Union calls for long-term funding for nursery schools

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Maintained nursery schools could lose nearly a third of their budgets by 2020, the National Education Union has warned.

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According to the NEU, local authority maintained nursery schools in England will lose an average of 30 per cent of their budget by September 2020 if the Government does not renew their funding.


The Government allocated supplementary funding for maintained nursery schools in 2017, which expires in 2020.

The NEU is now leading calls for a long-term funding solution or for maintaining the supplementary funding beyond 2020.

Almost 17,000 people have already signed School Cuts’ ‘Save Nursery Schools’ petition and the NEU is working with Early Education and the APPG on Nursery Schools, Nursery and Reception Classes to send a pack of campaign materials to every nursery school.

A third of maintained nurseries have already closed since 1980, with just 392 still operating today, the NEU said.

A survey conducted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Nursery Schools, Nursery and Reception Classes, to which 271 nurseries responded, found that 39 per cent had a deficit budget in 2018-19, while 64 per cent are expected to be in deficit in 2019-20.

More than 40,000 children are enrolled in maintained nursery schools across the country, with the majority of settings located in the most deprived areas.

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU, said, ‘Local-authority maintained nurseries provide an invaluable service to communities, often in some of the poorest areas in the country. They not only educate our youngest children but also provide many advice services for parents and carers no longer available from their local authorities.

‘The piecemeal approach to their funding by the Government is unacceptable and puts at risk the quality and range of care which communities can access. Without sufficient funding the remaining nurseries will either have to close or severely cut back what they offer children and families. It is vital Government listens as a matter of urgency to the thousands of people who have signed our petition for additional funding.’

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