LGA Briefing: Sustainability of maintained nursery schools, House of Commons, 31 January 2019

We are calling on the Government to extend the supplementary funding for MNS into 2020/21 to provide certainty to providers while a sustainable solution is found as part of the Spending Review.


Key messages

  • Effective, high quality early years provision makes a difference to young children, helping to break the cycle of disadvantage, improving social mobility and offering them a good start in life.
  • Maintained nursery schools (MNS) offer an exceptionally high standard of education. They support disproportionately high numbers of disadvantaged children and those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
  • MNS cost more to run than other settings due to additional statutory responsibilities. Their protected funding comes to an end in 2019/20, after which 61 per cent of councils with MNS believe it is ‘very’ or ‘fairly”’ likely that they will close if funding is not extended.
  • We are calling on the Government to extend the supplementary funding for MNS into 2020/21 to provide certainty to providers while a sustainable solution is found as part of the Spending Review.
  • Recent changes to early years provision, including the 30 hours free childcare scheme for working families, are positive. However, the funding rates are insufficient and this is risking both the sustainability of many providers and the sustainability of high quality provision.
  • As providers seek to offer children spaces within the current funding constraints, there is a risk to provision for disadvantaged two-year-old children and those with special educational needs and disabilities, for whom provision is more expensive.
  • Well qualified staff improve the quality of nursery settings. Unfortunately many councils are concerned about the quality of staff locally, citing issues with pay, professional development and career progression when it comes to recruiting and retaining high quality staff.
  • The new early years funding formula means that councils now have to pass through 95 per cent of all early years funding to providers. This ‘high pass through’ rate is resulting in less training and support for providers, including business support.

Download the full briefing