UK Childcare More Expensive for Children Two and Under

Category: Education/Family

Listening

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. circumstance / ˈsɜr kəmˌstæns / (n) – a thing or situation that affects something
    Example:

    An unexpected circumstance caused him to be late for the meeting.


  2. miss out / mɪs aʊt / (phrasal) – to fail to get something good from something
    Example:

    You’ll miss out on all the fun if you don’t come to the party on time.


  3. privilege / ˈprɪv ə lɪdʒ / (n) – a right or benefit enjoyed only by a certain group of people
    Example:

    Members of the club can enjoy privileges like free breakfast and spa services.


  4. allocate / ˈæl əˌkeɪt / (v) – to give a particular amount of something for a specific purpose
    Example:

    The hospital allocated funds for solar panels to save on electricity.


  5. go to waste / goʊ tu weɪst / (idiom) – to not be used
    Example:

    Please finish your food so it will not go to waste.


Article

Read the text below.

A study revealed that parents in the United Kingdom pay more for childcare for kids aged two and below.


UK-based charity Coram Family and Childcare reported that services from part-time facilities for children below the age of two cost over $150 a week. This figure is a 5% increase from last year’s rates and indicates that childcare expenses are increasing faster than the country’s 1.8% inflation rate in January.


The report also revealed that the availability and rates of childcare services are different depending on where families live. The most expensive rates for weekly 25-hour childcare services are in London and the South East. Services in these areas cost around $195 and $170, respectively.


In terms of availability, only 56% of the local governments in England provide childcare services to parents who have full-time jobs. The report also noted that other circumstances, such as working past regular office hours and having children aged 12 to 14, hinder parents from using the existing childcare services.


Although a lot of families have access to benefits and support, the report claimed that many parents miss out on the opportunity to use these privileges because of the country’s complicated childcare system. To fix this, the charity has called for reforms in the UK childcare system.


Claire Harding, the head of Coram, suggested that the government should allocate more funds to childcare and simplify the process for getting childcare services. She said any spending would not go to waste because it would help parents focus on their careers, and children would be able to maximize their learning and growth.


Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• In your opinion, should childcare be more expensive for children aged two and below? Explain.
• What else should the UK government do to improve its childcare system (e.g. open more childcare facilities, provide free childcare to underprivileged families)? Discuss.

Discussion B

• Aside from childcare services, what other benefit or support do families need (e.g. parental leave, tax exemption)? Discuss.
• What do you think would be the impact of this benefit or support on families (e.g. better work-life balance for parents, more savings for children's future education)? Discuss.