Funding cuts threaten nursery schools, unions warn Greening

UNISON joins fellow unions, charities and others involved in early years education to sign open letter on plans to change ‘early years’ funding

“Think again” on cuts to nursery school funding – that was the demand from a range of organisations, including UNISON, in an open letter to education secretary Justine Greening today.

UNISON joined sister unions, charities and others in welcoming government proposals for 30 hours a week of free childcare, but warned that funding for this must not be at the expense of nursery schools.

Their letter warned that more than 400 nursery schools’ survival could be threatened if the government cuts  funding for maintained nursery schools cut after two years.

With the government “just setting out funding plans for two years, nursery schools cannot plan long term and deliver the stability that parents and employees need,” it said.

The plans are contained in a Department for Education response to a consultation this autumn on plans to “reform the early years funding formula.”

Although the proposals include an overall increase in available funds, this would be spread among a wider ranger of nurseries and other forms of childcare. 

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis pointed out that “nursery schools make a real difference to children who haven’t had the best start in life.

“But quality doesn’t come cheap and the government needs to recognise this.”