Childcare in families with ten-month-old children

New findings from the Growing Up in Scotland study (GUS)

Around of half of families (52%) regularly use childcare for their child aged ten months. This proportion has decreased from 60% over the last six years. Much of this decrease is explained by improved maternity leave entitlement and by women taking longer periods of maternity leave.  This is one of the key findings from a new report from GUS which looks at childcare for babies at age ten months in over 6,000 Scottish families.

The report considers childcare arrangements, including types of provider and number of hours, alongside issues of cost and perceptions of accessibility and availability of childcare. Over 6,000 families, with babies born during 2010/11 (GUS birth cohort 2), took part. The report also compares results, where possible, with the previous birth cohort, born six years earlier in 2004/05.

Other key findings include:

  • Use of childcare is more common in families where the child's mother works part-time, amongst higher income groups, in more affluent areas, in urban areas and amongst families of white ethnic origin.
  • The majority of families using childcare (64%) use a single provider for their child aged ten months. A further 30% use two childcare providers, while 5% use three separate providers.
  • The child's grandparents are the most common type of childcare, accounting for 69% of those using childcare. 28% use a nursery. 18% use 'other' informal childcare provided by family and/or friends and 10% use a childminder. This pattern has been consistent over the past six years.
  • Use of nurseries was more common amongst older mothers, couple families and those living in the least deprived areas.
  • Lone mothers, families where mothers work part-time and those living in more deprived areas are more likely to use informal childcare provided by family or friends.
  • Two in five families using childcare (41%) pay for childcare.
  • The average weekly cost of childcare in 2011/12 was £88, an increase of £12 a week (in real terms) since 2005/06.
  • Most parents said they found it easy or fairly easy to arrange suitable childcare for their child. However, 14% said that it had been difficult or very difficult. Families with higher incomes were more likely than others to say that they had found childcare easy to arrange. Of those who found it difficult, the most common reason was lack of availability.
  • 42% of parents said that they did not have much choice in making childcare arrangements while 13% said they had no choice at all.

The full report (chapter) and research findings summary by Paul Bradshaw of ScotCen Social Research is at: www.gov.scot/Publications/2013/02/3280

For more information about GUS see growingupinscotland.org.uk or contact lesley.kelly@ed.ac.uk

GUS is funded by the Scottish Government.