Crossparty drive to rescue nurseries
A cross-party group of MPs has launched a campaign to fight cuts in funding for state-maintained nursery schools, warning that they will worsen inequality in education.
More than 70 MPs have signed a letter to education and Treasury ministers urging them to secure the future of 400 maintained nurseries by continuing the current financial support beyond 2020. Among the signatories is Robert Halfon, the Tory chair of the education select committee.
Halfon told the Observer: “Maintained nurseries are some of the best examples of the state. Most have been rated outstanding by Ofsted. Why would you consider cutting funding for these schools?”
Maintained nurseries are schools for under-fives that often specialise in caring for children with disabilities and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. According to the 2016-17 Ofsted report, 63% were rated outstanding and 100% achieved at least a good grade, the second-highest mark for schools, while 64% are located in the country’s most deprived areas.
One specific purposes is to close the learning gap between the mostand least-privileged children. In 2016 the government promised extra funding of £55m to £60m a year, but this guarantee only lasts until 2019.