London's children 'penalised' under early years pupil premium

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The capital's most disadvantaged children will lose out under plans for the new early years pupil premium, new analysis has warned.

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London Councils says the Early Years Pupil Premium should be higher in the capital

The cross-party organisation that represents London's councils has called for an ‘area cost adjustment’ to reflect the higher costs in the capital.

The Early Years Pupil Premium will be worth a flat rate of £300 a year for eligible children from low-income families when it is brought in next year.

While supporting the move in principle, London Councils is concerned that London’s 36,478 most disadvantaged three- and four-year-olds, who represent 21 per cent of children in the country eligible for the premium, could stand to lose out as a result of the plan.

According to the Family and Childcare Trust’s 2014 childcare costs survey, early years provision in the capital costs 28 per cent more than the British average, with London parents paying an average of £1,570 extra per year.

Peter John, London Councils executive member for children and young people, said, ‘We have been calling for an early years pupil premium since 2011, so it’s good news the Government recognises there is a need for this policy.

‘As London mums and dads know only too well, childcare costs in the capital are sky high. While it may not be the intention of the Department for Education to penalise the most disadvantaged children in London, it should revise the plans to ensure they reflect the reality of higher costs.’

London Councils is a cross-party organisation representing London’s 32 borough councils and the City of London.

It has also called on the Government to delay the introduction of participation-based funding to allow boroughs to fully embed the entitlement before rolling it out.

The Government consultation on the EYPP closed last week.

A DfE spokesperson said, 'The early years pupil premium is a key part of our plan for education. It provides new money for schools, nurseries and childminders aimed at making sure of the best possible outcomes for disadvantaged children when they start school. It is more than £300 per child and we expect more than 170,000 children will be eligible. Providers will have the freedom to spend it in a way they think will most benefit those children.

'We have recently closed a consultation on our proposals, which London Councils responded to. We will be considering all submissions, and will publish our response in due course.'