Despite their importance in the context of childcare policy, quantitative measurements of families’ use of and need for childcare can be difficult to obtain for smaller sub-groups of the population, such as those from particular minority ethnic backgrounds or families including children with special educational needs.

This study, summarised in this report, aims to explore the ways in which experiences of and views about childcare differ between families in England with different ethnic origins.

The bulk of the report is based on analysis of data from two very similar large-scale surveys carried out by The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) on behalf of the Department for Education and Skills (DfES); the Baseline survey of parents’ demand for childcare, published in 2000, and the Repeat study of parent’s demand for childcare, published in 2002. Together, more than 10,000 families were interviewed for these surveys.


  • Key findings
  • Background
  • Key points from the existing literature
  • Main findings
  • Use of Childcare Among Families with Children with Special Educational Needs
  • Suggestions for further research among these groups
  • The New Parents’ Demand for Childcare and Early Years Services Study