Childcare Sufficiency Assessment

Overview of Current Childcare Provision and Outcomes of Provider and Childminder Surveys

Funded Childcare in Wales

In Wales, a variety of funded entitlement exists to support parents/carers with the cost of childcare. The following details these different types of funded entitlement available across Wales.

Foundation Phase (i.e. Early Education Entitlement/Funded Early Education)

10 Hours for 3-4 Year Olds

Every child aged 3-4 is entitled to receive up to five terms of part-time Early Years education prior to the start of compulsory education. This is offered in a mixture of funded settings, including Playgroups, Cylch Meithrin, schools and day nurseries.

Childcare Offer for Wales

20 Additional Hours for 3-4 Year Olds

Some children are eligible to receive an additional 20 hours of funded childcare for the start of the term after they turn 3. Parents/carers can check their eligibility

Flying Start

Some two-year-olds in Wales can get 12.5 hours a week of free early education as part of the Flying Start scheme. Flying Start provides quality childcare which is offered to parents/carers of all eligible children for 2 and a half hours a day, 5 days a week for 39 weeks. Eligible children must reside within a Flying Start area to receive this funding; this is determined by postcodes.

Childcare Element of Universal Credit

Parents/carers may be able to claim back up to 85% of childcare costs if they are eligible for Universal Credit. Applicants must typically need to either be working (regardless of hours worked) or have a job offer.

Tax Free Childcare

When parents/carers sign up for a tax-free childcare account, for every £8 they pay in, the government will pay in £2 to pay the childcare provider. Parents/carers can get up to £500 every 3 months (up to £2,000 a year) for each child to help with the costs of childcare.

Help for Students

If a parent/carer is attending a full-time or part­time course and getting undergraduate student finance and has at least one child under 15 who is financially dependent (or under 17 if they have ALN), they may be entitled to receive the childcare grant and Parents’ Learning Allowance through Student Finance Wales.

This section has been informed by the following surveys/research:

  1. Pembrokeshire County Council’s CSA Childcare Providers Survey – undertaken by Premier Advisory Group via Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) from November 2021 – January 2022.
  2. Pembrokeshire County Council’s childcare providers’ contribution to the summer 2021 Self-Assessment of Service Statement (SASS) report/data gathering exercise.

A total of 93 childcare providers completed the 2021-22 the Council’s CSA Childcare Providers Survey. The breakdown of provider types completing the survey was as follows:

  • Full day care – 24% (Percentages in this section have been rounded to the nearest whole number. Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding)
  • Registered childminder – 48%
  • Sessional day care – 23%
  • Out of School Care (including Afterschool Club, Breakfast Club, Holiday Clubs and Holiday Playschemes) – 5%

A total of 118 providers completed the SASS, including 64 children’s day care providers and 54 registered childminders, equalling a 96% response rate.

Number of childcare providers and type of service

Currently operating in Pembrokeshire there are:

  • Full day care: 31
  • Childminders: 56
  • Sessional day care: 25
  • Out of school providers: 11

Altogether, providers are registered to care for 2407 children (This figure excludes the 5 settings that did not complete the SASS)

The proportions of specific types of care provided across the county are detailed in the chart below:


The proportions of specific types of care provided across the county
  
 

The is currently one registered Crèche operating in the county. There is currently no Nanny provision or Open Access Play provision operating in Pembrokeshire.

Number of children on childcare providers’ books, as of autumn 2021, aligned to age group: 

No. of children currently using childcare

  • 0-1 years: 85
  • 1-2 years: 311
  • 2 years: 766
  • 3 years: 707
  • 4 years: 308
  • 5-7 years: 59
  • 8-11 years: 404
  • 12-14 years: 25
  • 15-17 years: 1

Table 2 in the Appendix shows the number of children accessing childcare in each age group, aligned to ward.

