NDNA says: “We all want 30 hours to work but funding is inadequate” as Government announces more trials

The Department for Education has announced that four more councils have signed up to deliver the government’s flagship 30 hours childcare offer early, before the programme rolls out nationally in September.

Dorset, Leicestershire, North Yorkshire and Tower Hamlets will join the eight original ‘Early Implementer’ councils that launched the offer last September, building on their work so far in testing delivery benefits and challenges.

Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of National Day Nurseries Association, said: “More trials to learn from, ahead of full roll-out of 30 funded hours in September, sounds positive for the families who are set to benefit from more funded childcare earlier than expected.

“The Government has chosen three local authority areas that will receive the lowest possible level funding rate from government to the local authority of £4.30 per hour in Leicestershire, Dorset and North Yorkshire, as well as Tower Hamlets, at one of the very highest rates of £8.51.”

Purnima continued: “We all want 30 funded hours to work but NDNA member nurseries in these areas and others are already telling us that the rate to the local authority of £4.30 - less to the provider after the council's costs - is totally inadequate to cover costs, let alone deliver high-quality care. They are extremely worried about the prospect and don’t think they can deliver more free hours without making losses.  

“Expecting nurseries to take part in 30 hours six months early and at such short notice will itself be a challenge and nurseries will need assurances both on the funding rate they will receive – which is still being negotiated at local level – and the level of freedom they will be given to offer funded places in a way that meets the needs of their parents and is sustainable for them as a business.”

The Department for Education says each council will work with nurseries, pre-schools and childminders in their region to begin offering the 30 hours of funded childcare places per week to all eligible three- and four-year-olds from April.