The Department of Education has announced that it will continue its extra funding for maintained nursery schools.
This investment will go towards ensuring nurseries and childminders can support some of the most disadvantaged children in their area, with an increase in hourly funding for all councils offering 15 hours free childcare for disadvantaged two-year-olds. The vast majority of areas providing free 30 hours places for working parents of three- and four-year-olds will also receive an increase in the hourly rate, meaning that no authorities will see less than £4.38 per hour per child.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
“A child’s early education is crucial to their future success which is why we are increasing our hourly funding rates for councils so that they can continue to deliver high quality and free childcare places.
“Over one million children every year are now benefitting from the Government’s record investment in childcare and early years education – which will have reached £3.6 billion by next year. This will give families the flexibility they need to be able to balance their work and family lives.”
Campaigners have expressed relief over this news which, should, in theory, make a difference of 8 pence per hour for all three- and four-year olds and some two year olds too. However, not all childcare providers will necessarily benefit from this amount by the time rates are passed on to them due to the 95% pass through rate criteria.