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Report calls on government to secure future of state nurseries (12 March 2015)

Date: 12/03/2015
Duncan Lewis, Child Care Solicitors, Report calls on government to secure future of state nurseries

A new report into state nurseries is warning that local authority budget cuts are making local state nurseries vulnerable to closure.

The report by the organisation Early Education calls on the government to secure the future of state nurseries, which serve some of the most vulnerable children in society.

The report reveals that in the last 30 years, one-third of state nurseries have shut with a total of 200 nurseries closing down during that period.

Among the remaining 400 state nurseries, many more are facing closure, the report warns.

Chief executive of Early Education, Beatrice Merrick, said that nursery schools are “unique” because they have a set of characteristics which have prove to be “highly effective”.

State nurseries are required to employ qualified teachers, whereas privately-run nurseries are not, she said.

Ms Merrick added that local authorities are not required to fund state nurseries as they do other schools, however – making them vulnerable to cuts.

“The gradual erosion of nursery schools is on the verge of becoming a rapid collapse,” Ms Merrick warned.

The Department for Education (DfE) said, however, that state nursery schools were funded “in the same way as every other early education provider”.

“Maintained nursery schools are a vital part of our range of early years provision that offers choice and flexibility,” a DfE spokesman added.

Local councils set funding for local state nurseries – however, recent figures show that the cost of private nursery places has rocketed after the government offered low-income families 15 hours a week of free nursery education.

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