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Nurseries ‘hanging by a thread’ without adequate funding, heads warn

Posted on: 2019-03-12 10:30:00

Hundreds of nursery school leaders will march on Downing Street to call for more funding, warning that their long-term survival “hangs by a thread”.

A letter is to be delivered to Philip Hammond on Monday afternoon demanding that he safeguard the future of maintained nursery schools in the forthcoming Spending Review.

Last month, children’s minister Nadhim Zahawi announced £24m of additional funding for nurseries – but leaders argue there is no guarantee of adequate cash flow after the next academic year.

They warn that nursery schools could be forced to close without long-term sustainable funding.

The letter from heads and governors, which comes ahead of the Spring Statement, says: “The long-term survival of maintained nursery schools still hangs by a thread.

It warns: “There will be a terrible cost to our social fabric, and the wider education and care system, if our schools cease to exist.”

The lobby has been organised by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Nursery Schools, Nursery and Reception Classes and the headteachers’ union NAHT.

Labour MP Lucy Powell, chair of the APPG, said:Nurseries have had to go cap-in-hand to the government year after year, demoralising staff, and causing parents worry.

“These vital institutions need long-term sustainability if we’re to shift the dial and eliminate the development gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers.”

It comes after 7,000 headteachers wrote to millions of families about cash shortages in schools.

Last month, school governors took the “unprecedented step” of lobbying government to address the damaging impact that funding cuts are having on pupils’ education.

Mr Zahawi said: “We know that maintained nursery schools play a valuable role in supporting some of the most disadvantaged children across the country, and that there was some uncertainty about funding for the next academic year.

“That is why we have provided an additional £24m of funding to local authorities for their maintained nursery schools to give reassurance in time for the allocation of places for September 2019.

“Decisions on what happens past the end of the 2020-21 academic year will be taken at the next Spending Review.”

Source: The Independent

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