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Pre-school Education: Finance

Volume 460: debated on Thursday 17 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what proportion of the money allocated to local authorities to provide the nursery education grant was passed to nursery providers in the latest period for which figures are available; (137215)

(2) for what reasons nursery providers in different local authorities do not receive a uniform amount for the nursery education grant per child.

Nursery education grant was phased out in 2001/02. Funding for the free entitlement to early education for three and four-year-olds is provided through general school funding.

Estimated expenditure on under fives by local authorities in 2005-06, the latest year for which outturn data is available, is £3,473 million.

Local authorities—in consultation with their School Forums—are responsible for deciding how best to apply their total school and early years funding across all age groups and between different types of provider, based on an assessment of local circumstances. Therefore it is a matter for each local authority to determine the levels of funding for providers in their area. The 2006 Code of Practice on the provision of free nursery education places for three and four-year-olds makes clear that local authorities should fund providers equitably, fairly and transparently.

The Schools, Early Years and 14-16 Funding consultation which ends on 1 June sets out a number of proposals for changes to the way the early years funding system operates and can be accessed at: