Early Years Minister Caroline Dinenage was reported as telling nursery owners that they must charge parents for extras to remain viable while delivering 30 free hours.

The comments were reported in an article in Nursery World

However, the Department for Education's policy is that making any charges for extras such as meals and activities cannot be mandatory, meaning that nurseries cannot enforce these charges as a condition of a place.

Purnima Tanuku OBE, NDNA's Chief Executive, (pictured left) said: “The Minister has acknowledged that for some nurseries, Government funding is not enough to deliver 30 totally free hours and remain sustainable. The majority of nurseries already charge for extras.

“NDNA has been campaigning for nurseries to be able to make mandatory charges for extras over and above the childcare and early education that the Government funds. This includes meals and activities. For many nurseries, this is the only way they can offer 30 hours and balance their books. 

“It’s encouraging that the Minister agrees extra charges should be made, and we would urge her to take the next step and allow mandatory charges reflecting the reality of the funding shortfalls faced by many nurseries. But how are nurseries able to make charging for extras work if parents are under no obligation to pay them?

“Following on the logic, it is inevitable that nurseries will be charging parents more for paid-for hours to make up the ever-increasing funding shortfall. It’s unrealistic for the Government to say that these 30 hours of childcare are free when effectively parents of younger children and those who buy additional hours are subsidising the free hours.”