Penny Mordaunt, MP for Portsmouth North, has visited the Tops Day Nursery at Lakeside Business Park to hear about plans to provide extra childcare places to meet the new demand for the “30-hours funded childcare to 3 and 4-year-old” children in Portsmouth from September. The nursery is housed alongside the Lakeside Business Centre and has been granted part capital funding from the Government (Department of Education) via Portsmouth City Council to install in an “eco classroom” to put on the back of the nursery, subject to planning permission.
Penny was shown around the nursery by Cheryl Hadland, founder of the Tops Day Nurseries chain. They discussed how the 30-hours funded childcare for 3 and 4 year olds would support more parents in Portsmouth to find employment, as well as other issues of concern to nurseries in the area such as business rates, VAT and levels of Government funding.
Penny Mordaunt MP said: “It was great to spend time at Tops and to meet the staff and children. It is good news that more 3 and 4 year old children in Portsmouth North will soon be able to receive 30-hours of funded childcare, helping parents keep working and reducing their household bills. I will be working to ensure that every child in Portsmouth is able to access a high quality early education, and ensure the long-term future of the childcare sector.”
Cheryl Hadland, founder of Tops Day Nurseries, said: “I was delighted to host Penny at our Tops nursery and show her the great work we do to provide our children with a rich learning environment within an eco-friendly environment. Our mascot Marty Mouse joined us on our tour of the nursery and the children took great care of him as they included him in their activities. The children understand that Marty doesn’t speak and has poor eyesight and have learnt to adapt their behaviour to suit his needs.
“I was pleased to discuss with Penny the Government’s funding for 30-hours of as well as the great work we do with our graduate leaders, and training apprentices to deliver a high quality early education to children.
“There are other issues private nurseries in North Portsmouth are facing, such as big increases in business rates. Also the fact that because the government does not fund childcare and education enough to meet the costs of providing the service, we have to charge for additional extras to most 3-4 year olds, and charge more for younger children and for those attending longer than the funded hours to make up the losses.
“This is why I am looking forward to working with Penny to resolve these issues and to ensure that all young children in the area, no matter their parent’s income bracket, have the best possible life chances.
“We also discussed the formation of an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) to focus on provision of early years care and education to children, and their parents.”