Childcare Sufficiency Assessment
Outcomes from School Surveys
To support understanding around wraparound provision across the county, we surveyed primary and secondary school pupils from across Pembrokeshire via a short, online, anonymous survey, alongside an additional survey for headteachers of a range of settings across the county. The surveys were predominantly based around after-school club provision, with questions regarding access, availability, affordability and quality of wraparound care. The findings from each survey are detailed below.
Primary school survey
In total, 76 pupils completed the online survey across the county. The year group of each respondent is detailed below; as is shown, the most respondents were in Year 6 at 23.68%, with the fewest respondents in Year 5.
- Year 1: (11.84%) 9
- Year 2: (22.37%) 17
- Year 3: (17.11%) 13
- Year 4: (19.74%) 15
- Year 5: (5.26%) 4
- Year 6: (23.68%) 18
Availability of after school club provision
According to survey responses, the vast majority of pupils go to school where there is after school club provision. Of 74 responses received, 93.2% responded ‘Yes’ when asked if their school has an after-school club.
Attendance at after school clubs
The numbers attending after-school clubs were much lower, however, with only 69.0% of 71 responses stating that they attend their after-school club. Of the 22 respondents who said that they did not go to an after-school club, 13 said the reason is because a parent/carer collects them, with a further 3 being collected by another family member. Other reasons provided were ‘I don’t want to go to after school club’, ‘I go to a sports club’, with one child indicating that the after-school club is too expensive to attend.
When asked how many days a week that they attended an after-school club (out of those who attend), the following responses were provided:
As is shown above, 34.8% of pupils accessing an after-school club (46 in total) attended one day a week, closely followed by 26.1% who attended thrice a week. Only 8.7% attended all 5 days a week.
In terms of the reason(s) for attending after school club, most children stated that it was because their parents are in work (see table below).
- My parents are in work: (88.64%) 39
- I like going to after school club: (9.09%) 4
- My friends go there: (2.27%) 1
- Other (please write in): (0.00%) 0
Enjoyment of after school provision
Of those who attend their after-school club, the vast majority of children like, or really like, the provision. In fact, only 3 respondents out of 44 indicated that they don’t like their after-school club and an additional 3 respondents stated that they don’t really like their afterschool, whilst 21 respondents indicated they really like after-school club.
Reasons for enjoying after-school club were listed as:
“I like it because it keeps me fit and healthy.”
“I like after school club because you get to colour and draw stuff. I like playing with my friends. I would like to be able to go outside more.”
“I like playing football in sports club.”
Reasons for not enjoying after-school club were listed as:
“I don’t like going I want to go home like everyone else it is boring.”
“None of my friends go to after school club. I often have to look after the little children. I would like to find a quiet place to myself and read or do some art work, but I can't because all the little children want me to play with them all of the time. I would like to play outside like we used to, but we now only have a tiny concrete area to play outside.”
After school club activities
A wide range of activities were provided when children were asked ‘what activities do you liked doing at after school club?’. These include:
- Art/ Craft
- Sports and physical activity
- Drawing and colouring
- Creative arts
- Computer games, Wii.
When asked what activities children would like to do at after-school club, a range of activities were mentioned, including the following:
- Craft: 6
- Computer games: 4
- Cooking: 5
- Football: 3
- Play outside: 2
- Hockey: 1
- Drama: 1
- Gardening: 2
- Dancing: 1
- Drawing: 1
COVID-19 appears to have altered the way that a substantial minority of children go to after-school club (see below). 42.2% of 45 respondents indicated that COVID-19 had changed the way children go to after-school club, with 57.8% stating there has been no effect.
Various reasons were stated for the change in how children access after-school clubs, with the following listed as the most common:
- Social distancing/bubbles: 3
- Closure or reduced hours: 2
- Change in parent working pattern so attending less: 1
- Concern about getting COVID-19: 0
Additional comments provided at the end of the survey expressed praise for the staff running the after-school provision along with how important after-school provision is for working parents. Other comments were:
- “I don't like it but I have to go. Mummy doesn't know what will happen when I get to secondary as there is no after school club there, but I’m too young to walk across town on my own.”
