Nursery School Closures
Unless Government changes course, all Local Authority Maintained Nursery Schools (MNS) in England will lose on average 30% of their budget by September 2020.
Already we have seen one third of MNS close since 1980, leaving just 392 still operating today. The Government’s failure to provide sufficient long-term funding to guarantee the future of MNS could result in nursery schools closing down or cutting back services in 2020. A survey conducted by the APPG for MNS to which 271 responded found that 39% had a deficit budget in 2018-19. 64% are expected to be in deficit in 2019-20.
Across the country nursery schools enrol more than 40,000 children. The majority are located in the poorest areas. The education these nursery schools provide helps close the gap between the most disadvantaged children and their peers. Without sufficient funding these children and their families will not have access to the high levels of nursery education and support currently provided. Three years ago, the Government recognised that MNS were not sufficiently funded and allocated supplementary funding to plug the holes. This funding expires in 2020 and, despite recent announcements in the spending review of extra money for schools, there has been no mention of a long term funding solution for MNS or maintaining the supplementary funding beyond 2020.
Almost 17,000 people have already signed School Cuts’ Save Nursery Schools petition.
This week the National Education Union is also working with Early Education and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Nursery Schools, Nursery and Reception Classes to send a pack of campaign materials to every nursery school.
Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:
“Local-authority maintained nurseries provide an invaluable service to communities, often in some of the poorest areas in the country. They not only educate our youngest children but also provide many advice services for parents and carers no longer available from their local authorities. The piecemeal approach to their funding by the government is unacceptable and puts at risk the quality and range of care which communities can access. Without sufficient funding the remaining nurseries will either have to close or severely cut back what they offer children and families. It is vital government listens as a matter of urgency to the thousands of people who have signed our petition for additional funding.”