NAHT report highlights funding short fall in schools’ early years provision
September 23, 2015
The National Association of Headteachers has this week released a research report into the introduction of the 30 hour free childcare entitlement. An Early Years Place for All reported the results of feedback from nearly 800 NAHT members, 85% of whom were school leaders of primary settings with nursery classes.
Key findings were that 59% of respondents were not receiving enough funding to cover the cost of their existing free provision, and of those underfunded providers, 80% were cross-subsidising the provision from the rest of the school budget. Over 65% said that increasing the number of hours of free provision would lead to a reduction in the overall number of children they could take and that only 15% of school based providers thought the increase to 30 free hours was sustainable under the current plans.
Furthermore, more than half of respondents said they did not have the capacity to take more children than they currently do. However, of those who said they did not have the capacity, nearly half said that they would be able to were capital funding made available to them.
In evidence to the Education Select Committee (see below) the Secretary of State said that the hourly-rate for free places was being looked at as part of the spending review and, in her view, this needed to increase.
NGA is interested in hearing the experiences of any members whose schools include early years provision; please contact Katie Everett.
Comment by Martin Wilby, Childcare sufficiency Manager, Kirklees Learning and Skills Service:
Since the introduction of an early years single funding formula, Kirklees Council has funded schools and other providers of early education at an hourly rate which is higher than the national average (current national average £3.88 compared to £4.19 in Kirklees). However, for the past four years there has been no increase in the rate central government has paid to Kirklees Council which has resulted in the Kirklees funding rate to schools and providers remaining the same over this period. The cost of providing early education has of course increased over this period. A national review of early education funding and a commitment by the government to increase the average rate is therefore welcomed.
Looking forward to the proposals for “30 hours free childcare” by 2017, there will be a section dedicated to this in the 2015 Kirklees Childcare Sufficiency Assessment due to be published later in the Autumn term. This will include early local estimates of the new demand likely to be generated by the proposal. As the government release more details about their future plans Kirklees Council are committed to working with schools and other providers to ensure sufficient sustainable early education and childcare places are available to meet the needs of local families.