- “I wish Covid 19 would stop.”
- “After school club provision is critical for working parents.”
Secondary school survey
In total, 33 pupils completed the online survey across the county. The year group of each respondent is detailed below; as is shown, the most respondents were in Year 11 at 24.2%, with the fewest respondents in Year 8, Year 9 and Year 10. There were no responses from pupils in Year 7.
- Year 8: (9.1%) 3
- Year 9: (12.1%) 4
- Year 10: (12.1%) 4
- Year 11: (24.2%) 8
- Year 12: (12.1%) 4
- Year 13: (30.3%) 10
According to survey responses, 25.0% of 33 pupils, do not know if there are any after-school clubs provided at the school, with 9.4% stating there are 1 or 2 clubs. The most common response was 5-6 and 7-8 clubs, with 7 respondents each.
Attendance at after school clubs
The majority of respondents (32) do not attend any after-school clubs, with 56.3% stating they do not go to any after-school provision (see below).
In terms of the reason(s) for attending after school club, most young people stated that it was simply because they did not want to attend (see table below).
- I don’t want to go to any after school clubs: (44.44%) 8
- I go to a club not run by the school: (5.56%) 1
- I go to a sports club: (5.56%) 1
- I hang out with friends where I live: (5.56%) 1
- I have to catch the bus home: (5.56%) 1
- Other: (33.33%) 6
For those indicating ‘Other’, reasons listed were due to not liking the available provision, a lack of awareness there was provision available, and no provision being available. Of those who attend their after-school club, respondents (15 in total) were evenly split between once and twice a week (46.7%), with 6.7% attending three times a week.
Reasons for attending an after-school club were listed as follows:
- I like going to after school clubs: (92.86%) 13
- My friends go there: (7.14%) 1
Types of after school clubs provided
A diverse set of answers were provided in response to the question: ‘Which after school clubs do you go to?’. As is shown below, orchestra, creative writing, netball and robotics are the most common after-school clubs accessed by pupils in Pembrokeshire secondary schools, according to the survey.
- Robotics: 2
- Creative writing: 4
- Orchestra: 4
- Rugby: 1
- Football: 1
- Hockey: 1
- Minecraft club: 1
- Netball: 2
Pupils view on after school provision
Of those who attend an after-school club, 8 out of 12 respondents indicated that provision is Very Good or Excellent, with no respondent indicating that their after-school club is ‘Poor’ (see above). One individual responded that their after-school club needs better equipment.
When asked ‘what activities would you like to do at after-school club’, an extensive range of activities were provided.
- Rugby: 5.0% 3
- Football: 5.0% 3
- Hockey: 6.7% 4
- Netball: 5.0% 3
- Drama: 3.3% 2
- Gymnastics: 1.6% 1
- Computer Club: 8.4% 5
- Cooking: 8.4% 5
- Arts and Crafts: (10.1%) 6
- Singing: (3.3%) 2
- Beauty Club: (5.0%) 3
- Fitness Club: (6.7%) 4
- Homework: (3.3%) 2
- Film Making: (6.7%) 4
- Mountain Biking: (3.3%) 2
- DJ Skills: (3.3%) 2
- Just somewhere to relax after school: (3.3%) 2
- Other (written in next sheet): (10.7%) 6
Of those who wrote ‘Other’, English (writing/reading/poetry), History, environmental activities, tennis, badminton and climbing were all mentioned.
The pandemic’s impact on after-school provision
COVID-19 has, for many pupils, had a significant impact on their experience of after-school clubs. Although the most common response to ‘How has COVID-19 changed your experience of after school clubs?’ was ‘has not changed’, this was often from pupils who were not attending after-school clubs anyway. Many pupils indicated that COVID affected mindset to activities, or that there had been an outright reduction or closure of clubs.
