The £50 million pot of Government funding to create more nursery capacity is a big vote of confidence in the sector, says National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA), which pushed for this support for nurseries.
The funding for capital projects announced today by the Department for Education to develop more physical nursery space aims to support nurseries expand their provision to deliver the promise of 30 hours of funded childcare per week for three and four year olds of working parents.
Private, voluntary and independent nurseries (PVI) deliver 60% of England’s funded places for three-year-olds, making them the Government’s biggest delivery partner for the 30-hour offer.
Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of NDNA, said: “The Government has recognised the important role played by private, voluntary and independent nurseries in its announcement of capital funding projects, with the largest proportion of the award money supporting this sector.
“This is great news for nurseries and the thousands of families who will benefit.
“PVI nurseries can offer the flexibility that working parents need, opening earlier and closing later than any other providers.
“We are heartened that Ministers are announcing this capital investment in a project which is bound to be extremely popular with families across the country.”
However, NDNA gave a note of caution over the still unanswered question of hourly funding rates.
Purnima added: “Capital funding is only part of the solution for the delivery of 30 hours, which is due to be rolled out across England from September. Details of exactly how much money local authorities will be giving to providers per hour for these funded places are still unknown.
“Our concerns about whether most nurseries can offer 30 hours of funded childcare to their parents and remain sustainable as businesses are still very much fundamental to the success of this policy. Our members who are facing increasing business burdens also need reassurance that they can charge parents for ‘extras’ over and above the funded childcare place, such as meals, which is not funded with the Government hourly rate.”