Tory MPs warn ministers over nursery funding

Ministers must protect funding for state-run nurseries in England or risk seeing schools close, Conservative MPs have warned. The BBC reports.

Children with disabilities and special educational needs would be among those most affected, they said.

The schools will lose almost £60m a year from 2020 unless action is taken.

Education select committee chairman Robert Halfon told the Today programme Treasury “bean-counters” would store up huge problems if the schools were not protected.

Conservative ministerial aide Craig Tracey and Chichester MP Gillian Keegan said they had raised the issue with ministers.

England has 400 maintained nursery schools, which are owned and directly paid-for by the state. They have to hire better-qualified staff than private nurseries, and often teach and care for children with disabilities and special education needs. The majority are based in disadvantaged areas.

Carole Jacques, who runs a nursery in Norwich, said they had to phone print companies begging for paper for children to draw on after money ran out.

Ministers provided extra money for the schools from 2017 after a shake-up of funding left some nurseries worried they would close. But the funding supplement agreed then runs out in 2020. The government has given no assurances about what will happen after this date.

MP Craig Tracey said there would be “huge consequences” if the schools closed, and he didn’t know what would happen to children there with special educational needs as private nurseries had no obligation to take them.

Read more Tory MPs warn ministers over nursery funding

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