Call For Schools To Stay Open During Holidays
A children's charity is calling on schools to keep their doors open because of a chronic shortage in holiday childcare causing chaos for working parents.
Research from 4Children finds that there is just one holiday club or childminder place for every 15 children - with fears that some young people will simply be left unsupervised.
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands are expected to turn to family and friends to help out with the childcare pressures.
Anne Longfield, chief executive of 4Children, said: "Few jobs fit with school hours and school terms and many parents find the long summer holidays a particular childcare challenge.
"With meticulous planning, some parents are able to organise a combination of childcare to cover the school summer holidays using childminders, holiday clubs, annual leave and family and friends to babysit.
"But these are simply not options for all parents who may live a long way from their family or who cannot secure any childcare place, let alone an affordable one."
She said she wanted to see schools step in and help by keeping their doors open with holiday playschemes for their local community.
She pointed out that all the political parties are promising to extend school hours in their election manifestos - but many parents needed help now.
The charity wants to see a guarantee of an 8-6pm "wraparound care" for four to 14-year-olds in and around schools including during the holidays.