Number of children accessing places on a full-time, part-time and ad hoc basis, as of autumn 2021, aligned to ward and USOA

Pembrokeshire U001

Ward
Total no of children on books
Total attending on a full time basis
Total attending on a part time basis
Total attending on an ad hoc basis
Cilgerran 38 2 36 0
Clydau 6 5 1 0
Crymych 154 46 75 33
St Dogmaels 19 1 18 0
Dinas Cross 21 0 21 0
Fishguard North East 120 0 87 33
Fishguard North West 57 9 44 4
Goodwick 11 0 11 0
Newport 16 16 0 0
Scleddau 10 1 5 4
Letterston n/a n/a n/a n/a
Llanrhian 15 15 0 0
St Davids 26 0 26 0
Solva 44 20 23 1
Maenclochog 36 14 22 0
Rudbaxton 51 2 49 0
Wiston 57 13 42 2
Total 690 144 464 82

Pembrokeshire U002

Ward
Total no of children on books
Total attending on a full time basis
Total attending on a part time basis
Total attending on an ad hoc basis
Haverfordwest Castle 70 0 65 5
Haverfordwest Garth 189 7 121 61
Haverfordwest Prendergast 125 30 46 49
Haverfordwest Portfield 255 38 159 58
Haverfordwest Priory 21 3 18 0
Merlin's Bridge 10 2 7 1
Camrose 95 1 84 10
Johnston 133 5 103 25
St Ishmaels 9 0 4 5
The Havens 57 0 27 30
Burton 5 0 4 1
Llangwm 54 1 26 27
Neyland East 39 14 22 3
Neyland West 7 1 6 0
Milford Central n/a n/a n/a n/a
Milford East 15 6 5 4
Milford North 9 0 9 0
Milford Hakin n/a n/a n/a n/a
Milford Hubberston 202 10 171 21
Milford West 36 0 36 0
Total 1322 118 909 295

Pembrokeshire U003

Ward
Total no of children on books
Total attending on a full time basis
Total attending on a part time basis
Total attending on an ad hoc basis
Lampeter Velfrey 21 2 19 0
Martletwy
Narberth  211  19  190 
Narberth Rural  46  35 
Amroth  n/a  n/a  n/a  n/a 
East Williamston  69  34  32 
Kilgetty/Begelly  24  19 
Saundersfoot  48  22  25 
Pembroke Dock: Central  n/a  n/a  n/a  n/a 
Pembroke Dock: Llanion  145  87  53 
Pembroke Dock: Market 
Pembroke Dock:Pennar  47  45 
Carew  30  22 
Lamphey  12  12 
Manorbier  29  21 
Pembroke St Michael  n/a  n/a  n/a  n/a 
Hundleton  21  18 
Pembroke Monkton  27  27  0
Pembroke St Mary North 161 3 109 49
Pembroke St Mary South 16 1 15 0
Penally 6 1 4 1
Tenby North 147 16 84 47
Tenby South 17 1 9 7
Total 1144 144 805 195

 

Across almost all wards, the majority of children accessing childcare places were doing so on a part-time basis.

Supply and Demand per Childcare Type

The table below presents, by type of provider/sector, the:

  • Most frequent number of places offered on a typical term-time day
  • Average number of places offered on a typical term-time day
  • Most frequent number of places offered on a typical holiday-time day
  • Average number of places offered on a typical holiday-time day

Full day care

  • Most frequent number of term time places: 30
  • Most frequent number of holiday time places: 0
  • Average number of term time places: 28
  • Average number of holiday time places: 21

Sessional day care

  • Most frequent number of term time places: 14
  • Most frequent number of holiday time places: 0
  • Average number of term time places: 18
  • Average number of holiday time places: 1

Registered childminder

  • Most frequent number of term time places: 6
  • Most frequent number of holiday time places: 8
  • Average number of term time places: 6
  • Average number of holiday time places: 6

After school club

  • Most frequent number of term time places: 14
  • Most frequent number of holiday time places: 4
  • Average number of term time places: 14
  • Average number of holiday time places: 4 

Numbers of providers operating on particular days during school holidays, by provider type:

Childminders

School Holidays

Mon

Tues

Weds

Thurs

Fri

Sat

Sun

Summer holidays 9 8 9 8 8 0 0
October half term 3 4 4 3 4 0 0
Christmas holidays 5 3 5 4 5 0 0
February half term 5 4 5 5 4 0 0
Easter holidays 9 8 9 8 8 0 0
May half term 9 8 9 8 8 0 0

Full day care

School Holidays

Mon

Tues

Weds

Thurs

Fri

Sat

Sun

Summer holidays 2 2 2 2 2 0 0
October half term 2 2 2 2 2 0 0
Christmas holidays 2 2 2 2 2 0 0
February half term 2 2 2 2 2 0 0
Easter holidays 2 2 2 2 2 0 0
May half term 2 2 2 2 2 0 0

 

No sessional day care providers or out of school care providers who responded to the survey currently cover school holidays.

