Government presses ahead with nursery education code of practice and Early Years Single Funding Formula


The Code of Practice on the free entitlement to nursery education will be implemented from September, the Government has confirmed, despite pre-election promises by the Conservatives to suspend it.

The news will come as a blow to some nursery owners who were hoping the Tories would fulfil their pledge to postpone the Code and allow settings to charge top-up fees.

A Government spokesperson said, ‘The new Code of Practice will come into force in September, to ensure that local authorities are working to a clear common framework in implementing the extension to 15 hours. However, we will be looking to streamline this guidance next year.’

When asked about top-up fees, the spokesperson said that primary legislation required local authorities to secure nursery education free of charge.

The Government also announced that the Early Years Single Funding Formula is to be made statutory from April, but a requirement has been added that all local formulas must include a deprivation supplement, which may eventually become a Pupil Premium for the early years.

A consultation on the best way to operate a Pupil Premium for school-aged children, including what deprivation indicator should be used, was launched on Monday by education secretary Michael Gove and children’s minister Sarah Teather. The Pupil Premium is aimed at helping children from disadvantaged backgrounds to improve their school performance.

The consultation also asks whether the policy of funding at least 90 per cent of a local authority’s three-year-old population should be changed to one based on actual take-up of free entitlement places.

A Government spokesperson said, ‘We think it is right that funding should based on actual numbers of pupils and so we are consulting on this issue.’

The National Day Nurseries Association stressed that local authorities would need to have an effective formula in place before April 2011, as there was still a lot of uncertainty around funding, with many nurseries reporting that funding for the free entitlement was not at a sustainable level.

Chief executive Purnima Tanuku said, ‘While it is fantastic that parents have access to the free entitlement, it is not free to a large proportion of nurseries who have to subsidise the cost of delivery and it can be a direct threat to their sustainability. Sixty per cent of providers report that funding for free sessions does not cover their costs.’

Anne Longfield, chief executive of 4Children, said, ‘Providers in all sectors of childcare provision will welcome the certainty afforded by today’s announcement that the coalition government will press ahead with the Early Years Single Funding Formula from April. 4Children has always supported the principle of transparency and consistency in early years funding.

‘What is really important is that children and families have access to high-quality, affordable early education and care. We believe that in the longer term, a single funding formula will support this aim.’

To help nurseries across the UK adjust to the free entitlement changes in September easier, we are currently running a promotion for our Abacus nursery management software.

How is your childcare setting adapting to the free entitlement changes? Do you feel there is enough funding available to cover the cost of provision? Start a discussion below, by sharing your thoughts and ideas about the issues nurseries face with free entitlement changes.

Source: Socato


7 thoughts on “Government presses ahead with nursery education code of practice and Early Years Single Funding Formula

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  • August 2, 2010 at 10:26 am

    I have been a member of Save Our Nurseries Group for over 5 years. This group has been talking to the Members of the past and present governments regarding the ‘FREE’ education grants all this time. They know the problems they are giving Private Nurseries, but are choosing NOT TO HEAR. Preschools who run in village halls etc have small rents or in mobiles on school ground at rent of £1 a week are laughing all the way to the bank. Those of us who have mortages or proper rents, pay top wages and have good equipement etc are funding the Free Entitlement out of our money which should be used sustain our PRIVATE, INDEPENDANT and LIMITED COMPANIES. ITS IS CALLED NATIONALISATION OF NURSERIES BY THE BACK DOOR. In the end private nurseries will leave the scheme and many places will be lost. The government will end up having to pay much more money to keep the high cost Sure Start Centres going and/ or open many more maintained classes at schools. The Government will them learn the true cost of child care.

  • July 29, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    I am concerned about the governments decision to press ahead with both the Code of Practice and SFF is that neither has been costed properly. The last government claimed that there was sufficient money already within the system to fund both the changes brought about by the new Code of Practice and the changes that will be created by all the different SFF’s that will come into force in April 2011. This new government has already found out that there was a black hole in the Labour Party’s finances for dealing with the financial down-turn, I’m surprised that they now seem to accept that their figures on early years are correct. Like may other daycare nurseries up and down the country I am getting to the point where I can no longer subsidise these ‘free’ places. For my nursery to continue to offer the free entitlement I need to a choice between lowering my quality standards and services I provide or increasing the cost of hours over and above the free entitlement (which is another way of topping-up)
    To me it would be far more honest if the government came out and scrapped the ban on topping up. Let each LA set the amount of funding they are allocating to provide the free entitlement and that it is worth X amount. Then allow parents to use that money to purchase early years care and education from any of the different types of providers in the market place. This will included the maintained, charitable and voluntary as well as private day nurseries (including providers like myself who do not believe in reducing my quality, standards and the services I offer) and childminders. Parents then would have the opportunity to choose the type of setting they would like to use, some will choose settings that are entirely free, whilst others may choose to pay a little extra and use their free entitlement allowance to purchase a place in a setting that the parent believes offers services and a quality that they wish for their child.

    • July 29, 2010 at 7:00 pm

      I entirely agree with Ken. We run a small, high quality, ‘outstanding’ setting in a grade 2 listed building and are struggling to make ends meet. We had hoped this new Government would stick to it’s promises and allow us to charge a realist price. Oh well, should have known better! Perhaps some of the huge savings being forced upon Childrens Services in Hampshire might filtre their way down to us meer mortals at the coal face but somehow I doubt it!

    • July 29, 2010 at 9:07 pm

      Hi I wish to add my complete support to the comments made above as I am in the same position, as the proprietor of a day nursery in Lincolnshire.
      I will be forced to make a difficult decision in December this year as to whether to pull out of the Early Years Entitlement all together or to charge much higher fees over and above the free entitlement as I refuse to reduce the quality or standards of care I offer at my nursery to enable me to remain sustainable within the allocated government funding.
      I find it rather “odd” that the government wish to provide quality care and education for all pre-school children and then force quality providers to consider reducing the service they offer as they cannot provide high quality care and education for the amount of funding given. I thought the government wanted to raise standards.
      I have tried to cover my costs by asking my parents for a small hourly voluntary contribution and I am extremely lucky to have, in the most part, highly supportive parents who wish their children to continue to receive the quality of service that they are used to. It is disgraceful, in my humble opinion, that the government will achieve an overall reduction in standards of care and education by not giving sufficient funding to actually cover the cost.

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