- Reduced quality: 2
- Changed mindset to activity and clubs: 2
- Closure or reduction in clubs and activities: 2
- Concern about getting/passing on COVID-19: 1
- Hasn't changed: 3
- Don't know/unsure: 2
Additional comments provided at the end of the survey include:
“Due to the lack of face-to-face sessions because of Covid, classes also have been difficult to attend to regularly and I feel my education has impacted from it.”
“We aren't properly informed about clubs after school, by the time I find out they're full.”
Responses were received from 23 schools for the headteachers’ online survey, as listed below.
- Broad Haven CP School
- St Oswald's
- Cosheston VC School
- Stepaside CP School
- Golden Grove
- Tenby CiWVC Primary School
- Holy Name School
- Ysgol Caer Elen
- Hook C.P. School
- Ysgol Casblaidd
- Monkton Priory C.P. School
- Ysgol Glannau Gwaun
- Narberth CP School
- Ysgol Greenhill School
- Penrhyn CiW VC School
- Ysgol Gymunedol Maenclochog
- Prendergast CP School
- Ysgol Hafan Y Mor
- Spittal VC
- Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi
- St Aidan's V.A. CiW School
- Ysgol y Preseli
- St Marks VA CIW Primary School
The total responses per USOA are detailed below; as is shown, the most respondents were from schools in Pembrokeshire U001 and Pembrokeshire U003 (9). The fewest responses were from Pembrokeshire U002 at 5.
Headteachers were asked whether any of the following provision were currently in operation at their school at the time of answering the survey. Results are detailed in the table below.
As is shown below, nearly 87% of schools are currently providing free breakfast club, with close to half providing an after-school club. However, very few schools are providing paid for breakfast club, Flying Start or holiday provision, at 0%, 8.7%, and 8.7% respectively. It should be noted though that Flying Start provision is limited by external factors, namely, the postcode criteria set by Welsh government
- After-school childcare: 11 (47.83%)
- Wraparound childcare: 2 (8.70%)
- Playground: 5 (21.74%)
- Holiday childcare: 2 (8.70%)
- Free breakfast club: 20 (86.96%)
- Paid for breakfast club: 0 (0.00%)
- Flying Start: 2 (8.70%)
- Childminders: 13 (56.52%)
- Day nursery: 9 (39.13%)
- Other: 3 (13.04%)
Of those who selected ‘Other’, grandparents and after-school provision at another site were listed.
Headteacher views on childcare sufficiency
Headteachers were asked if, in their opinion, there is sufficient childcare available locally to cater for the childcare needs of families that attending school. Responses illustrate a mixed picture, with a plurality indicating that there is sufficient childcare available. However, 21.7% are also unsure of whether there is sufficient childcare, suggesting a not insignificant knowledge gap for Pembrokeshire schools.
Comments on childcare provision
When asked to provide further comments, many respondents indicated that there was insufficient childcare availability to meet demand due to settings already being full; nurseries, childminders and Cylch Meithrin/wraparound provision were all mentioned as being oversubscribed. Equally costs were mentioned as an issue. A respondent from Pembrokeshire U002 stated that:
“We are an area of high deprivation with EFSM about 40/45% but do not have flying start provision.”
In some instances, the quality or provision itself were criticised. One respondent from Pembrokeshire U001 wrote:
“Disappointed that a local childcare provider does not collect pupils at the end of the part-time session and this results in the pupils starting school when they are full time rather than part-time.”
Another from Pembrokeshire U003 expressed concern over quality of childcare:
“My concerns are more around the quality of the provision that is being offered in the town. This is from the experience that we have had with the provisions in question.”
