It is certainly packed – with points of interest, or hazards, perhaps, depending on your point of view.
It highlights the fact that we are only a short way into the 30 hours journey, and there will no doubt be plenty of bumps along the way until full implementation next September.
One major landmark has just been reached, however, and that is the Government’s response to the consultation on the early years national funding formula, so crucial to the whole journey.
There are some significant, and generally positive, changes to the proposals in the original consultation, not least a bit more money to raise the minimum rate received by local authorities to £4.30 (it’s not clear where this £30 million comes from, but it has been found from somewhere).
The discretionary use of a quality supplement has been put in after protests from many about the difficulties its absence could cause in terms of employing higher-qualified staff, and supplements for English as an additional language have been added too. Meanwhile, the mooted supplements for efficiency and to ‘incentivise’ provision of the extra hours have deservedly been ditched.
High-profile lobbying about the future for nursery schools seems to have borne some fruit with an extra £55 million a year now pledged until the end of Parliament and a consultation promised.
There is evidence of listening and of intelligent thinking – if only this could solve the over-arching problem of not enough money in the system and too many rising costs!