As you know, we have been in ongoing and lengthy talks with the government regarding nursery funding. Those talks continued all day yesterday, and into the evening as well.
Late last night, the DfE finally issued a statement, which included the following line:
“While the census count will be the default indicator to determine the funding, there is the capacity to provide top-up funding if necessary, to ensure that providers receive funding for every child that attends.”
We have been given assurance that this last sentence means that while the DfE has now decided that the technical guidance around how to complete the census (issued last week) remains the same, this new ‘top-up’ funding will be available to ensure that where census numbers are lower than usual, schools and nurseries will still receive the funding they are entitled to.
It is immensely frustrating that the official wording from the DfE released to us late last night was not as straightforward as we had been been led to believe it would be. To confirm, our note to members yesterday had been discussed and shared with senior government officials before publication. However, we are assured that the intention of the top-up funding is to ensure that nurseries are protected financially if the census does not present an accurate picture of numbers.
It is also worth reiterating that, as per the guidance, you should still record on the census any child who is in attendance at your nursery today, or any child whose parents have decided to keep them at home despite a place being available.
Schools and nurseries will obviously have a clear record of all other children so that the top up funding can be claimed.
We will share further details about how to claim the top-up funding as soon as we have them.
First published 21 January 2021