The True Cost of School Holiday Childcare

Childcare costs in the UK can be a significant financial burden for many families, particularly during school holidays when parents need to arrange alternative care for their children. As a proud employer of many working parents, we have analysed the costs of childcare during summer holidays and half-terms, drawing on the insights provided by the Coram Holiday Childcare Survey 2022.

The Cost of Childcare During School Holidays:

According to the Coram Holiday Childcare Survey 2022, the average cost of a week’s worth of holiday childcare across the UK is £148. Considering that the total number of summer holidays and half terms span up to 15 weeks in a year (depending on the school), the total cost for one child can amount to £2,220. For families with two children, this cost doubles to £4,440. This emphasises the financial strain that childcare expenses can place on households during extended breaks from school.

RegionPrice per Week
South East£157.25
Yorkshire and Humberside£150.38
East Midlands£149.83
South West£149.80
East of England£138.52
North West£137.77
North East£137.48
West Midlands£134.83
GB (Great Britain)£147.83

*Data collected from the Coram 2022 Holiday Childcare Survey

Childcare Costs in Relation to Average UK Salary:

To put these childcare costs into perspective, we wanted to compare these costs with the average UK salary. 2022 data from Statista reveals that the average monthly take-home pay in the UK is £2,205.

When comparing the average UK salary with the cost of childcare during school holidays, it becomes apparent that childcare expenses represent a significant proportion of one parent’s income. For instance, the average UK family that has two children would incur an average weekly cost of £296, resulting in their monthly childcare expenses amounting to a staggering £1,280. This represents over 58% of one parent’s average full-time take-home pay. With the raising costs of mortgages, rent and bills it suggests working parents are struggling to meet rising costs.

One of the biggest concerns raised to our founder, Melissa Gauge, is that “Women are paying to return to work – i.e., childcare costs more than they earn” and The school day finishes at 3 pm – often when the afternoon work session is only beginning.”

The figures highlighted above also don’t take into account the year-round expenses of before and after-school care. These challenges highlight the importance of flexible working solutions that accommodate the schedules of both parents and children.

Regional Disparities in Childcare Costs:

By analysing the latest data from the Coram Holiday Childcare Survey 2022 and comparing this to Statista’s regional salary data, we can identify the regional disparities in monthly childcare costs across the UK for the average family with two children. 

RegionChildcare Per MonthFull-time Monthly take-home payCosts as a % of earnings
South East£1,362£2,28659.56%
East Midlands£1,298£2,05463.18%
South West£1,297£2,11161.45%
East of England£1,200£2,17555.15%
North West£1,193£2,07357.54%
North East£1,191£2,00859.29%
West Midlands£1,168£2,12654.92%
GB (Great Britain)£1,280£2,20558.05%

We found that families in Yorkshire, East Midlands and Wales are experiencing the biggest disparity between their salary and rising childcare costs, with monthly childcare expenses costing over 60% of one parent’s salary. Even parents in London, who typically earn significantly more than parents in all other regions and are paying the most for childcare per week (£158) are still spending over 50% of one person’s salary.

Addressing the Challenges:

Our founder, Melissa, further explains how SpareMyTime supports working parents, “We’ve worked hard with lawyers, to create the most innovative, flexible, supportive employment model we could.” This approach enables their team to carry out their work when and where they want, allowing them to manage their childcare responsibilities effectively. Melissa emphasises the importance of fostering a culture of understanding and support, stating, “We all live and breathe the juggle around the kids’ holidays, so we can all support one another and create solutions to make sure everyone has the best balance possible.”

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