This lack of supply and high demand for childcare provision is further evidenced through headteacher response to whether parents had approached the school regarding childcare in the previous two years. In the prior two years, 60.9% of headteachers had been approached by parents regarding childcare provision. Five responses mentioned parents requesting wraparound care, with four requesting additional information or support around non-school childcare including day nurseries and childminders.
For many of those who had been approached, COVID-19 and the impact of lockdowns was an important factor, with four respondents indicating that they were approached for additional support when after-school/before school provision was reduced or stopped during lockdown.
For example, one headteacher in Pembrokeshire U002 stated:
‘Our after School Club is run by an external provider called 'Simply Out Of School'. Parents contacted us during the pandemic as the club was closed and they rely on this provision. Also, the club currently only just covers its costs. It would be a problem if it was to close.’
Over half of headteachers asked do not have available space within their school to develop childcare provision (see below), with 13.0% stating they do not know. Only 34.8% said there was available space.
- Yes: (34.78%) 8
- No: (52.17%) 12
- Don't Know: (13.04%) 3
Of those who indicated there was enough space, one respondent detailed plans for a new Welsh school which will add childcare provision, with another noting that they are currently working with the Council to explore the possibility of offering a privately registered playgroup for private tender. Two other responses expressed plans to open up new childcare provision at Narberth School and Prendergast CP School, respectively.
With regards to the affordability of childcare, respondents provided a range of responses to the likelihood of families taking up childcare if it was offered. Five responses listed affordability as a major issue affecting demand; if provision was free, or at least cheap, they would expect high demand. Fourteen headteachers stated there would be continued, or even increased demand, if more childcare provision was made available. Two indicated that there would not be enough demand either due to already existing local provision or there being insufficient demand.
COVID-19’s impact on childcare provision
In terms of the impact of COVID-19, the impact on childcare provision was mixed. Nine respondents indicated that childcare provision is now unaffected, although five of these mentioned COVID-19 having a temporary impact on provision. Eight respondents indicated that provision has been reduced, with five of these responses mentioning staffing as the key reason. Two respondents listed lower uptake for provision in part due to parental concerns. One respondent was unsure due to being a new teacher and two were not applicable as they do not run any childcare provision.
When asked if they have noticed any trends in the demand for childcare over the past two years, 39.1% responded no, with 34.8% responding yes; 26.1% did not know.
Of those stating ‘yes’, five noted increased demand with key worker, vulnerable children and those new to the area and without family links noted as seeing particularly increased demand. One respondent noted that there had been a decline in after-school club use, though there has remained a core of regular, consistent users; for breakfast club there has been no decline, with a large group of regular users. Another respondent noted that COVID-19 remote learning requirements made the acute needs of keyworkers more apparent.
Finally, additional comments made at the end of the survey touched on a variety of pressing issues facing each locality. One respondent noted that it is very difficult to make firm plans at the moment due to not knowing what the near future holds for schools, with a respondent from Pembrokeshire U002 noting that extra space would help the school to provide extra childcare in a small rural setting. Further comments were from a headteacher in Pembrokeshire U003, who wrote:
‘The area has a high number of fsm/vulnerable pupils and would benefit from a flying start set up.’
Another, also from Pembrokeshire U003, stated:
‘After school clubs for most parents mean longer than 2 hours. Once the club crosses that threshold it has to be registered with CIW this inevitably means a lot of additional work for the 'club' and that the club has to cover costs. This drives up the price of attending the club and that has a very inhibiting impact on running and sustaining after school provision.’
Key findings from school surveys
- After school clubs are popular and broadly well-attended at primary and secondary school phases
- After-school club provision is vital for primary school children, with a lot of parents relying on this provision in order to work
- Many children have noticed impact of COVID-19 on provision, including primary-school age children, with headteachers also acknowledging the strain this has had on resources
- Free breakfast clubs are provided at a lot of settings, alongside roughly half of schools providing after-school care
- Headteachers, on the whole, believe there is enough provision available locally to meet demand for childcare; however, parents are still approaching schools attempting to increase wraparound provision.