Childcare Sufficiency Assessment

Key Findings

Key findings from demographics research

  • Falling population trends: the live birth rate has remained fairly flat in Pembrokeshire from 1,040 in 2018 to 1,052 in 2019, and 1,025 in 2020. In addition, the number of children aged 0-18 is expected to decline between 2023-2026 from 25,263 to 24,832. These indicators could suggest that demand for childcare may decline slightly in Pembrokeshire in the coming years. The most recent Nomis data shows that the population of 0-4 years olds resident in Pembrokeshire has fallen in recent years, as has the number for children in the same group across Wales and the wider United Kingdom. This suggests that the fall in number from children in this age group in Pembrokeshire is not uncommon, as a similar pattern is repeated on a nationwide level up to mid-2020
  • Differences in age ranges: there are far more children aged 3-4 who are both resident in Pembrokeshire and accessing childcare in the county than children from other age groups, such as children aged 0-2. Demand for childcare in Pembrokeshire is therefore currently seen more in some age groups than others. Equally, some Upper Layer Super Output Areas (USOAs) (composed of Pembrokeshire’s 60 wards, see Appendix, Table 1), are larger than others in terms of the child population, i.e., Pembrokeshire U002 is larger than Pembrokeshire U001
  • Economic disparity between areas: some areas have a far higher level of unemployment and children in all out-of-work claimant households than others. For example, in 2017 Pembrokeshire U002 recorded as many as 1,780 0–18-year-olds in its region who were living in all out-of-work claimant households, whereas Pembrokeshire U001 recorded only 660
  • Migration trends: both the inflow and outflow level of international migration has remained steady in Pembrokeshire between 2013-2020, whilst the same is evident in the inflow level of internal migration during the same period. The only migration trend that has decreased is the outflow of internal migration, which has fallen from 3,629 to 2,859 between 2013-2020. Overall, these trends could suggest that demand for childcare may increase in the short-term as a result of migration
  • Number of Additional Learning Needs (ALN) pupils: Pembrokeshire was found to have a higher number of pupils with a statement of Special Educational Needs, than the neighbouring county of Ceredigion, but lower than Carmarthenshire. Overall, 2.24% of Pembrokeshire pupils have statemented ALN.

Key findings from the childcare providers survey

  • The most frequent weekday opening times for full day care providers operating in Pembrokeshire, as of spring 2022, was 8:00am – 6:00pm, and 8:00am – 5:00pm for childminders. There are currently 15 wards where providers offer childcare before 8am and four wards where providers offer childcare after 6pm.
  • 12 out of 121 providers receive funding to provide Flying Start places. This represents 10% of providers. Of these, 6 providers exclusively provide Flying Start provision. Flying Start providers are predominantly based in Pembrokeshire U002.
  • 2 childminders currently offer weekend care, and 2 childminders offer overnight care in Pembrokeshire.
  • During the past 12 months, 16% of childminders, 10% of full day care providers, 10% of sessional day care providers and 50% of out of school care providers reported having a waiting list in term-time. School holiday waiting lists were reported across all three USOAs.#
  • As of spring 2022, there were 66 vacancies with childminders for full day care across the county. Full day care providers recorded having 49 vacancies across the county. The majority of vacancies across all childcare types were available in Pembrokeshire U002.
  • There is a lack of ALN provision in the north, alongside a lack of joined up working/communication between those involved with childcare for children with ALN
  • Sufficiency of provision for children with ALN and complex medical needs is a perceived weakness, particularly across full day care and sessional day care providers. The perceived inability to provide 1:1 support for children with ALN and disabilities was a recurring theme throughout the consultation, along with providers indicating a greater need for clearer communication between the LA, agencies, parents and childcare settings. An inability to provide 1:1 support and inadequate funding were the two key reasons cited.
  • In terms of Welsh-medium provision, of the 64-day care providers that completed the SASS, 13 provide Welsh medium childcare and 3 provide bilingual childcare. All of these settings are located in Pembrokeshire U001, except 1 which is located in Pembrokeshire U003. Out of 54 childminders, 3 provide Welsh medium childcare and 3 are bilingual. Again, all operate in Pembrokeshire U001. There is also widespread difficulty hiring Welsh language staff
  • In terms of wider trends, the majority of childcare providers feel there are insufficient places for 0–2-year-olds or 3-4-year-olds in their area. The majority of full day care providers feel there is also insufficient places for 5-14-year-olds; this was less apparent across other provider types.

Key findings from the parent survey and focus groups

  • There is widespread consensus that the quality of childcare is good; however, parents also expressed concerns around affordability of childcare, as well as limited flexibility and accessibility, with some parents having to move house to find suitable childcare
  • In the parent survey, a range of other issues were cited, including no, or limited, school wraparound care in their area; limited holiday care provision; limited places/support for ALN/disabled children; limited Welsh medium provision; and no trained ASD and ADHD providers
  • ALN provision is often expensive and limited wraparound care that do not suit inflexible working arrangement. This is perhaps compounded by a lack of 1-1 provision available for children with particularly high needs
  • Parents would like more opportunities to share experiences, discuss their issues with the Council and have general conversations in person, though it was acknowledged that there has been attempts to facilitate this online
  • A lot of parents are relying on informal childcare (such as extended family, friends) to meet childcare needs.

Key findings from schools

  • After school clubs are popular and broadly well-attended at primary and secondary school phases
  • After-school club provision is vital for primary school children, with a lot of parents relying on this provision in order to work
  • Many children have noticed impact of COVID-19 on provision, including primary-school age children, with headteachers also acknowledging the strain this has had on resources
  • Free breakfast clubs are provided at a lot of settings, alongside roughly half of schools providing after-school care
  • Headteachers, on the whole, believe there is enough provision available locally to meet demand for childcare; however, parents are still approaching schools attempting to increase wraparound provision.

Key findings from stakeholders and employers

  • Provision of childcare is overall viewed positively by stakeholders, particularly in terms of the quality of provision and location and accessibility of childcare. However, concerns have been expressed about Bilingual Welsh provision and affordability of provision
  • Affordability, combined with lack of childcare in accessible areas are key barriers, particularly for low-income families and unemployed parents seeking childcare
  • There is a need to provide quality training along with childcare provision that is closer to parents’ homes and ideally within walking distance
  • The Council needs to be more active in promoting recruitment in the childcare profession, with a particular emphasis on childminding
  • There are concerns about the sustainability of provision, particularly after the impact(s) of COVID-19
ID: 9108, revised 29/09/2022