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House of Commons Hansard
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Petitions
23 March 2017
Volume 623

Petitions

Thursday 23 March 2017

OBSERVATIONS

Education

Changes to funding for 3 and 4 year olds

The petition of residents of the UK,

Declares that the Government’s consultation paper (Early Years Funding: changes to funding for 3 and 4 year olds 11 August 2016) outlined proposals that will leave nursery schools financially nonviable, forcing them to close; notes that this funding will not cover basic costs, let alone staffing with qualified teachers; and further notes that state nursery schools have very good outcomes with regard to closing the achievement gap and supporting children with special needs, and that state nursery schools are legally required to employ highly-qualifies teaching staff, who are proven to give young children the best opportunities for academic achievement and enabling social mobility.

The petitioners therefore request the House of Commons to urge the Government to recognise the school status of state nursery schools and fund them accordingly.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Official Report, 2 March 2017; Vol. 622, c. 536.]

[P002022]

Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education (Caroline Dinenage):

Maintained nursery schools make an important contribution to social mobility, particularly in disadvantaged areas. They are also high quality providers, and are more likely to care for children with special educational needs than other types of early years and childcare provider.

We want maintained nursery schools to be sustainable for the long-term, not only to ensure that the quality support they give to disadvantaged areas continues, but also to make the most of the pedagogical expertise and experience that they have for the benefit of the early years system as a whole.

As a result of being constituted as schools, they experience costs that other providers do not. That is why we will provide £55 million a year to local authorities, at least until the end of this Parliament, to enable them to maintain current levels of funding for nursery schools. This will give them stability during wider changes to funding.

Illustrative allocations of this supplementary funding were published in December 2016 alongside the Government’s response to the consultation on an Early Years National Funding Formula. To ensure that local authorities receive the correct amount of supplementary funding to enable them to maintain current levels of funding for nursery schools, in March we will carry out a data assurance exercise with local authorities to ensure that they receive the correct funding. The Government have also written to local authorities to advise them that they should not make decisions about their nursery schools until they have their final supplementary funding allocations.

The provision of this supplementary funding will give the Government time to consult on the future of maintained nursery schools. We are developing this consultation informed by conversations with maintained nursery schools themselves and others with an interest in their role and future. We will publish the consultation in due course.

Changes to funding for 3 and 4 year olds in Walsall South

The petition of residents of the UK,

Declares that the Government’s consultation paper (Early Years Funding: changes to funding for 3 and 4 year olds 11/08/16) outlined proposals that will leave nursery schools financially nonviable, forcing them to close; notes that this funding will not cover basic costs, let alone staffing with qualified teachers; and further notes that state nursery schools have very good outcomes with regard to closing the achievement gap and supporting children with special needs, and that state nursery schools are legally required to employ highly-qualified staff, who are proven to give young children the best opportunities for academic achievement and enabling social mobility.

The petitioners therefore request the House of Commons to urge the Government to recognise the school status of State nursery schools and fund them accordingly.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Valerie Vaz, Official Report, 9 February 2017; Vol. 621, c. 748.]

[P002011]

Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education (Caroline Dinenage):

Maintained nursery schools make an important contribution to social mobility, particularly in disadvantaged areas. They are also high quality providers, and are more likely to care for children with special educational needs than other types of early years and childcare provider.

We want maintained nursery schools to be sustainable for the long-term, not only to ensure that the quality support they give to disadvantaged areas continues, but also to make the most of the pedagogical expertise and experience that they have for the benefit of the early years system as a whole.

As a result of being constituted as schools, they experience costs that other providers do not. That is why we will provide £55 million a year to local authorities, at least until the end of this Parliament, to enable them to maintain current levels of funding for nursery schools. This will give them stability during wider changes to funding.

Illustrative allocations of this supplementary funding were published in December 2016 alongside the Government’s response to the consultation on an Early Years National Funding Formula. To ensure that local authorities receive the correct amount of supplementary funding to enable them to maintain current levels of funding for nursery schools, in March we will carry out a data assurance exercise with local authorities to ensure that they receive the correct funding. The Government have also written to local authorities to advise them that they should not make decisions about their nursery schools until they have their final supplementary funding allocations.

The provision of this supplementary funding will give the Government time to consult on the future of maintained nursery schools. We are developing this consultation informed by conversations with maintained nursery schools themselves and others with an interest in their role and future. We will publish the consultation in due course.