89% of childminders surveyed confirmed that they continue to provide childcare on school inset days, compared with 67% of full day care providers and 62% of sessional day care providers continue to cover school inset days, with no after school clubs or out of school care covering these.

From those surveyed, there are currently 2 childminders offering weekend care and 2 childminders offering overnight care in Pembrokeshire. These childminders are located in Pembrokeshire U002 and Pembrokeshire U003.

No full day care, sessional day care or out of school care providers offer weekend or overnight care.

Incidence of waiting lists

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. The majority of responding childminders and day care providers reported having 2 children on their waiting lists in spring, summer and autumn 2021. One full day care provider reported having 25 children on a waiting list and was located in Pembrokeshire U001.

5% of full day care providers and 5% of childminders also reported having a waiting list in the school holidays. No other provider types reported having a waiting list for school holidays. All three USOA areas had at least 1 ward in which childcare providers had school holiday waiting lists.

As of autumn 2021, there were 82 children on a waiting list for childcare.

Incidence of vacancies

As of spring 2022, there were 66 vacancies with childminders for full day care across the county. Wards within Pembrokeshire U001 and Pembrokeshire U003 had the highest incidence of full day care vacancies with childminders. There were 8 vacancies with childminders for afterschool care and 5 vacancies with childminders for holiday care.

Full day care providers recorded having 49 vacancies across the county, with 12 of these in Haverfordwest: Priory and 10 in Milford: Central.

Sessional day care providers had a total of 124 vacancies, with St Ishmael’s, Cilgerran and Pembroke: Monkton having the highest numbers of vacancies respectively.

One after school club, located in the Pembrokeshire U002, recorded 22 vacancies as of spring 2022.

The majority of vacancies across all childcare types were available in Pembrokeshire U002. It should be noted that a small number of providers felt unable to comment on their number of vacancies, due to fluctuations in numbers caused by COVID-19.

Incidence of support for children with Additional Learning Needs (ALN) and/or complex medical needs

As of autumn 2021, there were 63 children with a registered ALN or disability using a registered childcare place in Pembrokeshire.

The table below shows the number of day care providers and childminders currently providing support or able to provide support for different types of ALN

Cognition and Learning Difficulties

  • Number of day care providers supporting: 37
  • Number of childminders supporting: 10

Behaviour, Social, Emotional Difficulties

  • Number of day care providers supporting: 38
  • Number of childminders supporting: 10

Communication and Interaction Needs

  • Number of day care providers supporting: 49
  • Number of childminders supporting: 15

Sensory of Physical Needs

  • Number of day care providers supporting: 42
  • Number of childminders supporting: 11 

As of spring 2022, there were 27 children aged 2 years old with ALN who were accessing Flying Start provision.

There were 4 children aged 3-4 years old with ALN who were accessing the 30-hours childcare offer as of spring 2022.

6% of childminders, and 5% of full day care providers surveyed reported that they receive enquiries from parents at least once a term about a 30-hours place for a child with ALN.

The most frequent ALN types that providers reported they are asked to provide places for were, in order of frequency:

  1. Speech Language and Communication Needs
  2. Autism Spectrum Condition
  3. Physical Disability

Childcare providers were also asked if there are any issues that could make it more challenging for the formal childcare sector in Pembrokeshire to most effectively provide childcare for a child who has ALN or disabilities. The most commonly stated issues, in order of frequency were:

  1. Inability to provide 1:1 support
  2. Inadequate funding
  3. None
  4. Problems with physical access/navigability at a setting

Providers expanded on this to say that:

“Planning for a child with ALN can be more time consuming or overwhelming.”

“We are unable to get the staff who are trained and the transport, as we are very rural. Need more Flying Start for 2 years old.”

“There is a lack of information given from parents, and a lack of awareness from parents around ALN.”

