Thank you for contacting me about maintained nursery schools.
Maintained nursery schools make an important contribution to improving the lives of the most disadvantaged children in Calder Valley. They often specialise in caring for children with disabilities and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. They also contribute some of the highest quality early years education. According to Ofsted, as at March 2019, 63 per cent of nursery schools were rated outstanding and 35 per cent achieved a ‘good’ rating.
In recognition of the costs that maintained nursery schools incur over and above other providers, approximately £60 million per year of supplementary funding has been provided. This is in addition to funding received under the Early Years National Funding Formula. I am pleased that this has enabled local authorities to protect the previous funding levels available to maintained nursery schools.
Additionally, in February 2019 the Government announced that it would also provide local authorities with further funding of around £24 million to enable them to maintain the funding of maintained nursery schools for the whole of the 2019-20 academic year.
I understand, however, that some certainty is needed for funding beyond this period. I therefore welcome the Chancellor’s recent spending review in which a £66 million increase has been pledged for early years education. This will increase the hourly rate paid to providers through the government’s free childcare scheme. The spending review also provides £780 million more in 2020-21 compared to 2019-20 funding levels to support children and young people with special educational needs and ensure all receive a high-quality education.
I am also assured that ministers continue to meet a variety of early years professionals and representatives from maintained nursery schools to discuss a range of key issues, including funding.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP
4th November 2019