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Maintained nursery schools are struggling to remain viable, warns NAHT

Today, the All Party Parliamentary Group for Nursery Schools, Nursery and Reception Classes, will launch a campaign to safeguard the future of maintained nursery schools. 

School leaders’ union NAHT has formed a partnership with the APPG and the British Association for Early Childhood Education to campaign for more certainty about the future funding of the 397 maintained nursery schools in England.

NAHT general secretary Paul Whiteman, who will be speaking at the APPG in Westminster today said: “The current government has recognised the crucial role of the maintained nursery schools as system leaders for the early years, and that the Early Years National Funding Formula introduced in 2017 does not adequately provide for their costs. 

“As things stand, maintained nursery schools are struggling to remain viable.  The supplementary funding provided by government with the aim of maintaining 2016-17 levels of funding has failed to achieve that, with 67% of nursery schools having a lower budget in 2018-19 than in 2016-17.  The result of this is that in 2018-19, 39% are expecting to be in deficit, and by 2019-20, 64% expect to have a deficit. Time is running out fast.”

Judy Shaw, NAHT’s Vice President and Head Teacher at Tuel Lane Infant School and Nursery in Calderdale said: “We have made huge progress, with a succession of Early Years Ministers stating their support for the outstanding work done by maintained nursery schools, and strong cross-party support for a solution. However, A failure to act now by ministers could have disastrous consequences. Many schools will close without a clear position on future funding and thousands of children and their families will be affected.”

The primary goal of NAHT’s joint campaign with Early Education is to get an immediate guarantee of viable funding for maintained nursery schools after 2020. Without this, many more will close over the next few years.

Ministers have acknowledged that they need funding at a higher rate than other parts of the early years sector and have provided interim funding of £60m a year until 2019-20. A long-term solution must include a commitment to fund all maintained nursery schools on the same basis as all other schools.

Press and Media contacts:

Steven George
NAHT Head of Press and Media
01444 472886
07970 907730

Rose Tremlett 
Senior Press Officer 
07545 354363

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