Providers were also asked to briefly describe what they think are the key challenges for parents of children with ALN and disabilities in finding childcare for their children. Some of the key recurring points are listed below:

“All provisions are down south. Parents in the north have a long way to travel to reach ALN provisions. Welsh speaking providers in the north of Pembrokeshire have been forgotten about.”

“There is a lack of communication between staff, parents and the Council.”

“Parents struggle to get 1:1 support for their children and there is a lack of awareness and information about ALN for parents.”

“COVID lockdown and restrictions have made it harder for everyone. Children’s speech has been affected by not being able to socialise fully.”

“Parents sometimes aren’t aware of or don’t want to tell the childminder about an ALN their child has.”

“Welsh language has to be provided for more, lots of welsh speaking parents and potential children but lack of Welsh speaking staff.”

The perceived inability to provide 1:1 support for children with ALN and disabilities was a recurring theme throughout the consultation, including in parent focus groups, along with providers indicating a greater need for clearer communication between the LA, agencies, parents and childcare settings.

Cost of childcare

All respondents were asked their average hourly rate per service. The highest average hourly costs in spring 2022 were charged by registered childminders.

The range of charges observed can be seen below:

  • Lowest full day care provider hourly rate reported = £3.30
  • Highest full day care provider hourly rate reported = £6.50
  • Lowest childminder/full day hourly rate reported = £3.00
  • Highest full childminder/full day hourly rate reported = £7.25
  • Lowest childminder/half day hourly rate reported = £3.50
  • Highest full childminder/half day hourly rate reported = £9.00
  • Lowest breakfast/after school club hourly rate reported = £3.00
  • Highest breakfast/after school club provider hourly rate reported = £5.30

Incidence of respondents offering a sibling discount:

Full daycare

  • Yes - Sibling Discount 52%
  • No - Sibling Discount 48%

Sessional daycare

  • Yes - Sibling Discount 10%
  • No - Sibling Discount 90%

Registered childminder

  • Yes - Sibling Discount 32%
  • No - Sibling Discount 68%

Out of school childcare

  • Yes - Sibling Discount 100%
  • No - Sibling Discount 0% 

The most frequent sibling discounts offered were 5% or 10% off for each sibling.

Opening hours

The table below outlines the most frequent start times and finish times stated by responding full day care providers, for term-times

Main Session 1

Mon: 8:00 - 18:00

Tues: 8:00 - 18:00

Weds: 8:00 - 18:00

Thurs: 8:00 - 18:00

Fri: 8:00 - 18:00

The most frequent weekday opening times for full day care providers operating in Pembrokeshire, as of spring 2022, was 8:00am – 6:00pm.

The table below outlines the most frequent start times and finish times stated by responding sessional day care providers, for term-times

Main session 1

Mon: 9:00 - 11:30

Tues: 9:00 - 11:30

Weds: 9:00 - 11:30

Thurs: 9:00 - 11:30

Fri: 9:00 - 11:30

Session 2

Mon: 12:15 - 14:45

Tues: 12:15 - 14:45

Weds: 12:15 - 14:45

Thurs: 12:15 - 14:45

Friday: 12:15 - 14:45

The most frequent weekday opening times for sessional day care providers operating in Pembrokeshire, as of spring 2022, were 9:00am – 11:30am for morning sessions and 12:15pm-14:45pm for afternoon sessions.

The table below outlines the most frequent start times and finish times stated by responding childminders, for term-times.

Main session 1

Mon: 8:00 - 17:00 

Tues: 8:00 - 17:00

Weds: 8:00 - 17:00

Thurs: 8:00 - 17:00

Fri: 08:00 - 17:00

The most frequent weekday opening times for childminders operating in Pembrokeshire, as of spring 2022, was 8:00am – 5:00pm.

The table below outlines the most frequent start times and finish times stated by responding out of school childcare providers/after school clubs, for term-times

Main session 1

Mon: 15:30 - 17:45

Tues: 15:30 - 17:45

Weds: 15:30 - 17:45

Thurs: 15:30 - 17:45

Fri: 15:30 - 17:45

The most frequent weekday opening times for an after school club operating in Pembrokeshire, as of spring 2022, was 3:30pm – 5:30pm.

During term-time, 30% of responding childminders and 29% of responding full day care providers stated that they open before 8am. For school holidays, this was 27% of childminders and 29% day care providers. 7% of childminders and 5% of full day care providers (1 provider) also stated that they provide childcare after 6pm during term-time and school holidays.

