There are only 385 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.

The DfE’s own figures show that the percentage of MNS in deficit has risen from 3.5% in 2009-10 to 20.8% in 2019-20 and the total deficit rose from £6.7m to £8.8m over that last year, indicating a rapid escalation of difficulties for the worst affected schools.  That, of course, was before the pandemic hit.  Joint research with Early Education, NAHT and Unison has found that as many as 46% were in deficit by March 2021 as a result of the additional costs and loss of income due to Covid-19.

Government supplementary funding of £60 million (30% of MNS budgets) annually has never been linked to inflation and was due to end in March 2022.

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

  • Sign an online letter to the Chancellor demanding that the long promised, long term funding settlement for MNS is included in the Comprehensive Spending Review in Autumn
  • Pledge to march on Downing Street on Tuesday 19 October ahead of the CSR to hand deliver the letter in person to the Chancellor

Invite your MP to a virtual visit

The NEU are encouraging all MNS leaders to invite their MPs and local councillors to a visit in person or virtually, 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 MPs and local councillors to impress upon the Chancellor the need for immediate action and provide a long-term sustainable funding solution for maintained nursery schools to be agreed and implemented as soon as possible.

What we did

Along with the School Cuts coalition, colleagues in Early Education, Unison and NAHT, we have held a number of successful online rallies to bring the issue into the wider public domain; the NEU is an active member of the All-party parliamentary group (APPG) for MNS and in 2020 and 2021 written several letters/briefings to the Prime Minister, Chancellor and Secretary of State for Education demanding:

  • Supplementary funding for 2021-22 (and especially summer term 2022) 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 and confirmed funding until March 2022.
  • Additional resources and support to deal with Covid-19 costs.
  • A review of the early years funding formula with the view of implementing a long-term funding solution for MNS as soon as possible.
  • Undertook a joint survey of members with Early Education, NAHT and Unison to analyse the impact of underfunding and the pandemic. The results were shared with the DfE and will form part of our submission for the Comprehensive Spending Review 2021.

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.

#FundOurChildrensFuture #SaveOurNurseries