Early Years minister Nadhim Zahawi has today announced that the DfE have cleared with the Treasury an exceptional agreement to provide £24 million in supplementary funding for maintained nursery schools for the summer term 2020. Although a long-term funding solution will still have to await the outcome of the spending review in due course, ministers have recognised that nursery schools needed the certainty of funding for the full school year when offering places to children for 2019-20.
Lucy Powell MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Nursery Schools, Nursery and Reception Classes said:
““This is welcome news from the Minister and I congratulate him on securing this down-payment to ensure the future of maintained nursery schools. This funding will ensure that nurseries have places to offer children for the next academic year, giving certainty to nursery heads and confidence to parents.“Nursery schools are the jewel in the social mobility crown, closing the gap between disadvantaged children and their better off peers pre-school. This welcome respite about their future sustainability is a good thing. We must now see a firm commitment in the Spending Review, to ensure that nursery schools have the security and stability they need to grow and thrive in future years.”
Beatrice Merrick, Chief Executive of Early Education, which has been leading the campaign for a long-term funding solution, said:
“The minister has clearly been working hard to secure this very welcome continuation of supplementary funding for maintained nursery schools to ensure admissions decisions can be made with a degree of security about funding for the full school year in 2019-20, if not for the full 2020-21 financial year. We know headteachers, governors and local authorities will still be on tenterhooks for long-term funding solution that allows them to budget for the future – especially for the growing number of maintained nursery schools in deficit, who need to be able to put forward a viable recovery plan, and cannot do so without long-term assurances on funding. We will continue working with ministers in DfE and the Treasury to make the case for a long-term solution in the context of the spending review. As ministers clearly recognise, maintained nursery schools are a sound investment for children and families and the early years sector as a whole, and we hope that will be recognised eventually in future funding plans.”
Early Education (The British Association for Early Childhood Education) is the leading independent national charity for early years practitioners and parents, campaigning for the right of all children to education of the highest quality. Founded in 1923, it has members in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and provides a national voice on matters that relate to effective early childhood education and care of young children from birth to eight. The organisation supports the professional development of practitioners through publications, training, conferences, seminars and access to a national and regional branch network. For more information on the work of Early Education visit www.early-education.org.uk