This study explored how successful local authorities have been in securing the sustainability of childcare places in disadvantaged areas.
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Childcare providers in disadvantaged areas are more susceptible to financial difficulties, because of fewer parents using childcare. As a result they are more financially vulnerable than providers in other more affluent areas. Childcare providers in disadvantaged areas face challenges in terms of remaining sustainable and improving quality.
Despite the apparent surplus of childcare places, parents in disadvantaged families are more likely to report a lack of places at local providers as an obstacle to taking up childcare. This perception is one of the reasons that the children who the government most wants to benefit from childcare and early education (Families in the Foundation Years, DfE and Child Poverty Strategy) are currently least likely to access early education.
As part of the Fairness Premium announced by the coalition government, from September 2013, the least advantaged two-year-olds will be entitled to 15 hours of free early education. For this policy to be successful there will need to be enough places available.
The purpose of this project was to: explore how successful local authorities feel that they have been in securing the sustainability of childcare places in disadvantaged areas; examine the challenges local authorities and childcare providers face in providing sustainable childcare, and what factors explain sustainable provision of places or otherwise and explore if more support is needed for local authorities to ensure there are.