The future of nursery schools

The petition of residents of Cambridge,

Declares that nursery schools have very good outcomes with regard to closing the achievement gap as well as supporting children with complex educational or medical needs; further that the petitioners are concerned by the Government’s proposals for early years funding that would mean that local authorities would pass on 95% of early years funding from central government directly to early year providers; further that should the proposals be accepted all nursery schools in Cambridgeshire will find themselves in dire financial difficulties; and further that the proposals would lead to a loss of early years provision as well as job losses for nursery staff.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to drop their proposal that would require local authorities to pass on 95% of early years funding from central government directly to early year providers.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Daniel Zeichner , Official Report, 21 February 2017; Vol. 621, c. 991.]

[P002014]

Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education (Caroline Dinenage):

The 95% pass-through is good news for all providers including maintained nursery schools. It means that local authorities will have to pass on 95% of their early years funding to providers from 2018-19 (with a transitional arrangement of 93% in 2017-18). This will put an end to the excessive top-slicing of budgets that occurs in some local authorities and will ensure that the record level of Government investment in free childcare will reach providers.

Maintained nursery schools make an important contribution to social mobility, particularly in disadvantaged areas. They are also high quality providers, and are more likely to care for children with special educational needs than other types of early years and childcare provider.

We want maintained nursery schools to be sustainable for the long-term, not only to ensure that the quality support they give to disadvantaged areas continues, but also to make the most of their pedagogical expertise and experience for the benefit of the early years system as a whole.

We know that maintained nursery schools typically have higher costs than other providers. That is why we are giving local authorities supplementary funding of £55 million a year for their maintained nursery schools, until at least the end of this Parliament. This is in addition to their early years national funding formula allocations and will enable local authorities to maintain their current funding rates for nursery schools.

In March we will carry out a data assurance exercise with local authorities to ensure that they receive the correct level of supplementary funding to enable them to maintain current levels of funding for nursery schools. The Government have also written to local authorities to advise them that they should not make decisions about their nursery schools until they have their final supplementary funding allocations.

Local authorities will be able to use their funding (both their early years national formula and supplementary funding) to continue to fund nursery schools at their current funding rates.

The Government have also committed to consulting on the future of maintained nursery schools. We are developing this consultation informed by conversations with maintained nursery schools themselves and others with an interest in their role and future. We will publish the consultation in due course.

Transport

Traffic enforcement measures along the A52

The petition of residents of Broxtowe,

Declares that as a result of the lack of traffic enforcement measures along the A52 road between the roundabouts known locally as Bardill’s Island, which crosses with the B6003, and Priory Island, which is at a junction with the A6464, there is excessive speeding and as such the road is unsafe.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to install traffic enforcement measures along the A52 between the two roundabouts known locally as Bardill’s Island, which crosses with the B6003, and Priory Island, which is at a junction with the A6464.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Anna Soubry, Official Report, 28 February 2017; Vol. 622, c. 268.]

[P002020]

Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Paul Maynard):

The Department for Transport (DfT”) is responsible for setting legislation and for guidance to traffic authorities on how to provide various traffic management measures. Local authorities have a statutory responsibility to provide appropriate traffic management schemes for their roads (under section 122 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984). They are free to make their own decisions about the streets under their care, provided they take account of the relevant legislation. They are also accountable to local people for their decisions and their performance.

Local highway authorities can introduce a number of measures such as lower speed limits, traffic calming measures or reconfiguring the road. The local police are responsible for day-to-day enforcement of speed limits.

The decisions on the type of measures that might be most suitable are matters for the local highway authority in consultation with local communities. The DfT provides guidance for local authorities in Speed Limit Circular 01/2013 ‘Setting Local Speed Limits’ which is at:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/setting-local-speed-limits

With regard to traffic calming, this is also a matter for local authorities. The DfT have published guidance on the design of traffic calming measures is in Local Transport Note (LTN) 1/07 Traffic Calming’ which is available on the DfT website at:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-transport-notes

Ministers and officials have no remit to intervene in the day-to-day affairs of local authorities except where specific provision has been made in legislation. Any concerns should therefore be raised with the appropriate local authority.

However, the Department for Transport (DfT) would like to thank the petitioners for taking this positive action to bring this matter to its attention and the Minister will write to Nottinghamshire County Council to make them aware of the concerns of Parliament.