News Archive

Fire safety has to be one of your top priorities in any business, but when...read more

Get ready to be inspired by the leading influencers and suppliers from across...read more

The Nursery Catering Company (NCC) has launched its summer vegetarian and...read more

An event for everyone in the early years community will be opening its doors...read more

The minister for childcare and early years in Scotland, Mark McDonald, revealed...read more

Children have voted Brussel Sprouts their least favourite vegetable and...read more

Children’s centres have seen their budgets fall by over a third in the...read more

Childcare minister Sam Gyimah has announced £5m of funding to schools so...read more

Over 2,000 people have already signed the petition on Change.org launched by...read more

Nurseries are being warned to check the security of their webcams, in the wake...read more

Nursery staff and childminders will be expected to report pre-school children...read more

The number of children attending nurseries in Britain has risen by 6.5 per cent...read more

Young children who take part in fun fruit and vegetable games at nursery, are...read more

Childcare and Education Minister Sam Gyimah, has called on nurseries to do more...read more

After holding a consultation, the Government has confirmed that nurseries,...read more

Bright Horizons Family Solutions has opened its first ‘super...read more

Inspections of nurseries and childminders rated as ‘require...read more

The head of a charity, which works to break the link between family income and...read more

The Welsh Government has published its draft ten-year plan outlining its aim to...read more

Childcare providers will have their funding withdrawn if they do not...read more

The Government has launched a consultation on the Early Years Pupil Premium and...read more

Over two-thirds of nurseries and childminders fear the new Tax-Free Childcare...read more

Early years regulator, Ofsted, has clarified and simplified its essential...read more

Children 1st Day Nurseries has purchased four of the ten nurseries owned by The...read more

Bertram nursery chain has bought the Oranges and Lemons nursery group, a chain...read more

High levels of scarlet fever are continuing across England with 405 new cases...read more

Ofsted’s chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw, has called on early years...read more

The Old Station Nursery in Innsworth has won its fight to get its Ofsted...read more

The nursery sector continued to attract buyers during 2013, resulting in very...read more

Morton Michel, the leading childcare insurance provider in the UK, is...read more

News

Rise in number of children attending nurseries in the UK

The number of children attending nurseries in Britain has risen by 6.5 per cent and the nurseries market has increased by four per cent and is now worth £4.9bn.

The latest data from healthcare market intelligence provider LaingBuisson, shows demand for nurseries rose in 2013/14, due to an improved economy and an expansion of Government subsidised places which saw many more children attend nurseries during the year.

Despite this rise published in LaingBuisson's Children’s Nurseries UK Market Report (13th ed.), there was no real growth contribution from prices, however, as nursery fees increased by just below three per cent on average in 2013/14, close to economy inflation (RPI) over the period.

Author of the report, economist Philip Blackburn, said: “Growth within the children’s nursery sector appears to be building a head of steam in line with economic wellbeing, and supported by optimistic expectations of future prosperity from many nursery businesses and investors.

“Overall, positive demand drivers going forward support market expansion at a reasonable rate, supported by favourable economic and investment conditions, also by progressive Government funding policy approaching a general election, but dependent on the availability of additional nursery staff.

“However, longer term demand drivers for nurseries are less certain, and as a mature market, demand and supply is vulnerable to cyclical shifts. It is also a sector where regular and ongoing political and regulatory changes may have a significant impact on prosperity at any time.”

The report revealed that stronger economic growth, as well as a continued rise in employed mothers, and a cyclical high for the early years population, helped lift penetration by children’s nurseries to an estimated 15.7 per cent of all under 5s at mid-2014 (June/July).

This is the highest rate since pre-recession at the start of 2008 when it was 16 per cent. The report highlights that stronger demand from the under 3s, which saw penetration move up from 11.8 per cent to 13.2 per cent between mid-2013 and mid-2014, was driven by the Government’s wider funding of places for two year olds, as children’s nurseries have accommodated more than half (over 55 per cent) of the total places now available.

Higher demand for nursery services was largely absorbed by existing capacity, highlighted by a rise in average occupancy of nurseries by at least two percentage points over the year.

However, the total UK nursery stock (number of nurseries) also increased, the first of significance since the mid-2000s, as a large number of small to medium-sized nursery businesses have expanded their capacity locally or regionally. Some 425 nursery groups (those with three or more nurseries) operating in the UK accounted for 24.6 per cent of capacity at mid-2014, increasing from 22.7 per cent a year earlier, confirming that further corporatisation within the children’s nursery market is driving capacity growth.

Looking ahead, LaingBuisson predicts economic conditions will be favourable for the nursery sector, including solid economic growth, high employment, and expected increased funding from the Government as more places for two-year-olds are rolled out, and wider relief to the working population is projected through new tax credits in the medium to long term.

At the same time, LaingBuisson recognises there will be risks to growth, including a decrease in the under 5s population probably sooner than expected following a recent sharp drop in the UK birth rate, potential over-crowding of capacity in some regions, staffing and skills shortages as capacity expands, and increased dependency by nurseries on Government subsidies for two, three and four-year-olds. Ofsted, the sector’s regulator, could also influence demand through its inspection strategy.