Official Statistics

Childcare and early years survey of parents: 2012 to 2013

Findings from the November 2012 to June 2013 survey in the childcare and early years survey of parents series.


Main text: SFR 06/2014

Main tables: SFR 06/2014

Additional tables: SFR 06/2014

Pre-release access list: SFR 06/2014

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This survey aims to provide:

  • up-to-date and accurate information on parents’ childcare arrangements

  • their views of particular childcare providers

  • childcare provision in general

The report describes in detail:

  • what childcare is used by different types of families

  • changes in take-up over the years

  • parents’ reasons for using or not using childcare and for choosing particular providers

  • the influence of childcare arrangements on mothers’ decisions about whether to go out to work

Main breakdowns are by:

  • age of child

  • types of providers

  • family socioeconomic classifications

  • region

  • levels of deprivation

Some time series allow comparisons to be made from 2004, although comparisons between 2011 to 2012 and 2012 to 2013 are more common.

The survey is entitled 2012 to 2013, as fieldwork took place between November 2012 and June 2013. The additional excel tables relate to the tables in the appendices of the main report.

Some findings from the survey:

  • 78% of all families in England with children aged 0 to 14 had used some form of childcare during their most recent term-time week - this equated to 4,194,000 families or 6,090,000 children

  • the majority of families (63%) had used formal childcare and early years provision, whereas 39% had used informal childcare (provided by friends and family)

  • formal childcare increased from 38% to 44% in the most deprived areas, rose from 48% to 54% in areas in the middle of the deprivation distribution, and fell from 67% to 60% in the least deprived areas

  • the majority of all parents (58%) rated the overall quality of local childcare provision as very or fairly good

  • 42% of parents felt the number of local childcare places was ‘about right’ (26% were unsure and 30% said there were not enough places)

  • the overall median weekly amount paid by families to childcare providers was £25 - this amount varied widely depending on the number of hours of childcare used and different types of provider

  • on perceptions of cost opinions were divided, 32% of parents rated the affordability of local childcare as very or fairly good, with 29% unsure and 39% saying it was very or fairly poor

  • almost half of parents (49%) said it was easy or very easy to meet their childcare costs with a substantial minority (27%) of families finding it difficult or very difficult to pay (33% said it was neither easy or difficult)

  • among parents who have not used any childcare in the past year, the main reason given was not the cost of childcare (13%) but that they would rather look after their children themselves (71%)

  • the proportion of mothers in employment increased from 60% in 2011 to 64% in 2012

Queries should be directed to:

Michael Dale


Telephone: 0207 340 8054

Published 30 January 2014