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Publication - Research Publication

Drivers and barriers to uptake of early learning and childcare among two year olds

Published: 7 Mar 2017
Part of:
Children and families, Research
ISBN:
9781786527035

Research commissioned from Ipsos MORI to examine factors affecting the uptake of free early learning and childcare (ELC) for two-year-olds.

46 page PDF

610.5kB

46 page PDF

610.5kB

Contents
Drivers and barriers to uptake of early learning and childcare among two year olds
Appendix A: In-depth interviews with parents: discussion guide

46 page PDF

610.5kB

Appendix A: In-depth interviews with parents: discussion guide

Drivers And Barriers To ELC

Introduction (5 Mins)

  • Introduce self, Ipsos MORI
  • Thanks for taking part
  • Duration of interview/group - it won't take any longer than one hour
  • Explain that Ipsos MORI is an independent research company. We've been asked by the Scottish Government to speak to parents about their childcare arrangements and their views on the childcare available in their area for 2 year olds.
  • As with any research we do, everything you say will be completely confidential. We'll write a report for the Scottish Government but we won't use your name or write anything that could identify you. And we won't tell anyone what you, as an individual, said.
  • Recording - will be transcribed for research team's use only, securely stored and deleted after project.
  • Check Consent To Record

  • Ground rules for pairs/groups - one at a time for recorder; moderator role - ensure cover everything and everyone gets chance to have a say.
  • Any questions?

Background On Participant’s Circumstances (5 Mins)

So to start with, I'd like to begin by learning a bit more about you and your family. Can you tell me a little bit about…

  • Who you currently live with?
  • Probe: Ages of all children in home
  • And are you working at the moment? [IF YES: And how many hours do you work a week?]
  • As I mentioned, we're particularly interested in childcare for 2 year olds, so I'd now like to talk about you and [Child’s Name] - can you tell me about a typical week in the life of you and [Child’s Name] ?
  • Probe: current formal and informal childcare arrangements; whether there is family nearby; partner/spouse's employment status
  • Over the next couple of years, as [Child’s Name] gets older, how do you think your typical week will change? What will the main changes be?
  • Probe: any plans for / changes to childcare arrangements; finding work; living arrangements?
Awareness Of ELC Eligibility (10-15 Mins)

I'd now like to talk a bit about your thoughts on the types of childcare that are available for young children.

Not Aware Of Free ELC

  • First of all, what do you know about the different types of childcare that are available in this area?
  • Probe: availability; easy/difficult to get a space; local authority or private nurseries, playgroups, childminders; cost; opinions on the different types available.
  • [If Not Previously Mentioned] And does [Child’s Name] attend any childcare at the moment?
  • [If Attending Other Childcare] Can you tell me a little bit more about the childcare [Child’s Name] is going to just now?
    (Double Check That Child Is Not Receiving Free ELC Provision)
  • Probe: cost; hours; location; how did you hear about it; what is good/bad about it, if anything?
  • Are you aware of any free childcare that [Child’s Name] would be able to go to?
  • Probe: what have you heard about it, how did you hear about it, what do you understand about the provision (hours, location etc.)

Show Participant SG ELC Poster And Briefly Explain Provision Of ELC For Eligible 2 Year Olds

  • Have you seen this poster anywhere before? Where? Have you heard anything about this before?
  • Probe If Poster Has Jogged Some Memory Of It: which aspects were you aware of / not aware of? Where have you heard about it?

  • What questions would you have after seeing poster?
  • And what do you think about this?
  • Probe: is this something that you would use - why/why not? Any advantages / disadvantages for [Child’s Name]? Any concerns about this? Would you have any other questions about this - what else would you like to know? Who do you think this would appeal to (if not them)?
  • More generally, how do you tend to find out about the things that are happening for young children (for example, mother and toddler groups, toddler classes) in your local area?
  • Probe: word of mouth, posters in GPs/other places, health professionals. Refer to any groups etc that were mentioned above when they were discussing what their typical week looks like and ask how they found out about them.
  • How much contact do you have with your health visitor or any other professionals who are involved with you and your family?
  • And have any of these people ever talked to you about the types of childcare or other activities for young children that are available in your local area?

Aware Of Free ELC But Have Not Taken It Up

  • First of all, what do you know about the different types of childcare that are available in this area?
  • Probe: availability; easy/difficult to get a space; local authority or private nurseries, playgroups, childminders; cost; opinions on the different types available.
  • And are you aware of any free childcare that [Child’s Name] would be able to go to?
  • [If Aware, Probe: what have you heard about it, how did you hear about it, what do you understand about the provision (hours, location etc.)]

