NWC’s policy team have pursued this campaign by running in-depth focus groups with local mothers and driving forward its policy recommendations in collaboration with Nottingham City Council.
We recently drafted evidence for The Education Committee’s inquiry into support for childcare and the early years, based on a survey, interviews, and two focus groups with women’s organisations within the city: Heya in Nottingham, the only group supporting Arabic women in Nottinghamshire, and Nottingham Women’s Muslim Network.
The Education Committee launched an inquiry into support for childcare and the early years in early 2023. The inquiry will examine how easy to navigate the current childcare system is for parents and carers, and whether current childcare entitlements are providing families with affordable and flexible childcare. The Committee will assess the effectiveness of the different funding entitlements, including those funded by the Department for Education, the Tax-Free Childcare scheme and support for childcare from the benefits and tax credit system.
Our evidence submission presents information from a survey, one interview and focus groups conducted by Nottingham Women’s Centre in September 2022 for women within the city who have caring responsibility for a child or children. 75 responses were received for this survey and 35 women attended the focus groups (total of 111 women).
Our research findings revealed the following:
- 61.3% women say the costs of childcare affects the number of hours they work 72% of women say they have either left their job or reduced their hours because of childcare responsibility
- 34.7% need childcare during non-standard hours
- 53% of women reported that the pandemic has increased the negative impacts of
- unaffordable childcare
- 25% of women said they have been affected by redundancy/furlough because of childcare issues
To tackle the current unaffordability of childcare and support for early years, it is important for the government to consider:
- Earlier funding for children to ensure motivation back to work after maternity leave
- Better flexibility and emergency childcare options
- Explore community-based childcare particularly for women in socio-economically deprived areas who suffer several and multiple disadvantages (SMD)