The UK Department for Education (DfE) has just published research by Frontier looking at provision of early years (pre-primary school) education.
Frontier’s study presents evidence on the cost of delivering childcare in 2018, building on and drawing comparisons with similar research in 2015 in order to help understand how recent policy changes (e.g. introduction of 30 hours free childcare and Tax Free Childcare) have affected the delivery of early years education and childcare.
Cost and income data was collected from 120 early years settings providing childcare for children under the age of five during March to July 2018. The data was analysed to obtain unit cost estimates and we used multivariate regression analysis to study what factors have a significant influence over costs. The study found that the average hourly delivery costs are generally higher for the younger age groups (2 or younger) and lower for the older age groups (3 & 4). Further, there is considerable variation by provider type with costs being highest in Maintained Nursery Schools and lowest in Private and Voluntary providers. Factors that affect costs include staff qualifications, pupil to staff ratios and group sizes.
This study will help build the evidence base for discussions on future policy developments in the early years space.
Frontier regularly advises public and private sector clients on labour markets, education and skills issues applying a wide range of quantitative and qualitative techniques.