We welcome the Chancellor's announcement of an additional £66m for the early years entitlment hourly rate, and the additional £700m for SEND. It shows government has recognised that costs are rising for all early years providers and that funding cannot stand still.
We await the detail of how it will be allocated, but it our concern is that this amount is unlikely to be enough to cover the actual costs of delivery of the entitllement, leaving providers with the dilemma of increasing charges to parents or becoming increasingly unsustainable.
We regret that yesterday's spending announcements gave no indication to maintained nursery schools about their funding levels after the summer of 2020. A resolution of their funding needs was promised three years ago, and has yet to be delivered, leading to a steady trickle of closures. The remaining 390 maintained nursery schools urgently need to know that their funding is assured for the long term so that they can concentrate on delivering outstanding early childhood education and care to children in some of our most disadvantaged communities. We hope that the new early years minister, Michele Donelan, will make this an early priority.