Hundreds of nursery schools ‘could close’ under funding changes

The TES is reporting that hundreds of nursery schools could be forced to close if the Government goes ahead with a new funding formula, as part of plans to offer working parents 30 hours of free childcare, a teaching union has warned.

There are around 400 maintained nursery schools in England, which would get two years of additional funding when the changes to are brought in. But many could “cease to be financially viable” after this period ends, the NAHT said.

One head warned that larger nursery settings could lose up to £200,000 a year under the changes.

The government is proposing to bring in a new early years national funding formula to help deliver the extension of childcare from the current universal offer of 15 hours a week.

It estimates that, after the two years’ of extra support ends, 80 per cent of maintained nursery schools would see a drop in funding of 25 per cent or more.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT, said: “The Department for Education’s (DfE) own data shows that any funding approach that does not reflect these costs on an ongoing basis will be a body blow for early years education in nursery schools.

“The 30 hours offer will be doomed before it even gets started, additional places won’t materialise and current places will be lost as nursery schools across England close their doors for good. The government has the data – it must rethink before thousands of families, many in the poorest areas of the country, are left high and dry.”

More at: Hundreds of nursery schools ‘could close’ under funding changes

Do you think the extension of free childcare is good idea, or does the funding need to be looked at in order to make this fair on the nursery schools? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Sophie

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  1. Julie_Cordiner

    The DfE’s own research – the Cost of Childcare report – showed that a school nursery with a 1:10 ratio was more expensive to operate than a private provider’s 1:8 ratio. It completely skated over the cost of nursery schools and rather conveniently provided no information on their costs at all. The conclusion that all providers can be funded on a universal hourly rate is therefore not supported by any evidence. No change there then…

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