Commenting on the Education Secretary’s speech at Conservative Party Conference, Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“In his speech to Conservative Party Conference, Gavin Williamson lauded the achievements of nursery schools. He is right, but what these schools need is an announcement about their future funding. There are 392 nursery schools that receive a third of their income through the Maintained Nursery School Grant. The grant runs out in August 2020, and without the grant these schools will be forced to close. Parents, teachers and head teachers have been campaigning to save these schools which make such a contribution to social mobility. They are the highest rated schools in the country with 98% of them judged to be good or outstanding by Ofsted. Gavin Williamson must get the Treasury to find the money to save the maintained nursery sector. Parents and teachers need the reassurance that these schools will be able to stay open next year.

“The ambition for Britain to offer better technical education than Germany in ten years’ time will come to nothing if more funding is not found. Colleges and school sixth forms have suffered the worst cuts of any part of the education system over the last nine years. Even after the announcement of an additional £400m in April 2020, they still have £1.1bn less in real terms than in 2010.

“So, yet again announcements on education which are not backed up with the necessary funding to see their implementation or continued existence. Very disappointing.”