Data set from Childcare and early years survey of parents

Percentage of families with school-age children using childcare during school holidays, 2008 to 2021

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The proportion of families with school-aged children using any childcare, formal childcare, informal childcare, no childcare during school holidays by year. 

The Technical Report which accompanies this report provides further methodological information on the survey design, sample, fieldwork, data analysis, interpretation, weighting and definitions used.

  • The survey uses a broad definition of ‘childcare’: Parents were asked to include any time that the child was not with a resident parent, a resident parent’s current (or ex-) husband, wife, or partner, or at school. In order to remind parents to include all possible people or organisations that may have looked after their children, they were shown a list of childcare providers: nursery schools, nursery classes, reception classes, special day schools, day nurseries, playgroups, childminders, nannies or au-pairs, baby-sitters, breakfast clubs, after-school clubs and holiday clubs, grandparents, older brother/sisters, other relatives, friends or neighbours. Estimates for the use of ‘any childcare’ and ‘informal childcare’ prior to the 2019 wave include ex-husbands/wives/partners as a form of childcare, and this should be borne in mind when making comparisons across survey years.
  • Detailed information about childcare was collected for one ‘reference child’ in each household- Because of the constraint of interview length, detailed information on the use and needs of all children in the family could not be collected (unless the child was an only child). Rather, in families where there were two or more children, we obtained a broad picture about the childcare arrangements of all children, before asking more detailed questions about one randomly selected child.
  • Detailed information was collected for childcare use during term-time periods: As childcare arrangements may vary between school term-time and school holidays, most of the questions focused on a reference term-time week (which was the most recent term-time week). A separate set of questions was asked about the use of childcare during the school holidays.

Data set details

Early years
Childcare and early years survey of parents
Release type
Geographic levels
  • Proportion
  • Childcare type
Time period
2008 to 2021

Data set preview

Table showing first 5 rows, from underlying data
2008Calendar yearNationalE92000001EnglandAny childcare50
2008Calendar yearNationalE92000001EnglandFormal childcare22
2008Calendar yearNationalE92000001EnglandInformal childcare35
2008Calendar yearNationalE92000001EnglandNo childcare used50
2009Calendar yearNationalE92000001EnglandAny childcare51

Variables in this data set

Table showing all 2 variables
Variable nameVariable description
Type_of_childcareChildcare type


  1. x is used when the data is unavailable. This is used when the data was not collected in that year.
  2. Caution should be taken when comparing 2021 figures with previous years due to the potential impact of COVID disruptions on the 2021 data
  3. 2010 data corresponds to 2010-11, 2011 data corresponds to 2011-12, 2012 data corresponds to 2012-13, 2014 data corresponds to 2014-15. There was no survey in 2013, 2015 and 2016. 2019 survey was with families with children aged 0-4 and so the data are not directly comparable. 2020 data is presented separately in the supporting files due to a limited sample caused by COVID-19 disruption, limiting comparisons.
  4. Estimates for the use of ‘any childcare’ and ‘informal childcare’ prior to the 2019 wave include ex-husbands/wives/partners as a form of childcare, and this should be borne in mind when making comparisons across survey years
  5. z refers to an observation that is not applicable. This is used for 2019 data as this was completed by parents of 0-4s only.

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