We need early years settings in lockdown to prioritise the safety of staff, children and communities and with no financial detriment.
There are only 389 MNS remaining in England serving 40,000 children, many located in the most deprived areas of the country.
MNS give our youngest children the best start in life, including those with special educational needs and disabilities – and ensure access to the highest quality provision for families in the poorest parts of the country.
- DfE statistics show MNS in deficit rose from 3.5% in 2009-10 to 17.7% in 2018-19.
- In 2020 all of the remaining MNS will have less money in real terms than in 2015.
- The Government announcement of £1 billion for schools excluded MNS.
Government supplementary funding of £60 million (30% of MNS budgets) annually has never been linked to inflation and was due to end in March 2021. In August 2020 the government announced an additional £23 million for the Summer term 2021.
MNS need adequate funding and a long-term funding solution so they can continue the essential work they do every day.
What you can do
Invite your MP to a virtual visit
The NEU are encouraging all MNS leaders to invite their MP to a visit, so that they can see for themselves the important work you do as educators and the positive impact you have on your students and local communities. This is the ideal opportunity to share with your MP how sustained long term under funding, exacerbated by Covid-19, is impacting your school and the work you do. With a greater understanding of the issues MNS are facing, we hope these visits will encourage your MP to impress upon the Chancellor the need for immediate additional funding for maintained nursery schools as a result of the covid-19 pandemic, assurances there will be no changes to spring-term 2021 funding based on participation, in addition to the need for a long-term funding formula to be agreed and implemented as soon as possible.
What we did
Along with the School Cuts coalition, colleagues in Early Education and NAHT we have written to the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Education demanding:
- Supplementary funding for 2021-22 (and especially summer term 2021) increased in line with inflation back to 2016-17 real terms values. The government have responded with providing funding of £23 million for Summer 2021.
- Additional resources and support to deal with Covid-19 costs.
- A review of the early years funding formula by 2021 at the very latest to implement a long-term funding solution for MNS.
- Undertook a joint survey of members with Early Education, NAHT and Unison. The results were shared with the DfE and formed part of our submission for the Comprehensive Spending Review 2020.
MNS remain the most successful schools’ group for Ofsted ratings and play a huge role in improving social mobility. During the coronavirus pandemic, MNS have proved once again their value to our society, while many private settings were forced to close, MNS have absorbed the additional pressure by becoming Early Year Hubs and remained open for vulnerable children and those of critical workers.
All of this is under threat because of insufficient Government funding and support. MNS have had little or no access to additional funds provided to schools to combat the impact of coronavirus and no help to cover income lost as a result of remaining open during the pandemic.