Latest news – 30 hours free childcare in England
The Childcare Act will bring in 30 hours free early learning and childcare in England from 2017.
NDNA is clear that whilst this is great support for parents, it will only be possible for nurseries if there is an increase in funding.
NDNA called for an increase in funding ahead of the General Election. The Government has committed an additional £300 million to fund this increase. The top priority for nurseries is ensuring this increase translates into a sufficient hourly rate which reaches the frontline.
The government has consulted on reforms to early years funding. Whilst a number of NDNA recommendations have been taken up to improve the funding system, for many areas hourly rates published by the Department for Education still fall short of the true cost.
NDNA has warned that unless more investment is made to ensure all nurseries receive a viable hourly rate, the 30 “free” hours childcare promise will not add up unless nurseries are allowed to make compulsory charges to make up for the underfunding of free places.
- By early 2017 - Final proposals drawn up by local authorities following consultation with providers; providers informed of rates
April 2017 - The new funding arrangements begin for existing 15 hours
- September 2017 - 30 hours entitlement implemented – the new funding arrangements apply
The Department for Education have responded to NDNA member questions regarding 30 hours funding - read the full Q&A here
Every local authority will receive a minimum funding rate of at least £4.30 per hour. DfE says that this will give local authorities the scope to pay providers an average funding rate of at least £4.00 per hour.
It is important to note that some providers are set to receive less than £4.00 per hour because local authorities can distribute up to 10% of their budget through supplements.
National average hourly funding rates to local authorities will increase from £4.56 to £4.94 (previously set at £4.88 in the DfE consultation) for three- and four year-olds. This average rate includes the Early Years Pupil Premium, the Disability Access Fund, supplementary funding for maintained nursery schools, and quality and expertise funding.
National average hourly funding rates to local authorities will increase from £5.09 to £5.39 for two-year olds.
Funding rates are not linked to inflation, so are not set to increase year on year.
You can look up the funding rate your local authority will receive in our spreadsheet here.
Full details of allocations from DfE are here
DfE is urging local authorities to begin their consultation on local funding rates before Christmas so that rates can be announced as soon as possible before April 2017.
Contact your local authority Early Years team now to ask when their consultation will start and get involved.
Work with other local childcare providers, if you are in an NDNA Network contact your network chair. Find your local NDNA Network here
DfE’s revised statutory guidance and model agreement for local authorities to use with providers is due out shortly.
This will set out the national framework for delivery of free places, including what additional charges above the free entitlement will be allowable and the flexibility over how and when providers can offer places.
NDNA has said it is essential nurseries have full flexibility – read our latest comments here
View more detail on the consultation outcome here
Some nurseries will be piloting the scheme from September 2016. These pilots need to inform the Government how to deliver the 30 hours in a way that is sustainable for nurseries.
The Department for Education has issued guidance
for the early implementer local authorities delivering the 30 hour childcare from September 2016.
Read what we’ve been saying here:
Both the National Assembly for Wales and the Scottish Government have been discussing extending free childcare.