Save Pen Green's Core Funding

Save Pen Green's Core Funding

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Pen Green Centre’s core funding is under threat

North Northants Council are proposing to redirect 78% of Pen Green Centre’s core funding across the North and into West Northants to try to balance the Maintained Nursery School’s budgets, as Local Authority officers believe this is more equitable.  This is a savage and short-sighted act in their first year as a new unitary authority.  The implications of this proposal will be catastrophic for children and families across Corby.  Our Integrated Centre has stood the test of time for four decades, supporting children and families through seamless education, social care, health interventions and partnership working with voluntary agencies.  

North Northamptonshire Council should feel proud and celebrate having the legacy of four Maintained Nursery Schools and an Integrated Centre in their authority.  They need to be braver, be aspirational, and show that they value the high-quality Early Years provision that we all offer.  As one of the largest unitary authorities in the country, North Northants are in the position to negotiate more funding for the Maintained Nursery Schools and their Integrated Centre.  The proposal to redirect funding will result in levelling down for children and families in Corby at a time when we all need to all be making a conscious effort to be levelling up.  

Historical context

Pen Green Centre was set up as an Integrated Centre in 1983 and has always received core funding for this work. In 2006 the Local Authority officers advised Pen Green Centre leaders to move all funding to Education as this would mean more secure funding and long term sustainability. 

In 2017, when national funding for Early Years changed, Northamptonshire County Council renegotiated funding from the MNSSF to include funding for Pen Green Centre and Camrose Centre (West Northants).  This process engaged the Department for Education, the Local Authority, Minister, Local Politician and the Heads from the two Integrated Centres. The Department for Education (DfE) recognised that Pen Green and Camrose Integrated Centres did not fit neatly into the Maintained Nursery Schools Supplementary Funding model (MNSSF) as they are unique Centres.  The MNSSF allocation was adjusted upwards from £690, 619 to £2,174,619 to reflect the lumpsums that had previously been paid to Pen Green and Camrose. This was done by reflecting the historic lumpsums in the Local Authority’s hourly supplementary funding rate. 

Northamptonshire County Council honoured this arrangement, valuing the work of Pen Green and Camrose and we have continued to receive our core funding each year, albeit a slight reduction.  

Pen Green has been in the community for 40 years offering children and families from across Corby and surrounding areas:

o   A year-round service and extended day provision

o   A multi-disciplinary team offering education, social care and health services

o   Non-judgemental/non stigmatised universal services

o   Universal groups with targeted interventions

o   Responsive respite services for children across the town and surrounding areas

o   Access to adult education and further training

o   A specialist provision for children with SEND and their families through a range of groups and support services

o   Experienced staff working with the most vulnerable children and families to help them to engage with services and access specialist support, preventing families stepping up and escalating into social care

o   Partnership working with Corby HomeStart

o   Access and emergency support for families in need – food, fuel tokens, clothing, bedding and white goods.

o   Collaborative work with partners – midwives, health visitors, voluntary agencies, social care and education.

o   Community room offering responsive family support

o   Specialist support through groupwork and 1:1 intervention with a focus on adult/infant mental health.

We call for the local authority to retract its proposal and continue to fund Pen Green Centre.  Research tells us that when appropriate investment in Early Years and early interventions is made long term significant outcomes for children and their families can be achieved. 

Maintained Nursery Schools have suffered years of underfunding, lived through the pausing of the Early Years reforms and policy that has meant changes to core funding.  This is a national issue that needs to be addressed by Central Government before we lose more Maintained Nursery Schools.

We are once again fighting to secure our core funding, not at the detriment of any other Maintained Nursery Schools, but to continue the complex and integrated nature of the essential work we do every day with children and families.

These 78% cuts and potential closure of Pen Green Centre will have a devastating impact on children and families, Corby as a community and our education, social care and health services.

Please sign our petition to ask North Northants Council to retract their proposal and continue to fund Pen Green Integrated Centre at the level it was funded in 2017.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 5,000!
At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!