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Children: Childcare

House of Lords written question – answered on 25th February 2013.

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Photo of Lord Stoddart of Swindon Lord Stoddart of Swindon Independent Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the relative merits of childcare being delivered by parents as opposed to others; and whether they will introduce measures to enable one parent to provide full-time childcare until their children reach the age of three.

Photo of Lord Nash Lord Nash The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The Government recognise that children spend a significant amount of time with their parents, who are rightly their most important carers. However, many young children spend time with other childcare providers, enabling their parents to work. The Effective Provision of Pre-school Education (EPPE) study found that pre-school attendance improved the all round development of children when they entered primary school compared to "home" children with no pre-school experience and the benefit to children from disadvantaged homes is the greatest. High quality provision has a positive and lasting impact on child outcomes, which is why the Government are providing significant investment in high quality early years. On 29 January, the Government published More Great Childcare (available at: publicationDetail/Pagel/DFE-00002-2013 which set out proposals to further reform and improve current formal childcare arrangements. Copies of the report have been placed in the Libraries.

We have no plans to introduce specific measures to enable one parent to provide full-time childcare until their children reach the age of three. The UK already has one of the most generous systems of leave for parents in the EU. However, we are proposing to increase flexibility, choice and control for working parents through a new system of shared parental leave, alongside extending to all the right to request flexible working. These measures will help families balance childcare with employment.

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