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Free early years childcare "not value for money" says National Audit Office

The National Audit Office (NAO) has published a report which claims the Department for Education’s provision of 15 hours free childcare for three and four year olds hasn’t achieved value for money as it cannot track the £2.7 billion investment.

Despite 66 per cent of children reaching a good level in 2015 compared with 52 per cent in 2013, NAO states there is no way to associate these improvements with individual institutions.

The NAO report shares NAHT’s concerns – which we shared with the government – about the insufficient level of funding available to deliver the 30 hours of free entitlement planned for 2017. And it reflects NAHT’s call for a new improved funding formula for early years education.

The new entitlement will affect an estimated 390,000 children and local authorities have a duty to provide available places despite limited funding being available. Some providers might not provide the new entitlement if the funding is not in place. And to provide the additional hours for three and four years olds, the number of places provided to disadvantaged two year olds could be cut because they cost more to maintain.

You can read the full NAO report here.

Page Published: 13/04/2016