Maintained nursery schools have a critical role to play in the delivery of high-quality early years education, but their future has been left uncertain by the government’s new approach to early years funding. The new national funding formula for the early years that was introduced in April 2017 set out one common early years rate in each local authority for private voluntary and independent (PVI) nursery and nursery classes, based on a view that whilst PVIs have lower staffing costs for unqualified staff but higher fixed costs as they are smaller than primary schools, primary schools have higher staffing costs for teachers but can spread fixed costs across a whole primary school.
Maintained nursery schools lose out on both counts, having highly qualified staff working in smaller settings making for a double whammy of high staffing and fixed costs. The Department for Education therefore initially proposed to provide an additional £56 million to support them for the first two years of the new early years formula, but eventually agreed to extend this to March 2020, the end of the comprehensive spending review, after the extensive press and public pressure led by NAHT and Early Education.
On 4 July, we are relaunching our campaign in partnership with charity Early Education. We are seeking:
- To secure a long-term commitment to additional funding for maintained nursery school provision beyond the April 2020 cliff edge and also
- For the DfE to develop a national funding formula for maintained nursery schools that will recognise that they are schools, secure their long-term sustainability and provide greater consistency of funding nationally.
Our campaigning leaflet sets out how NAHT members working in maintained nursery schools can support our campaign by engaging parents and local politicians and there is also a model template letter for members to write to their MPs which you can find below.
Join us in campaigning to protect some of our best early years settings.
First published 20 June 2019