with temporary contracts will have insufficient annual leave entitlement, and others may be unable to rely on the support of a partner. For these working parents, affordable formal childcare during the school holidays is essential.

The Family and Childcare Trust is concerned that a combination of high prices and inaccessibility of holiday childcare for many working parents will lead to more children than ever being left ‘home alone’ during the summer break.

Parents in England and Wales who live in rural areas, have older children, or disabled children face even greater difficulty finding holiday cover, with availability in some areas having got worse over the last four years, despite a legal duty on local authorities to provide sufficient childcare.

For the 1 in 5parents who use formal holiday childcare in Britain today, the Family and Childcare Trust’s report shows that to pay for childcare for two children over four weeks of the summer holiday, working parents will have to find almost £850, a cost beyond the reach of many modest- to- low income families.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Most parents use childcare run by private, voluntary and independent sector providers.
  • The average cost of one week’s holiday childcare in Britain is now £109.23, breaking the £100 threshold for the first time.
  • Only 30 per cent of English local authorities, and 16 per cent of Welsh local authorities, can provide sufficient holiday childcare for working parents. This is despite the obligation of local authorities in England and Wales, under the Childcare Act 2006, to ensure there is sufficient childcare for working parents.
  • Almost half of Scottish local authorities surveyed were unable to confirm supply and demand in their local area. There is no legal obligation for local authorities in Scotland to assess if they have sufficient childcare and this lack of knowledge inhibits their ability to intervene in the holiday childcare market.
  • Six local authorities reported an average cost of holiday childcare exceeding £175, this being the maximum amount of help a parent on a low income can claim through Working Tax Credit support for childcare costs, leaving many parents out of pocket.
  • Parents living in the East of England pay more than anywhere else in Britain at an average of £129.78 per week. The most expensive holiday childcare project – at a cost of £530 per week – was also in the East of England.
  • There are significant differences in costs within regions and nations, and within local authorities, caused by different levels of local authority subsidy, ownership patterns, levels of supply and market failure.
  • Older children are hardest hit with cuts to youth services reducing the availability of de facto holiday childcare, such as sports and cultural activities, open access play schemes and youth clubs.
  • The report is sponsored by Computershare Voucher Services.

Download the Holiday Childcare Costs Survey 2013

Press release about Holiday Childcare Costs Survey 2013

Childcare costs in 2013

Daycare Trust and the Family and Parenting Institute’s Childcare Costs Survey 2013, compiled from figures submitted by Family Information Services, shows nursery, childminder and after-school club costs all rising at more than 6 per cent ,more than double the inflation rate (2.7 per cent).

Increases across the country put this everyday necessity into the luxury bracket. A place at Britain’s costliest nursery this year (£42,000) costs 25 per cent more than a place at a top public school such as Charterhouse (£30,574 a year).

The survey spotlights a particular problem with care for school-age children. Here, parents pay nearly £4,000 for two children to be looked after before and after the school day. A typical family holiday in Florida, including flights, costs under £3,000.

These rampant price rises come in a year when, in recession-hit Britain, average wages have stagnated. The position is more acute for families on lower incomes, who have already been hit by a 10 per cent drop in support for childcare through the tax credit system and face tax credit rises pegged well below inflation at 1per cent. 

Finding affordable, high-quality childcare, although a necessity for most parents, has long been a problem for families in Britain. Daycare Trust and the Family and Parenting Institute’s survey shows how much worse things have become. A nursery place now costs 77 per cent more in real terms than it did in 2003, but earnings have stayed still. In 2003, average median earnings in real terms were £11.24 an hour in 2003, and in 2012 they were £11.21.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • The average nursery cost for a child under 2 has risen by 4.2 per cent to £106.38 per week for a part-time place (25 hours). A full-time place costs £11,000 for a year. Costs for over-2s have gone up even more – by 6.6 per cent to an average of £103.96 per week for a part-time place.
  • Childminder costs in Britain have increased by 5.9 per cent for a child under 2, to £98.15 and 5.2 per cent, to £96.67 for a child aged 2 and over.
  • The steepest cost hikes are seen in childcare for older children – with 15 hours a week at an after-school club costing £49.67, a rise of 9 per cent. For a family with two children, care in term time, before and after school, costs nearly £4,000 a year.
  • As well as having the fastest-rising costs, childcare around the school day is also the hardest to find, with under a third of local authorities (31per cent) reporting that they provide sufficient childcare for this group.  

Download Childcare Costs Survey 2013

Press Release about Daycare Trust's Childcare costs survey 2013

Childcare costs in 2012

Summary of the Childcare costs survey 2012 (January 2012)

Summary of the Holiday childcare costs survey 2012 (July 2012)

Childcare costs in 2011

Summary of the Childcare costs survey 2011 (January 2011)

Summary of the Holiday childcare costs survey 2011 (July 2011)

Childcare costs in 2010

Summary of the Childcare costs survey 2010 (January 2010)

Summary of the Holiday childcare costs survey 2010 (July 2010) 

Childcare costs in 2009 

Childcare costs survey (January 2009)

Summary of the Holiday childare costs survey (July 2009)

Childcare costs in 2008

Childcare costs survey (January 2008)

Holiday childcare costs survey (July 2008)

Childcare costs in 2007

Childcare costs survey (January 2007)

Holiday childcare costs survey (July 2007)