Money Wellness
Image of young children playing football
category iconcost of living
calendar icon18 Jul 2023

Rising cost of holiday childcare heaps more pressure on working parents

The cost of holiday childcare across the country has risen by 3% in the past year with an average place now costing £157 per week – 2.3 times higher than what parents pay for after-school clubs during term time – according to a survey by children’s charity Coram.

Parents now face a cost of £943 for six weeks of holiday childcare for each school age child.

And while prices are increasing, availability is decreasing, with the survey revealing that just under a quarter (24%) of local authorities have enough holiday childcare – a decrease of 7% on last year.

Availability for holiday childcare for disabled children has also continued to fall, with 5% of local authorities reporting they have enough to meet local demand, down from 7% in 2022.

There are significant differences in the cost and availability of holiday childcare depending on where families live. With parents in inner London pay up to 25% more for places than those in the East of England (£177 per week compared to £142). There are also huge price differences within the same area, e.g. in the East Midlands, where some holiday childcare places cost 104% more than the national average, while others are 58% less.


Free school holiday clubs for low-income families

The Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) programme provides free holiday club places and healthy meals for children up to year 11 from low-income families – primarily those who get free school meals during termtime.

However, councils have some flexibility to allow children not receiving free school meals to pay to attend.

There are over 8,000 club to choose from in England offering HAF places and more than 600,000 children attended one last summer.


How does it work?

HAF is funded by the government and run by councils who help deliver the holiday clubs.

The clubs offer activities such as arts, sports, drama, and music. Activities can also include trips out and other valuable learning experiences.

They also provide healthy free meals, nutritional education, and physical activities on a daily basis.


When are they available?

HAF clubs run for four weeks over the summer. They also run for one week over Christmas and Easter school holidays.

For more information or to find your local HAF, contact your local council which can be found at

Avatar of Caroline Chell

Caroline Chell

Caroline has worked in financial communications for more than 10 years, writing content on subjects such as pensions, mortgages, loans and credit cards, as well as stockbroking and investment advice.

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