Providers offering childcare before 8am were located across the three USOA areas, with the majority in Pembrokeshire U002.  

Providers offering childcare after 6pm were located in four wards across the three USOAs.

The Childcare Offer and Tax Free Childcare

102 providers are currently registered to deliver the Childcare Offer in Pembrokeshire, including 50 childminders and 52 day care providers. Out of these, 79 (77%) are currently receiving funding from the Childcare Offer, including 35 childminders and 44 day care providers.

The number of Childcare Offer places currently being offered by providers who completed our CATI survey and currently being taken up as of spring 2022, is shown in the table below:

Pembrokeshire U001

Number of childcare offer places available: 285

Number of childcare offer places being taken up: 105

Pembrokeshire U002

Number of childcare offer places available: 302

Number of childcare offer places being taken up: 101

Pembrokeshire U003

Number of childcare offer places available: 251

Number of childcare offer places being taken up: 128

From the data collected in spring 2022, there are currently half of the Childcare Offer places not being taken up across Pembrokeshire. It should be noted that this is not representative of the whole of Pembrokeshire, as only 93 providers completed the CATI survey.

The USOA in which the lowest numbers of providers are currently offering some or all of the 30-hours childcare offer is Pembrokeshire U003.

For those childcare providers not currently delivering the Childcare Offer, the most common reasons given were:

  • No demand for it
  • Paperwork/administration

30 day care providers and 8 childminders reported that the parents of the children they care for were receiving tax free childcare or using childcare vouchers at the time the SASS was completed.

18 day care providers receive funding to provide Early Years part time education.

Flying Start provision

12 out of 126 providers receive funding to provide Flying Start places. This represents 9.5% of providers. Of these, 6 providers exclusively provide Flying Start provision. The majority of Flying Start providers are located in Pembrokeshire U003, with the fewest in Pembrokeshire U001.  

Welsh language provision

The table below shows the main language through which childcare services are provided:

English

  • Number of childcare providers: 48
  • Number of childminders: 48
  • Total number of providers: 96

 Welsh

  • Number of childcare providers: 13
  • Number of childminders: 3
  • Total number of providers: 16

Both

  • Number of childcare providers: 3
  • Number of childminders: 3
  • Total number of providers: 6 

Other languages used at settings 1 provider reported using French/German/Spanish as a secondary language in their setting, 1 reported using Italian and one reported using Swedish.

 English

  • Number of childcare providers: 1
  • Number of childminders: 4
  • Total number of providers: 5

Welsh

  • Number of childcare providers: 24
  • Number of childminders: 22
  • Total number of providers: 46

French/German/Spanish

  • Number of childcare providers: 1
  • Number of childminders: 0
  • Total number of providers: 1

Italian

  • Number of childcare providers: 0
  • Number of childminders: 1
  • Total number of providers: 1

Swedish

  • Number of childcare providers: 0
  • Number of childminders: 1
  • Total number of providers: 1 

All of the Welsh or bilingual settings are located in Pembrokeshire U001, except 1 which is located in Pembrokeshire 003.

The table below shows the number of childcare providers, aligned to type, either offering or working towards the Welsh Language Active Offer, as of autumn 2021.

Full day care providers

  • Welsh Language active offer provided: 6
  • Working towards Welsh Language active offer: 9

Sessional day care providers

  • Welsh Language active offer provided: 9
  • Working towards Welsh Language active offer: 7

 Childminders

  • Welsh Language active offer provided: 5
  • Working towards Welsh Language active offer: 8

Out of school care

  • Welsh Language active offer provided: 0
  • Working towards Welsh Language active offer: 3 

From the data above, the lack of Welsh provision in Pembrokeshire U002 and Pembrokeshire U003, along with a lack of Welsh language childminders and out of school care generally is identified as an area of development.

Perceptions on future operation

Respondents were asked, compared to now, how much higher or lower the number of places they expect to be providing in 2023 will be.

