Major changes to the funding system for nurseries, preschools and childminders have been set out by Government. 

But nursery schools in Cambridge fear that an unintended consequence of the changes could lead to the end of nursery schools staffed by qualified teachers.

Daniel Zeichner MP met local nursey staff to discuss their concerns at The Fields Children’s Centre.

Currently Cambridge nursery schools are classified as schools. They must have a governing body, have qualified teachers and be run by a Head Teacher. As a school they get a lump sum of money from Cambridgeshire County Council to run their services. However this would not be permitted under the new funding formula.

Research shows that nursery schools with qualified staff have a positive impact on the quality of early years provision, especially for children from disadvantaged areas and with complex education or medical needs.

Rikke Waldau, Head of The Field’s Children’s Centre fears if the proposals go ahead it will mean that all the nursery schools in Cambridgeshire will find themselves in dire financial difficulties.

 She says: “We are already struggling, but this proposal is in fact the nail in the early education ‘coffin’. We will no longer be able to operate as a school.”

Daniel Zeichner MP said: “Early years cannot be about trying to warehouse children whose parents are at work. The government must understand you don’t get good nurseries on the cheap. A well-qualified workforce is vital to ensure that standards rise in the nursery sector and children get the best start in life.”

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