NDNA undertook the business performance survey of its members during November 2011 and the results show 14% more nurseries reporting a drop in occupancy than in September 2010.
The survey, representing 462 settings, also found:
• The average nursery occupancy rate is 72%
• 85% of nurseries have seen noticeable differences in the patterns of childcare parents are looking for, with the most common responses showing a decline in hours used (84% had seen more part time children in their setting and 56% had experienced an increase in parents using funded hours only)
• 64% of nurseries said they had increased their fees in 2011 which may reflect the increases in costs such as food, utilities and wages which have to be passed on to parents
• Nurseries reported their three biggest challenges are increasing staff wages, achieving a profit/surplus and delivering a sustainable free nursery education offer.
Levels of confidence in the sector regarding business performance have declined since NDNA’s September 2010 survey, though remain mixed, with more settings confident about the future than not:
• 32% of respondents said they were confident (55% in September 2010)
• 24% of respondents said they were not confident (19% in September 2010)
Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of NDNA, said: “Our sector survey has provided an interesting insight into the current picture for nurseries across the country. The decline in occupancy is worrying but could reflect the current rise in female unemployment as mothers who may have been made redundant are now staying at home to look after their children instead of going out to work. In order to sustain the economy for the future, and provide children with the best possible start to their education, Government must provide sufficient financial help for early education to enable mothers to return to work and ensure work always pays.
“In NDNA’s survey, 34% of nurseries said that their local authority was unsupportive and almost half reported significant reductions in training offered. Whilst we appreciate that local authorities are having their budgets cut, it is important that they still invest in early years to ensure high-quality provision for children and families. Government can help with this by ringfencing money meant for early years in the Dedicated Schools Grant.
“NDNA will continue to work hard to offer a range of training programmes, publications and events to support nurseries, their staff and local authorities in the delivery of best-quality care and early learning for children across the UK.”
The full report of the survey results can be found at www.ndna.org.uk/
Notes to editors:
• National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) is a national charity representing children’s day nurseries across the UK, giving them information, training and support, so they can provide the best possible care to young children. NDNA is the voice of the sector, an integral part of the lives of nearly one million children and their families.
• For more information please contact Lindsay Garfitt, Senior PR and Policy Officer, on 01484 40 70 66 or Lindsay.Garfitt@
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National Day Nurseries Association is a national charity representing children’s nurseries across the UK, giving them information, training and support, so they can provide the best possible care to young children.