Full day care

  • Significantly higher: 0%
  • Higher: 57%
  • About the same: 14%
  • Lower: 5%
  • Significantly lower: 0%
  • Don't know/rather not say: 24%

Sessional daycare

  • Significantly higher: 5%
  • Higher: 48%
  • About the same: 29%
  • Lower: 0%
  • Significantly lower: 5%
  • Don't know/rather not say: 14%

Registered childminder

  • Significantly higher: 7%
  • Higher: 49%
  • About the same: 30%
  • Lower: 5%
  • Significantly lower: 5%
  • Don't know/rather not say: 5%

Out of school childcare

  • Significantly higher: 0%
  • Higher: 50%
  • About the same: 33%
  • Lower: 0%
  • Significantly lower: 0%
  • Don't know/rather not say: 17% 

As shown above, most providers envisage that demand will be higher or about the same by autumn 2023, though many were unsure, which may be in part due to the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic.

7% of childminders, 10% of full day care providers and 10% of sessional day care providers currently have plans to increase the number of places they can offer over the next 2 years.

Perceptions on existing sufficiency of childcare

Respondents were asked to the best of their knowledge, if they personally think that there is currently a sufficient number of childcare places within particular age groups and specific groups within their immediate geographical area. The outcomes are shown below:

Full Day Care 

0-2 years
  • Yes: 33%
  • No: 62%
  • Don't know: 5%
3-4 years
  • Yes: 38%
  • No: 57%
  • Don't know: 5%
5-14 years
  • Yes: 29%
  • No: 57%
  • Don't know: 14%
Children with ALN
  • Yes: 10%
  • No: 76%
  • Don't know: 14%
Children with complex medical needs

Yes: 0%

  • No: 62%
  • Don't know: 38%

Childminder

0-2 years
  • Yes: 16%
  • No: 73%
  • Don't know: 11%
3-4 years
  • Yes: 20%
  • No: 68%
  • Don't know: 11%
5-14 years
  • Yes: 45%
  • No: 36%
  • Don't know: 18%
Children with ALN
  • Yes: 7%
  • No: 34%
  • Don't know: 59%
Children with complex medical needs
  • Yes: 7%
  • No: 32%
  • Don't know: 61%

 Sessional day care

0-2 Years
  • Yes: 24%
  • No: 76%
  • Don't know: 0%
3-4 years
  • Yes: 29%
  • No: 71%
  • Don't know: 0%
5-14 years
  • Yes: 38%
  • No: 43%
  • Don't know: 19%
Children with ALN
  • Yes: 14%
  • No: 67%
  • Don't know: 19%
Children with complex medical needs
  • Yes: 10%
  • No: 57%
  • Don't know: 33%

Out of school care

0-2 years
  • Yes: 33%
  • No: 33%
  • Don't know: 33%
3-4 years
  • Yes: 33%
  • No: 33%
  • Don't know: 33%
5-14 years
  • Yes: 67%
  • No: 33%
  • Don't know: 0%
Children with ALN
  • Yes: 17%
  • No: 67%
  • Don't know: 33%
Children with vomplex medical needs
  • Yes: 0%
  • No: 33%
  • Don't know: 67% 

The tables above show that the majority of full day care providers, sessional day care providers and childminders do not feel there are currently sufficient places for 0–2-year-olds or 3-4-year-olds in their geographical area. One third of out of school care providers also indicated this. The majority of full day care providers also felt that there were no enough places for 5-14-year-olds; this was less apparent across other provider types.

From the data collected from providers through CATI in spring 2022, sufficiency of provision for children with ALN and complex medical needs is a perceived area of development, particularly across full day care and sessional day care providers.

Perceptions on beneficial forms of support

The table below shows the extent to which day care providers and registered childminders stated that they felt their provision would benefit from specific types of support – potentially via the Council.

recruitment and retention

  • % of day care providers: 18
  • % of childminders: 5

staff training

  • % of day care providers: 14
  • % of childminders: 3

marketing support/advice

  • % of day care providers: 10
  • % of childminders: 3

business modelling support/advice

  • % of day care providers: 2
  • % of childminders: 8

inspection/registration support/advice

  • % of day care providers: 0
  • % of childminders: 3

support to network with other providers/childminders

  • % of day care providers: 2
  • % of childminders: 5

Advice/support on needs of children with ALN and disabilities

  • % of day care providers: 18
  • % of childminders: 10

None

  • % of day care providers: 18
  • % of childminders: 42

Other

  • % of day care providers: 18%
  • % of childminders: 18% 

Of those that specified ‘Other’ the following types of support were requested:

  • Financial support/accounting support
  • Support with admin (e.g., templates/banks of resources), grant applications and bid writing
  • ICT support
  • Support to provide 1:1 for children with ALN

Of those that selected staff training as an area in which they require support, support for children with ALN was most commonly requested. Providers also requested more face-to-face staff training and evening training. 2% of providers requested Welsh language training.

