A third of parents fear losing their jobs if childcare clubs shut


Child going back to nursery holding parent or carer's hand

A third of parents fear losing their jobs if childcare clubs shut


New research reveals high number of parents with children aged 5-11 using childcare clubs would be unable to work, would need to cut hours or believe their career would suffer without wraparound childcare

The survey by Junior Adventures Group UK revealed that a worrying 31% believe they would be unable to do their job without wraparound childcare, 42% would need to cut their hours and almost one third believe their career would suffer. Some 91% believe the breakfast, after school and holiday care sector is an essential service, despite the fact the government has not deemed it as such. 

Pre-pandemic, the wraparound care sector provided support for almost three million children. However, with more parents working from home, furloughed or unemployed, demand for these services has dropped dramatically. As these clubs are entirely reliant on fees from parents to remain open, many have been operating at a loss and acquiring significant debt or have been forced to close permanently.

Even though the sector plays an essential role in caring for children outside of school hours, it has been “completely forgotten by the government and has received no direct financial support during the pandemic”, said a press release accompanying the research. Over 11,000 people have petitioned the government to save the sector and provide financial support as they have done for pubs and restaurants. If you wish to view or sign the petition, you can find it here.

Liliane Connell, a working parent in Berkshire, who uses childcare clubs for her three children said: “This would have a very significant impact on my ability to work. The school day is much shorter than my usual working day, so I would need to reduce my working hours.” Talking about the long-term impact of this on her career, she added: “The closure of wraparound childcare will set women back by generations as we give up work entirely or down skill from professional jobs with long working hours to something that can be done within school hours and within term time (because we won't be able to earn enough to put our children in holiday clubs). The idea is horrific.”
Call for urgent government support

Junior Adventures group UK, the largest provider of breakfast, after school and holiday care in the UK, representing Fit For Sport, Energy Kidz and Sherpa Kids England, has rallied the sector and a coalition of 250 providers called for urgent government support in the February Budget.

Renee Bowman, chief executive of Junior Adventures group UK said: “Our sector’s ability to provide essential care for children of key workers and millions of families across the country is at real and imminent risk. The government must not allow our sector to collapse, potentially leaving more than three million working parents without childcare, in some cases, placing their jobs in jeopardy. We need the government to step in now to ensure we can continue providing our vital services.”

The collapse of the sector would leave children without their much-loved clubs that support learning and development, social skills, mental health and sporting activity which reduces childhood obesity, she said. Among disadvantaged children, those who attend after school clubs fare better than their peers who do not take part in such groups. They achieve on average, a 2- point higher total score in their KS2 assessments in English, maths and science at the end of primary school.

Children’s commissioner, Anne Longfield OBE said: “Wraparound and holiday childcare helps parents work, helps children socialise and stay active and is proven to boost learning and development. This is particularly the case for vulnerable children, who are among the main beneficiaries of wraparound childcare services.
Impact on Women

The impact of the pandemic on women and their careers has also been highlighted in the research. A quarter of men believe they would need to cut back their working hours if they no longer had access to childcare clubs, a figure which rises sharply to 39% for women. Similarly, 20% of men believe the collapse of the sector would mean their career would suffer, compared with almost one third of women. Fifteen per cent of women also believe their mental health would suffer.

Sian Elliott, women’s equality policy officer, Equality and Strategy Department, Trades Union Congress (TUC), said: “Wraparound childcare is a vital and essential part of the infrastructure that enables parents, particularly mums, to maintain employment. Without it many women are forced to reduce their hours at work, losing vital income, or forced out of work altogether.”
Impact on children

The research found that 21% of respondents also believe their child’s development would suffer.

Dan Paskins, director of UK impact at Save the Children UK, said: “Wraparound and holiday childcare is of immeasurable value to children, especially those that are vulnerable. Through providing access to activity, learning, and social interaction, these services are an essential cog in the development of children across the nation. This, coupled with the fact they offer parents’ crucial childcare, means that they will be key to both helping children weather the storm of the pandemic and getting Britain on the road to economic recovery. The fact the sector is on the brink of collapse is of severe concern. Ministers must urgently make interventions to save services before it is too late and to redress the fact that wraparound and holiday care has fallen between gaps in government support.”   


Research conducted by YouGov among 1,000 UK parents in February 2021. 


About Junior Adventures Group UK

Junior Adventures Group UK is the leading provider of children’s wraparound care in the UK and forms part of the Junior Adventures Group global brand. It delivers outside school hours care (OSHC) provisions to thousands of children every day via its specialist brands, Fit for Sport, Energy Kidz and Sherpa Kids England. With an emphasis on play, movement and active learning, its established brands deliver nationwide before and aftercare school care, holiday programmes and activity clubs to local communities. It delivers the highest quality care in the market, which is reinforced by industry-leading expertise and frameworks that are underpinned by over 60 years of experience in the childcare and activities sectors.  https://junioradventuresgroup.co.uk