Speaking at the National Day Nurseries Association’s 'Essential Nursery' conference in Peterborough today, education and childcare minister Elizabeth Truss said that she wants an ‘open dialogue’ with the early years sector about early years settings’ core costs, such as staffing and premises.
She said that an economist at the DfE is working on developing a costing model to try and find out why early years funding does not cover costs and encouraged nurseries to share information with the Department.
Ms Truss said that the Government wanted to try and make the early years funding system more efficient.
Commenting on inspections, the minister acknowledged, ‘We need to be fairer and more consistent to nurseries.’
She said that Ofsted needed to hire more experienced people to carry out early years inspections.
Ofsted’s new regional structure would also make it easier for local authorities to work with Ofsted, she said.
Ms Truss also called for more collaboration between the private and voluntary sector and schools, and encouraged more nurseries to set up provision on school sites.
Earlier, NDNA chief executive Purnima Tanuku launched the association’s latest business performance survey, in partnership with Nursery World and Pound Gates.
The survey highlights the ‘chronic underfunding’ of free early education places for two-, three- and four- year-olds, which it says threatens the affordability of high-quality childcare places for families.
Assording to the research, some nurseries are losing up to £700 a year per child on offering free nursery places for three- and four-year-olds.