Providers were also asked to suggest three priority forms of information, support and training that the Council could ideally provide to further help local childcare providers to support and provide childcare places to children with ALN.

 The most common answers, in order of frequency, were: 

  1. More ALN training, including autism, behaviour and sign language training
  2. Support with recruiting more qualified staff in general, or providing training at more suitable hours
  3. More Welsh speaking courses.

Impact of COVID-19 on demand and sufficiency

During the Covid-19 lockdown period, 42% of full day care providers remained open to provide childcare for key worker children. 47% of childminders remained active during this period with 53% closing. All sessional day care providers and out of school care providers closed during the lockdown.

71% of responding full and sessional day care providers, 55% of childminders, and 100% of out of school providers, felt that COVID-19 had impacted the sustainability of their business, with many having to close at the outset of the pandemic. Responses to this question were mixed - those that felt it had impacted sustainability cited decreased demand due to higher numbers of parents working from home or becoming unemployed, increased cleaning/PPE costs, difficulty finding funding for staff and reduced staffing levels. Many felt that it had initially impacted sustainability due to initial closures and restrictions, for example only being able to look after and charge for key worker children. Several providers stated that they struggled with staff wages while occupancy was low. Some providers referenced accessing grants which they reported helped them massively, though a small number of providers reported that they were unable to access any grants.

Respondents were asked if they felt COVID-19 had had an impact on the mental wellbeing and retention of their staff. Response rates were as follows:

  • 23% of childminders responded yes
  • 71% of full day care providers responded yes
  • 57% of sessional day care providers answered yes
  • 50% of out of school providers responded yes

Stress, staff being reluctant to continue in childcare and low morale were amongst the most commonly reported impacts on staff mental health and retention. Some of the recurring comments made on the subject include:

“At the start it was stressful, but everyone has adapted now.”

“Lost a few members of staff due to COVID. They did not return after being furloughed.”

“Low morale and motivation.”

Respondents were also asked to comment on the managing their businesses from a commercial aspect during the pandemic. Views from settings were mixed; many 

found it difficult to manage their businesses online while they were closed, with some stating that they did not have much support. Others felt that furlough and other grants helped a lot, whilst some reported no difficulty and that it had given them the opportunity to catch up on admin and paperwork while closed. Some of the most common views shared were:

“There has been a lot more paperwork and admin. It became overwhelming and workload increased.”

“Closed for 3 months and parents were very understanding. Guidance was difficult to navigate as it was for nurseries, not childminders looking after children in their own home.”

“Closed during lockdown so didn’t find this difficult.”

“Felt isolated and confused as rules kept changing – was thankful for the childminding network.”

At the time of the survey, all respondents reported that they were continuing to follow relevant government guidelines on COVID-19, including completing COVID risk assessments, regular staff testing hand washing, appropriate PPE and regular cleaning of toys and surfaces.

Sustainability

Providers were asked whether they felt COVID-19 would continue to impact their sustainability:

Full day care

  • In the next 3 months: 9%
  • In the next six months: 20%
  • In the next 12 months: 2%
  • No: 68%

Sessional daycare

  • In the next 3 months: 14%
  • In the next six months: 24%
  • In the next 12 months: 5%
  • No: 57%

Registered childcare

  • In the next 3 months: 10%
  • In the next six months: 19%
  • In the next 12 months: 19%
  • No: 52%

Out of school childcare

  • In the next 3 months: 33%
  • In the next six months: 17%
  • In the next 12 months: 17%
  • No: 32% 

The majority did not feel sustainability would be impacted by COVID-19 beyond the next 12 months.

Whilst all day care providers indicated that they intend to continue providing childcare for at least the next 5 years, 36% of childminders reported that they did not expect to be providing childcare in 5 years’ time, with 18% of these expecting to leave the profession within the next 3 years. The area where this was highest reported was Pembrokeshire U002.

