Parents in Scotland are urged to seek out the true cost of childminding, as Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA) raises significant concerns about the reliability of a recent childcare report.
According to a recent survey from SCMA, the average cost of a childminder in Scotland is £4.24 per hour, which is significantly lower than the claims stated in a briefing published this week by Family and Childcare Trust (FACT).
The rising cost of childcare is something we know affects families and is always a high-profile topic for debate. The results from SCMA research show that childminders not only provide a quality, flexible childcare services – but also that these services can be a more affordable option for many parents.
The 'Childcare Survey 2018' report from FACT collects data from across the UK and refers to information held by local authorities. However, SCMA believes this information is not always reliable when it comes to looking specifically at childminders in Scotland, as very few local authorities in the country have direct affiliations with the childminding services within their communities.
SCMA collects information directly from childminders and has more than 4,500 members across Scotland. The evidence compiled shows the average cost of a childminder in Scotland for a 25-hour-week is £106. However, comparing this directly to the statistics from the FACT survey - which states £129 for a 25-hour-week - the figures appear to misrepresent the true cost of childminding in Scotland.
Maggie Simpson, Chief Executive of SCMA, said: “I acknowledge that the cost of childcare can be a burden for parents. However, as our research suggests, the average cost of a childminder can be a more affordable option for many parents.
“As well as being cost effective, childminders have also been found to be graded on a par or higher than many other daycare settings, including nurseries, in terms of quality of care according to the Care Inspectorate. Quality of care is the measure that matters, and most parents would agree that they want a childcare solution that provides high-quality care, which is affordable and flexible to meet their needs.”
“Welcome investment in funded Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) from the Scottish Government aims to help to reduce the burden of childcare costs for many families, whilst ensuring high-quality, flexible care for children.
“Ahead of the expansion of funded ELC and the introduction of 'Funding Follows the Child' we must continue to ensure that childminding services are included as partner providers to enable families across Scotland to choose the best option for their own circumstances.
“Childminders can offer a 'blended childcare' approach, which allows children to benefit from smaller groups and a home-based nurturing environment, whilst also offering more affordable wrap-around high-quality care.”