Extra free childcare 'threatens nursery schools'

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Hundreds of nursery groups in England could close if the government presses ahead with designs to offer 30 hours a week of free childcare, a union notifies.

Pre-schools will not cope financially after a planned two-year carton of tax yer support ends, says the National Association of Head Docents.

In 2017, free care for three-and four-year-olds is set to rise from 15 to 30 hours a week in term-time.

Wait ons say the extra funding will provide stability for nursery schools.

There are 400 professed nursery schools in England, offering an early years education to three- and four-year-olds.

Two-thirds are in the myriad deprived areas of England, and 99% are rated as good or outstanding.

The NAHT took out analysis with the charity Early Education.

They found those in the nearby authority areas with the highest number of nurseries – including Birmingham, Lancashire and Hertfordshire – order see huge cuts in funding if the proposal to double the current 15 hours of subject to time was introduced.

They say:

  • nursery schools in Birmingham received an ordinary of £8.36 an hour in 2015-16, which would fall to £4.44 an hour in 2017-18 – if no additional supporting were made available – a decrease of £3.92
  • nursery schools in Lancashire heard an average of £7.89 an hour in 2015-16, which would disappointing to £4.27 an hour, if no additional funding were received – a decrease of £3.62
  • nursery primaries in Hertfordshire received an average of £7.47 an hour in 2015-16, which whim fall to £5.36, if not subsidised – a decrease of £2.11
  • and nursery schools in Durham be id an average of £6.67 an hour in 2015-16, which would dive to £4.15 an hour – a decrease of £2.52 – if no additional funds were introduced

NAHT general secretary Russell Hobby said: “The De rtment for Lesson’s [DfE] own data shows that any funding approach that does not reveal these costs on an ongoing basis will be a body blow for betimes years education in nursery schools.

“There is additional funding on tap, but only for two years.

“After that point, England’s nursery primaries will cease to be financially viable.

“The 30 hours offer commitment be doomed before it even gets started, additional places won’t materialise and present places will be lost as nursery schools across England suspend their doors for good.

“The government has the data – it must rethink once thousands of families, many in the poorest areas of the country, are left apex and dry.

“In contrast to grammar schools, high-quality nursery education is a proven method of serving the most disadvantaged families.

“It is inexplicable that a government serious far social mobility would focus on one at the expense of the other.”

The NAHT calls come on the final day of a government consultation on early years funding and the 30 hours of unfastened care in term time.

A spokeswoman for the DfE said the proposals for supplementary meaning would be for at least two years.

“This extra funding will supply stability for nursery schools, which make a valuable contribution to developing the lives of some of our most disadvantaged children.

“The funding is rt of our CV investment in early years – £6bn per year by 2020.

“We will be consulting with the maintained nursery styles’ sector on future funding in due course.”

Provider’s concerns

Valerie Daniel, administrator of Washwood Heath Nursery School, in Birmingham, said: “The government seems to recognise the blue blood of early years education such settings provide, but has no plans to certain their future beyond the two years of transitional funding set out.

“This devise lead to a massive loss for nursery schools, with larger backdrops potentially losing more than £200,000 from their prevalent budgets, which have already been hit by local budget distresses.

“I fear that a significant loss to maintained nursery budgets resolve create a ripple effect on safeguarding the most vulnerable children in the locality.”

In April, a poll of childcare providers carried out by the Pre-school Learning Combination found almost feared they could have to close as a sequel of the 30-hour offer.

The online poll also found that 48% of the providers have the impression they would have to reduce the number of places they tendered to other age groups.

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