Councils across England will receive a funding boost to deliver free childcare places, enabling parents to work more flexibly and supporting children’s early development.
Some of the additional investment will go to ensuring nurseries and childminders can support some of the most disadvantaged children, with an increase in hourly funding for all councils offering 15 hours free childcare for disadvantaged two-year-olds. The vast majority of areas providing free 30 hours places for working parents of three and four-year olds will also receive an increase in the hourly rate.
It will also see an increase to the minimum hourly funding rate so that no authorities will see less than £4.38 per hour per child for three and four year olds.
The Education Secretary Gavin Williamson also confirmed continuation of supplementary funding for Maintained Nursery Schools for 2020-21, providing reassurance for these settings which tend to care for higher numbers of disadvantaged children, often most at risk of falling behind.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
A child’s early education is crucial to their future success which is why we are increasing our hourly funding rates for councils so that they can continue to deliver high quality and free childcare places.
Over one million children every year are now benefitting from the Government’s record investment in childcare and early years education – which will have reached £3.6 billion by next year. This will give families the flexibility they need to be able to balance their work and family lives.
The increase in funding comes following the Chancellor’s announcement of an additional £66 million investment in the early years as part of the spending review.
It will also see a handful of areas that have historically received higher levels of funding having their current funding rates for three and four-year-olds protected in 2020-21.
In recognition of the need for certainty about the 2020-21 financial year in maintained nursery schools, we have today announced the continuation of the additional funding which will be provided to local authorities to enable them to fund maintained nursery schools at higher rates.
This forms part of the Government’s drive to ensure children have the best start in life through access to high quality early education and wider aims to support parents in creating a learning environment at home, through the Hungry Little Minds Campaign.
This additional funding follows the announcement that we are investing a total of £14 billion additional funding in schools over the next three years to 2022-23. Schools found out earlier this month how the first part of that investment – £2.6 billion – will be allocated for the coming year. Every secondary school will receive a minimum of £5,000 per pupil next year and every primary school will receive a minimum of £3,750 next year, before receiving at least £4,000 from 2021-22.