A cross-party group of MPs including Bury North’s James Frith have secured an additional £24 million for local authority maintained nursery schools in 2019/20, but James pledged to keep fighting until all nurseries have fairer funding.
Maintained nurseries, including Hoyle Nursery in Bury, serve some of the most disadvantaged children in the country and include a higher percentage of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) than private nurseries. They have received top up funding in recent years in order to provide additional specialist provision for children with SEND. However, the government would not commit this funding beyond 2018/19, leaving many at risk of closure or reduced provision.
“I recently visited Hoyle Nursery to discuss the issue with them and I was impressed by the provision they deliver and alarmed at the prospect that they could be forced to close if extra funding was not made available.
“I’ve been working with MPs on the All-Party Nursery group led by my Manchester colleague Lucy Powell to put pressure on the government to commit the extra money our nurseries need and I’m pleased the minister confirmed this week that maintained nurseries will receive a funding boost this year. What we now need is a guarantee beyond this year’s Spending Review.
“However, private nurseries make up the vast majority of the early years sector and they are closing at an alarming rate because the per pupil funding the government provides is simply not enough. Many have taken to asking parents for money to keep the doors open. I met a group of Bury nursery providers last week and they are very concerned about the future. I’ll be working to secure extra funding for all our nurseries in the government’s Spending Review this year.”