Monday, 14 October 2013

A Parent's Nightmare: UK Childcare

Here's my honest opinion; the British childcare system sucks
The UK has one of the most expensive childcare systems in the world, 
but, strangely enough, not one of the best. 

A Mum in London

Fact A

There is no free childcare at all before the age of 3. 

And then, you're only entitled to 15 hours per week, 
which is not viable if you want to work and do the school run too. 

You're practically left with two options: 

1) Return to work and sacrifice a large chunk of your salary on childcare. 
This option requires excellent juggling and logistical skills.

3) Stay at home with the kids and sacrifice your career dreams. 
This option requires self-denial and the patience of a Buddha.

Fact B

Childcare costs in the UK are horridly expensive. 

In fact, they are so expensive
that usually it makes more sense not to work. 

In SW London full time childcare for one child 
is around ₤1700 per month. 

Simple maths: you and your partner should be mini-Croesus 
(I do not dare think how single parents cope).

Fact C

One would assume that when one pays a small fortune, 
they get the best

Wrong again. 

The majority of the nurseries I visited 
were way below the standards I expected. 

Let me explain myself: 

Finding bins full of rubbish in the classroom of an "outstanding" nursery 
is not my definition of outstanding. 

Separating a windowless and cold church-hall in two with boxes 
is not my definition of quality childcare. 

Seeing middle-aged ladies sitting bored-to-death supervising toddlers 
is not my definition of quality education.

I'm no expert but shouldn't it be 
simple as ABC that...

a) The sooner children start socialising 
and being in a learning environment
the better for their learning and social abilities. 

b) Access to work should be made easier for parents, 
as not being able to return to work 
because of soaring childcare costs
 is affecting families financially and psychologically. 

c) Unsocial behaviour and learning disabilities 
cost society and the government much more in the long run
than providing free education. 

Plus, having a big portion of your active and highly educated workforce 
sitting on the bench costs the economy way more 
than taking measures to reduce childcare costs.

Read more about A Comparison of International Childcare Systems, by the Department for Education
Read more about Childcare Costs in the UK, by the Daycare Trust


  1. I couldn't agree more. I believe childcare and education both need a serious overhaul in the UK. We should at countries where these are successful and adopt their approach.

    Louisa @ My Family & Abruzzo

  2. That would be great, but I doubt the persons in charge see it that way. It's just numbers and cold facts for most of them, I'm afraid.

  3. This was a brutal wake up call! I totally understand why nearly ALL single mothers are unemployed now, they can't work! It It enrages me to think that a woman's choice to stay home with her children is being made for her. The only childcare I currently need is for after school, so I'm lucky in that way ... but I'm moving abroad soon.... I'm sorry to hear that the child care is so poor as well, children need socialization and education... a fun and well rounded educational experience. I agree with all your points and I wish you well in your career and finding care!!
    Much love,
    Tammy xx

  4. Autch, that sounds really bad. Have you thought about a possibility of getting an au pair girl (/boy)?

    greetings from Lima,


    1. Hi, Anna! Thanks for suggesting it, but fortunately we found a nice nursery (clean with nice staff)! Hope all is well in Lima :)

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  6. Great post, you are always put fantastic point in your post , I can say this is a very excellent website.. Thanks for it..


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