Show Participant SG ELC Poster And Briefly Explain Provision Of ELC For Eligible 2 Year Olds

  • Have you seen this poster anywhere before? Where?
  • Probe: which aspects were you aware of / not aware of? What questions would you have after seeing poster? Who could you ask? Who do you think this would appeal to (if not them)?
  • What did you think about it when you first heard about it?
  • Did you think it sounded like something that you would use - why/why not? Any advantages / disadvantages for [Child’s Name]? Any concerns about it? Was there anything else you wanted to know?
  • When you heard about this provision of free childcare for two year olds, did you try to find out any more about it?
  • If No Probe: Why was that? Would you know who to ask if you did want to find out more?

  • If Yes Probe: what did you try to find out more about - e.g. eligibility, availability of places, how to apply; how did you find out more about it - easy / difficult to find more information; did you get the information you needed?
  • And did you apply for a place?
  • Probe If Yes: how did you decide where to apply? how easy/difficult was application process; would anything have made it easier; did you have all the information you needed; how helpful were any staff at the childcare facility that you dealt with?
  • Most parents in Scotland have not taken up the offer of free childcare for 2 year olds, so we're interested to find out why that might be. Can you tell me some of the main reasons why you didn't take up the offer?
  • If Say Don’t Need It, Explore Why Not Probe Fully
  • Probe Fully: Any concerns about this - not suitable for child, too young for ELC, quality of childcare in local area; would rather look after child myself; don't know how to apply; available hours/time of day childcare offered not suitable; travel costs/difficulties; costs; type of childcare offered; offering of 600 hrs not enough; stigma?
  • What, if anything, would have encouraged you to take up the offer?
  • Probe If Not Already Mentioned: More flexible hours; more hours; location; better facilities; easier to apply?

  • Do you think there would be any advantages / disadvantages for [Child’s Name] if they attended the childcare?
  • Probe Briefly: learning and social skills; spending time with other children; different environment, toys, play, care, practical help with feeding, toilet training, facilities etc.

  • Will you be sending [Child’s Name] to nursery or another type of childcare when they are three or four years old?

Have Taken Up Free ELC

  • First of all, what do you know about the different types of childcare that are available in this area?
  • Probe: availability; easy/difficult to get a space; local authority or private nurseries, playgroups, childminders; cost; opinions on the different types available
  • I believe you are currently taking up the offer of free childcare for two year olds. Can you tell me how you first became aware of it?
  • Probe: Where/what/who; how useful was information?
  • Did you see or hear any (other) adverts about it, or hear anyone else talk about it? Prompt: posters, radio, newspapers, website, GP, health visitor

Show Participant SG ELC Poster

  • Have you seen this poster anywhere before? Where?
  • Probe: What questions would you have after seeing poster?
  • Can you remember what your first thoughts were when you heard about it?
  • Probe: any advantages and disadvantages (for [Child’s Name], for them, for their partner, siblings, others); any concerns?
  • When you first heard about it, did you try to find out any more?
  • If Yes Probe: what did you try to find out more about - e.g. eligibility, availability of places, how to apply; how did you find out more about it - easy / difficult to find more information; did you get the information you needed?

  • If No Probe: why was that? Was that because you felt you had enough information already or because you weren't sure how to find out more?

  • And what were some of the main reasons you took up the offer?
  • Probe: Benefits for child (education, play, social); siblings; friends were doing it; time off - e.g. to look for work; look for courses, training, education, look after other family; housework; meet friends/family; time for other support, e.g family, parenting, employment and training support; relax.
  • [If Not Previously Mentioned] And can you tell me how you went about finding and choosing a nursery/provider?
  • Probe: what sources of information did you use; how much choice was there; how did you decide which one to choose; did you ask anyone else for advice?
  • How did you find the process of applying for a place?
  • Probe: easy/difficult; did you have all the information you needed; did you need any support/help from anyone; would anything have made it easier; how helpful were any staff at the childcare facility that you dealt with?

Perceptions Of Benefits (10-15 Mins)

Ask All

I now going to ask a few questions about the potential benefits of childcare.

  • In general, what do you think the benefits of childcare are/might be?
  • Unprompted At Start Then Probe On General Benefits For: two year-olds, parents, siblings, is there anyone else who might benefit?

  • If Not Already Mentioned: And what do you think the benefits are/might be for your two year-old? For yourself? For your partner? For your other children? For others?

