Today London Councils, which represents the 32 London boroughts and the City of London, has issued a report Hidden value: a report exploring the role and future of maintained nursery schools in London which sets out the role London's 80 maintained nursery schools play providing 8,760 funded places to 2-, 3- and 4-year-old children across 24 London boroughs. It highlights their importance in supporting the most disadvantaged children and closing the disadvantage gap with their more advantaged peers. It also provides case studies of how nursery schools are crucial in supporting children with SEND.
Early Education welcomes London Council's call for an urgent solution to the funding problem facing maintained nursery schools, whose transitionary funding is not guaranteed beyond 2019-20. Our Chief Executive, Beatrice Merrick, said:
"Government is asking councils not to make hasty decisions about the future of maintained nursery schools, but waiting for the next spending review is not an option, as this report shows. With increasing numbers of nursery schools in deficit, even with the supplementary funding, and no indication of what will happen after April 2020, schools have no indication of their likely budgets for next academic year, when the government's own guidance says they should budget three years ahead. In advance of the spending review, government needs to make a commitment to nursery school funding from 2020 onwards."