Children: Day Care

Department for Education written question – answered on 5th September 2022.

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Photo of Alison McGovern Alison McGovern Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make a comparative assessment of funding for childcare below school age as a proportion of national income in (a) the UK and (b) other OECD countries.

Photo of Brendan Clarke-Smith Brendan Clarke-Smith The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The department has invested more than £3.5 billion in each of the last three years to deliver our early education entitlements.

The information requested is not held by the department but has been published previously by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in its Education at a Glance 2021 report.

The OECD publishes data on expenditure for Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP). This shows that the UK spent 0.3% of GDP on pre-primary education and care (ISCED 02)[1], compared to the OECD average of 0.6%. The differences on expenditure are largely explained by enrolment rates, legal entitlements, and the intensity of participation, as well as the different starting ages for primary education. The UK has one of the earliest primary school starting ages in the OECD, with most children starting at age 4. Therefore, the window for pre-primary education and spend is smaller than in many other OECD countries. This information is available at: https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/financing-of-early-childhood-education-and-care-isced-0-and-change-in-expenditure-2018_b62e6aba-en.

[1] ISCED 02 refers to the UNESCO pre-primary education term. A full definition is available at: http://uis.unesco.org/node/3674229.

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