Pre-school choices for children unveiled
MORE pre-school choices are expected to be made available for parents in Bucks as new funding rules for early years places have been unveiled.
Bucks County Council (BCC) will now fund free early education places for children in nursery or reception class at an independent school, in light of new guidance from the government.
In 2012 early education funding was withdrawn for pupils who have a fulltime place at a reception class in Bucks, but end up attending an independent school.
Every three and four year-old in the country is entitled to 15 hours a week of free early education paid for by government – known as free entitlement funding – before they reach the compulsory school age.
Now new information from the Department of Education states that funding can be offered to independent schools to provide free entitlement places.
There are currently eight independent schools in the county offering free entitlement places, however BCC hopes the new funding rules will see the figure increase.
A report presented to BCC’s schools forum on Tuesday stated: “In June 2018 the Department for Education updated their ‘early education and childcare statutory guidance for local authorities June 2018’ and in July 2018 gave further clarification to the update via a letter to all local authorities.
“In this they state that ‘Local authorities can fund a range of providers to deliver 15 and 30 hours free childcare, including independent schools, where free places can be delivered via their nursery and/or reception classes’.
“The footnote in the guidance states that this is not applicable to children taking up a place in a state-funded reception class or a full-time place in an independent school reception class with is funded by the local authority.”