Being a girl who takes after her father in planning for the future (anyone who has read his blog about my sister should appreciate his supreme level of organisation) I have started thinking about the childcare we’ll need once I go back to work in October 2012. So we’re now on the waiting list for the nursery on campus, but looking at the prices isn’t half a shock. For a child under two it costs £777 a month full-time (for over twos it is £40 cheaper a month). I was aware that we would need to pay for childcare, but I hadn’t fully appreciated how much it would cost – that’s almost as much as my mortgage! If we had two (and I was convinced it was twins until I had my first scan) then it almost wouldn’t really be financially sensible for me to return to work at all, and I’m not on a bad wage.

OK, so we should get child benefit (I’m very unclear about how the changes to this are going to work in practice) and can get childcare vouchers tax-free, which helps, but that’s a huge hit on our disposable income. All until they go to school, as that’s free (at least at the moment!). So for four years they’re expensive, then there’s 13 years of free education followed by having to pay for their higher education at ridiculously increasing costs. £777 a month is £9,324 a year so it is equivalent to the fees Universities are able to charge from next year.

Is there any limit on what childcare costs as the Government are imposing on HE? I’m not even sure how typical these costs are compared to other places.


  1. I will be paying for two full time in September. £1100 per month – ridiculous. And no help that will really make a difference. They say they make it easy to go back to work but the main issue of childcare is never addressed 😦 good luck with it!!

  2. That’s not too bad a price – we pay £561 a month for 3 days a week (£48 a day, open for 50 weeks and cost split into 12 months).
    The term after they turn 3 you get 15 hours of free childcare a week.
    You also need to factor in the cost going up… Ours has gone up £2 a day in the past year.

  3. Don’t think they’re completely free when they’re at school either – they knock off at 3, and have half the year off, which you have to cover somehow. There was a time when my 2 were 1 and 3 when I literally came to work to pay the nursery – it does get slightly better when they get to 3, you get some government funding

  4. Have you ever considered starting or joining an existing babysitting cooperative? They are self-run neighborhood/village/area organizations where the members trade childcare. They are easy to start, save members an incredible amount of money, and ultimately end up building stronger communities. Check out to help you get started and manage once it’s off the ground!

    • That’s an interesting alternative, but I’m not sure how well it would work as we would be looking for full-time (or nearly full-time) childcare and so there wouldn’t be the hours in the week for us to be able to reciprocate enough to cover it. Also your site is for the US only and we’re UK based 🙂

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