In Parliament today, Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, asked the Education Secretary what he’s doing to protect maintained nurseries after local organisations raised the issue of their extreme funding pressures with him.
The Cambridge MP asked:
“Parents and staff in maintained nursery schools are waiting for the Government to stop dithering on future funding. Excellent schools in Cambridge, as all over the country, face a funding cliff edge next year. Can the Minister give them the assurances needed and commit today to the future of our maintained nursery schools?“
Nadhim Zahawi MP, the Early Years Education Minister responded:
“We made £60 million available to maintained nursery schools, because of the excellent provision that they deliver up, to 2020. My message, as that of the Secretary of State, to local authorities is not to make any decisions until we get to the Spending Review.“
Mr Zeichner comments: “This non-answer which kicks the problem into the long grass is simply not acceptable. Under the current funding agreement Nurseries will struggle to stay in business, according to the Department for Education’s own figures. When I visited a local maintained nursery recently, I was told that, without extra help, it will hit the buffers next April. This is completely nonsensical, when we know that for every £1 spent on early years, £13 are saved down the line. We must protect our maintained nurseries to make sure that all children, regardless of background, get the best start in life.“