Schools nurseries should stay open 8-6 to help parents with childcare, says Education Minister Elizabeth Truss

Government wants to give parents a choice that fits in with modern living

Schools should be “open all hours” to offer parents the kind of childcare choice that fits in with modern living, the Government declared on Thursday.

Speaking at the Family and Childcare Trust, Education Minister Elizabeth Truss urged them to stay open from 8am until 6pm - giving parents the opportunity of four extra hours of childcare,  At present, many only open from 9am until 3pm.

Ms Truss said that schools were responsible for providing about a third of the childcare market - some 800,000 places – and could charge extra for opening longer.

She also called on private and voluntary providers of nurseries to expand - and use new planning freedoms to increase the number of places they offer.

“We want to see more school nurseries open from 8-6, giving working parents more flexibility and choice,” she said.

“I want parents to get the childcare they need, where they want it, at the time they need it, provided by people they trust, at a cost they can afford.  I want it to be a real choice so that each family - of any shape or size - can work out what’s best for them and their children.”

She said at present parents whose schools only opened from 9am to 3pm often had to make several different arrangements to make sure their children had care throughout the working day.