  • If Taken Up Free ELC: Have there been any unexpected benefits as a result of [Child’s Name] attending childcare?
  • I'm going to read out some things that people sometimes say are potential benefits of childcare for 2 year olds - though this doesn't necessarily mean they are true. Can you tell me which of these you think are the most important and those that are the least important to you:

Read Out The Following Cards And Sort Into Three Piles - Most Important, Least Important , Neither/Nor:

  • It can help young children improve their language and learning skills
  • It can help improve young children's social skills
  • It can help improve young children's behaviour
  • It allows young children to spend time with other children
  • It allows young children to spend time with other adults
  • It helps better prepare young children for school, when the time comes
  • It gives young children the opportunity to use different toys, books and outdoor equipment
  • It gives young children the opportunity to try new activities and experiences
  • It allows parents to work, train or study
  • It allows parents to work more hours
  • It allows parents to get access to other support services, such as a parenting class
  • It allows parents to access support with finding a job or support to get on a course
  • It gives parents a break
  • It reduces the burden on other family members or friends who may provide childcare
  • It gives parents a chance to meet other parents in the area
  • It gives parents the time to do household chores
  • It gives parents time to spend with their other children
  • Probe: why important/not important; would free ELC help achieve this in general/for you/your child
  • Can you think of any other benefits of childcare: In general? For [CHILD'S NAME] ? For you?

Perceptions Of Disadvantages (10-15 Mins)

And now I'm going to ask some questions about the potential problems of childcare.

  • So, in general, what do you think some of the problems of childcare are/might be?
  • Unprompted At Start Then Probe On General Problems For: two year-olds, parents, siblings, others

  • If Have Not Already Mentioned: And what do you think the problems might be for your two year-old? For yourself? For your partner? For your other children? For others?

  • If Taken Up Free ELC: Have there been any unexpected problems that have happened as a result of [Child’s Name] attending childcare?
  • So again, like we did for the benefits, I'm going to read out some things that people sometimes say are potential problems of childcare - though this doesn't necessarily mean they are true. Can you tell me which of these you think are the biggest problems and those that are less of a problem for you in your local area:

Read Out The Following Cards And Sort Into Three Piles - Biggest Problems, Not A Problem, Neither/Nor:

  • It can be too long a day/too tiring for 2 year olds
  • It means young children spend too much time away from their parents/guardians
  • Two year-olds are better cared for in a home environment
  • The free hours offered are not long enough for parents/guardians to work
  • The start/finish times of childcare are not flexible
  • There is a lack of free childcare at different times of the day, at weekends or during school holidays
  • The places that offer free childcare are too far away from me
  • Travel costs are too expensive for me to take my child to childcare
  • The quality of the staff or management at childcare facilities is poor
  • It is confusing to know if my child qualifies for free childcare
  • Probe: why a problem
  • What other concerns, if any, do you have about childcare: In general? For [Child’s Name] ? For you?
  • What do you think about the fact that this free childcare is only available to some two year-olds?
  • Probe: why do you think this is; does it make you more or less likely to want to take it up; does it create any problems; do they think there would be any 'stigma' attached to going (because it is mainly available to people who are unemployed or on low incomes)

Uptake Of Free ELC (5 Mins)

Finally, I'd like to ask you a few things about the uptake of free childcare for two year-olds in Scotland and how you think it could be improved, if at all.

  • So far the uptake of free childcare for two year olds is Scotland has been much lower than expected - why do you think this is?
  • Probe: lack of awareness; lack of nurseries/facilities; stigma; parents do not want to use childcare; inflexible times/hours; not enough hours
  • What do you think would encourage more parents and guardians to take up the free childcare entitlement of two year olds?
  • Probe: improved advertising; more/improved nurseries/facilities; more flexible times/hours; increased eligibility; increased hours; improve application process
  • If Not Taken Up Free ELC: What would make the biggest difference to you, personally?
  • And what do you think would be the best ways to let parents and guardians know about the free childcare entitlement for two year-olds?
  • Probe: TV, radio, posters on buses, social media, doctor's office etc; clarity/level of information provided.

Optional Exercise ( If Time)

  • So to finish off, just for fun, what would the ideal nursery or Early Learning Centre look like to you?
  • Probe: where would it be, what facilities, what age children, what hours, what staff, what other features?

Close

That's all of the questions I wanted to ask you today. Before we finish off, is there anything else you would like to say or ask that we haven't covered?

Thank And Close.


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