Cross Border

Pembrokeshire County Council has cross border arrangements in place for the Foundation Phase Nursery (FPN) Grant and the Childcare Offer for Wales with two neighbouring authorities, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion. Therefore, families in Pembrokeshire are able to access their entitlement to free part-time Early Education (FPN) and the Childcare Offer funding in any of these local authorities. 

The breakdown of children from outside the local authority that accessed their FPN provision within Pembrokeshire non-maintained settings during the Spring term 2022 was as follows:

Carmarthenshire County Council: 6 (number of children attending a Pembrokeshire non-maintained setting)

Ceredigion County Council: 0 (number of children attending a Pembrokeshire non-maintained setting)

Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire have a different school admission policy; this does affect the eligibility of the Childcare Offer and cross-border arrangements. At the point a parent living in Carmarthenshire is offered a full-time education place for their child, they will no longer be eligible to take up the offer during term time, whether their child’s full time education place is in a Pembrokeshire school or a Carmarthenshire school. In Pembrokeshire local authority, children are offered a full-time placement the term after they turn 3.  In Carmarthenshire local authority, children are offered a full-time placement from the beginning of the term the child turns 4 years old.  Even though a child has been offered a full-time education place in a Pembrokeshire school, Carmarthenshire local authority admissions policy is in place.

Pembrokeshire FIS has a good cross border working relationship with both Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion and any FIS enquiries or calls that come in are dealt with in-line with the FIS policy and directed directly to the correct local authority.

Workforce development and training

Qualification levels, per childcare type:

Childminders

  • Level 2: Childcare practioners = 24
  • Level 2: Play practitioners = 28
  • Level 3: Childcare practitioners = 14
  • Level 3: Play practitiioners = 3
  • Level 5: Childcare practitioners = 2
  • Level 5: Play practitioners = 0
  • Not specified: Childcare practitioners = 9
  • Not specified: PLay practitioners = 8
  • None: Childcare practitioners = 5
  • None: Play practitioners = 8

Full Day Care

  • Level 2: Childcare practitioners = 25
  • Level 2: Play practitioners = 10
  • Level 3: Childcare practitioners = 149
  • Level 3: Play practitioners = 48
  • Not specified: Childcare practitioners = 22
  • Not specified: Play practitioners = 10
  • None - Childcare practitioners = 34
  • None - Play practitioners = 55

Sessional Day Care

  • Level 2: Childcare practitioners = 6
  • Level 2: Play practitioners = 1
  • Level 3: Childcare practitioners 65
  • Level 3: Play practitioners = 4
  • Level 5: Childcare practitioners = 23
  • Level 5: Play practitioners = 0
  • Not specified: Childcare practitioners = 12
  • Not specified: Play practitioners = 4
  • None: Childcare practitioners = 8
  • None: Play practitioners = 5

Out of school care

  • Level 2: Childcare practitioners = 0
  • Level 2: Play practitioners = 6
  • Level 3: Childcare practitioners 28
  • Level 3: Play practitioners = 31
  • Level 5: Childcare practitioners = 4
  • Level 5: Play practitioners = 3
  • Not specified: Childcare practitioners = 3
  • Not specified: Play practitioners = 2
  • None: Childcare practitioners = 24
  • None: Play practitioners = 28

All full day care providers, out of school care providers and 96% of sessional day care providers stated that they have a designated member of staff responsible for making arrangements for children with ALN/complex medical needs. 46% of childminders responded that they have responsibility for this.

17% of childminders recorded that they have additional specialist training to support children with ALN and disabilities, compared to 86% of full day care providers and 80% of sessional day care providers. For out of school care, this figure was 60%.

The majority of providers stated that if they were looking for support with workforce training, they would approach the Council, FIS or PACEY, and would do so online. 

As is noted below in Section 7, stakeholders have found that there are issues around staff recruitment with vacancies reported across the sector in Pembrokeshire. There is an inability to recruit new staff, and limited number of students attending courses in college ultimately leading to an inability to place children in funded childcare places.

Key findings from providers

  • 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, 4 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.

 

ID: 9124, revised 06/10/2022
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