Nurseries ‘lose £700 a year on free places’

According to a report from the BBC, English nurseries are saying they lose an average £700 a year through shortfalls in grants for free pre-school places…

The National Day Nurseries Association’s annual survey of childcare businesses suggests it does not cover costs in 82% of situations.

Three and four-year-olds are entitled to 15 hours’ free childcare a week, but providers accuse local authorities of holding some of the funds back.

Childcare minister Liz Truss said she was collecting data on the payments.

Chief executive of the NDNA Purnima Tanuku told her association’s annual conference in Peterborough: “This is a major, major issue for us moving forward.”

She said her association’s research, based on responses from 196 nurseries, suggested many local authorities were withholding funds meant for frontline nursery provision of these places.

Ms Truss told members at the conference she had heard repeated concerns about the money not reaching the frontline.

Her office had now started collecting data on how much of the local education authority grant was getting through to providers in different areas, she added.

She said: “I’ve heard a lot of reports on this from nurseries. There clearly is unfairness in the system about the different money that different local authorities take.

“One of the things we are doing is getting more transparency on that. We are getting data from different local authorities about what they pay to different providers.”

More at:  Nurseries ‘lose £700 a year on free places’

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