Labour manifesto ‘guarantees’ primary school childcare until 6pm

Labour manifesto 'guarantees' primary school childcare until 6pm

A Labour plan to bring back guaranteed childcare from 8am to 6pm in all primary schools has made it into the party’s manifesto.

First mooted in September 2013 the policy has since been sidelined as the party focused on criticising unqualified teachers and opposing the government’s free schools programme.

But “wraparound childcare” is back on the agenda. A single sentence in Labour’s education manifesto, released last week, has become an entire paragraph in the party’s main manifesto, launched today in Manchester.

The document says: “We will introduce a legal guarantee for parents of primary school children to access wraparound childcare from 8am to 6pm through their local primary school.

“As well as helping parents, this will provide children with before and after-school clubs and activities, helping to raise their aspirations and attainment.”

The manifesto also states that a new not for profit organisation, called the National Primary Childcare Service, will be created to promote the “voluntary and charitable” delivery of extracurricular activities.

If the pledge is implemented by a Labour government post-May 7, it won’t be the first time the party has legislated to guarantee 8am to 6pm care.

Under Labour’s extended schools programme, scrapped in 2010 by the Coalition government, 99 per cent of schools were offering before and after-school childcare – although the proportion offering the full ‘8am to 6pm’ offer was much lower.

Although the Labour manifesto does not include details of how the pledge, or the new organisation, would be funded, Labour has previously said the care itself would be paid-for by parents in the same way they pay for private arrangements.

MP Lucy Powell wrote on LabourList in 2013 that parents would have to pay for the care, with those qualifying for childcare support receiving through tax credits and childcare vouchers.