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Maintained Nursery Schools

Volume 697: debated on Monday 21 June 2021

Maintained nursery schools are an important part of the early years sector and provide valuable services, especially in disadvantaged areas. The Government remain committed to their long-term funding and to reaching a long-term solution by working with the sector. Any reform of its funding will follow a public consultation.

I am grateful to the Minister for her reply, but we need this long-term settlement for maintained nursery schools. There are three wonderful maintained nursery schools in my constituency, and their very survival is now in jeopardy. We need that long-term settlement and, even more urgently, we need a consultation on reallocating supplementary funding so that areas such as Barnet, which has got zero from that funding, can actually receive some of it as an interim solution to keep the maintained nursery schools above water until we get that settlement.

My right hon. Friend is a true, passionate spokesperson for the maintained nursery schools sector. Supplementary funding allows the local authorities to protect their maintained nursery schools at the 2016-17 funding level. Back in 2017, Barnet got a 23% increase in its early years funding rate. That is now the 11th highest rate in England, so supplementary funding was not provided because there was not a funding gap in the MNS sector to protect. The next spending review will consider future Government funding, including that for maintained nursery schools.