The resource on the Department for Education’s website enables nurseries and childminders to view early years funding by area, alongside take-up of three- and four-year-old places, and children’s outcomes from the EYFS profile data.
It also provides a breakdown to show the percentage of private, voluntary and independent settings offering the funded places that employ staff with Early Years Professional Status or Qualified Teacher Status.
The Department is also publishing for the first time an ‘early years proforma’ for each local authority based on the same Section 52 returns as the early years benchmarking tool, that shows projected early years spend for 2013-14.
This includes more detailed information on how each local authority allocates early education funding and is intended to complement the benchmarking tables.
The proforma contains details for each local authority on:
- the early years single funding formula for two-, three- and four-year- olds;
- details on any extra hours funded by the LA;
- information on how early years central spend is used;
- the size of early years contingency funding.
The National Day Nurseries Association urged nurseries to use the tool to compare the funding they receive with that of places in schools.
Claire Schofield, director of membership, policy and communications, said the tool provides important information about local authorities' planned spending on early learning for two-, three- and four-year-olds.
'NDNA is urging nurseries to use the tool to look at how their local authority is funding places in schools and PVI provision and also to compare funding with neighbouring and similar authorities,' she said.
'It's a useful starting point for a dialogue between providers and their local authority. While NDNA welcomes the greater availability of information that the tool brings, what is absolutely critical is that enough money gets through to early years provision to deliver high-quality provision and we're continuing to urge DFE to ring fence early years funding and work across Government for radical long-term childcare funding reform.'
A DfE spokesperson said, 'Our updated benchmarking tool lets parents, childcare providers and councillors look at how their local authority’s early years provision compares with neighbouring areas.
'By giving the public access to data such as the number of providers rated as outstanding and how much funding local authorities are passing to nurseries, we are driving up standards, improving confidence in the service and where necessary giving people the information they need to hold poor performers to account.'
An analysis by Nursery World of the original early years benchmarking tool, published in 2012, revealed errors and data that was not directly comparable, making it difficult for settings to assess the funding they received.
Some local authorities disputed the figures because they said that they categorised funding in different ways.