Review Early Education Funding Entitlement / Offer in the East Riding for 3 & 4 year olds
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Dear Government Minister / Member of Parliament,
I am writing to you to ask for your support with a very important issue that we are facing in the Early Years Sector in East Riding with the changes to the offer of Early Education Funding from 15 hours to 30 hours a week without an increase in the hourly rate we will be paid for offering this service.
We need this support to help us make sure we can continue to provide Outstanding (OFSTED July 2016) early years education and childcare at The Old School House Nursery and other settings in the East Riding who face the same challenges. The Old School House Nursey is a rural day nursery in Sancton, East Riding of Yorkshire that meets the needs of 98 local working families. Our Outstanding rating reflects our commitment to getting it right for children and their families and the continued hard work, dedication and commitment involved in delivering an outstanding service that we are proud of.
As you are aware each 3 & 4 year old currently receives 15 hours free childcare. Your promise is to extend the ‘free entitlement’ from 15 hours to 30 hours for working parents. You are making some very positive messages about putting an extra £3.9 billion pounds into early years funding and also creating a national average rate of £4.88 per hour.
After years of underfunding (as highlighted by your government) I thought that this new rate would enable us to fully cover our costs and also increase investment in our provision and particularly in the staff who work so hard to deliver our outstanding early years education. Staff who are on the whole underpaid due to the strains of settings requiring to deliver a high quality service under tight budgets.
We currently get a base rate of £3.55 from the government for each funded hour we provide. Our calculations tell us that the level we need to cover our costs, operating in a rural area and ensuring our provision is outstanding, is somewhere between £4.35 and £4.60 an hour.
Sadly, the position for us is likely to be drastically different from what appeared to be promised (based on DfE indicactive rates and supported by local authority analysis). We now know that the funding you are proposing for our local authority East Riding of Yorkshire Council is a significant reduction in the hourly rate you pay us from that national average which will mean that for settings in our authority there is no change to the funding allocation which will ramin at £3.55 per hour nearly 30% lower than the National average. This rate is actually the same rate have been recieiving since 2014 despite that our costs have increased by around 17-24% since then. Furthermore this rate is set to be fixed for several years whilst our costs for operating an early years service have been driven by wage inflation,pension contributions and running cost are set to continue to increase considerably.
The simple truth is that we just cannot afford to subsidise the additional funded places by around a pound for every hour, for every child – and we shouldn't have to. This just isn’t fair, reasonable or sustainable for us and jeopardises our future.
Caroline Dinenage, Minister with responsibility for early years and childcare, in her recent interview with Nursery World said:
"We have worked with you to develop the fairer funding system you have long called for – one that is based on how much it actually costs to meet local needs, not on how much a council has historically spent."
Please help us to ensure that this statement becomes reality not rhetoric.
Delivering early years education and maintaining quality educational experiences for children are a top priority for our local council which is passionalt and proud of the Ofsted outcomes for the the majority of settings in the East Riding being at Good or Outstanding. As an authority we are right up at the top! However it is inevitable we will see a drop in terms of delivering a quality service as settings may struggle to remain viable.
I call upon you to use any power that you might have to bring a halt to these proposals of retaining our funding rate which will cause us significant damage and impact on the service we are able to provide for rural children and families.
The key factors for review are:
To raise the Early Education Funding Rate so that we can deliver a Good Service and Pay our Staff a Good Wage
To look at the way the funding is offered to families so that they can use this TOWARDS nursery fees and are not FREE, allowing families to fund for the remainder of the place themselves.
To review the criteria for allocating 30 hours funding to all working families by capping the income eligibility at a lower rate than that set at £100,000.00 per adult , per family , per annum. In doing this you to be able to raise the amount of funding allocated to providers in our county.
Today: The Old School House Nursery @ Sancton is counting on you
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