Memorandum submitted by Penny Mason, Headteacher, Arlesey Nursery School and Childcare Centre
1. I am writing as a Headteacher of a maintained Nursery School .
2. We have had an initial consultation period with our Local Authority over the summer. As a result of this consultation we have been given 4 different models for a suggested formula to choose from.
3. Each of the 4 proposed formulae will lead to losses in funding for our Nursery, in varying degrees when based on our numbers for the previous year. These would range from £37,000 to £108,000 for 2010-11, depending on the model chosen.
4. This large drop in funding is largely due to
the fact that at present we are funded mainly on the number of places we offer,
rather than on uptake. For the 2 terms of the year we are usually around 90%
full. This is because we offer a full time place to all children for the term
before they transfer to
5. This place funding at present
protects our setting, which has an unusual admission pattern into the local
6. In common with the 3 other maintained Nursery Schools in our local authority, we have received a good Ofsted inspection in the past year, which judged us as good with outstanding features. I believe that this is largely due to both our generous staffing levels and also the fact that our staff are both Qualified Teachers as well as qualified and experienced Nursery Nurses. The new funding formula will only be able to match the present level of funding if the Nursery is completely full for the whole year, and as I have shown, this is not possible with our pattern of intake.
7. The new Early Years Single Funding Formula as
has been presented to us by our Local Authority, does not take account of the
necessary and unavoidable costs of running a maintained Nursery School. We are being offered a base rate which will
be common to all settings with an additional lump sum of £65,000 to take
account of the need to have a Headteacher in the Nursery School. Whilst this
would take account of the Head's salary it goes no way towards funding another
member of staff on the Leadership scale, or any other teachers. We are legally
obliged to have a teacher/child ratio of 2 teachers for our setting. It also
does not address the fact that we pay non-teaching staff on LA pay scales, with
oncosts such as the LA pension scheme, which
8. Unfortunately for us (as regards numbers of children), we are in a semi-rural area, in a large village/very small town. Our catchment area is therefore this finite area-there are not other children that we can realistically recruit to supplement our numbers. To meet parents' needs we provide Childcare for the 3-9 year olds in the village from to , which obviously boosts our numbers for the free entitlement element. We also open for 48 weeks of the year. There are, however, 2 other settings in the village which provide childcare-a Private Daycare setting which offers longer hours than us and a Pre-School which offers places for children 2-4 years. It is important that parents continue to have this choice.
9. I feel that implementing the single funding formula in the way that our Local Authority is proposing will undo the last 10 years of investment in good quality early years education. It will become watered down care.
10. I hope that the Government will review the
implementation of the single funding formula to maintain what is already good
and to improve the funding for the