Memorandum submitted by Trafford Council
1. Background context
1.1 There are 62 infant and primary schools in Trafford. 57 have an attached nursery class (There are no nursery schools)
1.2 Most nursery classes offer 52 part-time places, or a mix of part-time and full-time places where space allows.
1.3 The Local Authority represents the national picture in terms of demographics, deprivation and children entitled to free school meals although there are extremes of affluence and deprivation across the Borough.
1.4 Traditionally, these classes have been funded on a combination of place-led funding and participation-led funding. The place-led funding supports a nursery teacher and a NVQ level 3 nursery assistant.
1.5 The nursery classes provide early years provision over 80% of three and four year old children in Trafford.
1.6 A smaller proportion of 3 and 4 year old children receive early years provision from over 80 private, voluntary and independent providers.
1.7 All children start in the primary school reception class in the September of the academic year in which they turn 5 years old.
1.8 The nursery classes provide part- time places for most children. However, where there are spaces in the nursery class in some schools, additional free sessions have been offered. This "extra" entitlement has been particularly beneficial in areas of deprivation, raising outcomes for children at the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage.
1.9 Quality of provision in nursery classes in Trafford is very high. In all but one school, EYFS provision was deemed to be good or outstanding, with over 45% outstanding.
1.10 EYFS Profile results indicate a high level of attainment for children by the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage. (In the highest ten LAs for percentage of children "achieving a good level of development"). This is continued into Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 within the primary sector.
2. Funding changes
2.1 Changes to funding mean that nursery classes will be funded on participation only.
2.2 The LA cannot afford to fund additional free places across both the maintained and private, voluntary and independent (PVI) sector, nor would this be a popular choice in the PVI sector.
3.1 Changes to funding will lead to a fairer picture of entitlement for children across the Borough.
3.2 Some schools will be well placed to charge parents for additional sessions where space in the nursery class allows. Parent demand suggests that this will be a popular choice for many parents.
3.3 Schools in areas of most deprivation do not expect that the majority of their parents will be able to pay for additional sessions.
3.4 Schools in areas of deprivation are concerned that the decrease from the current provision may lead to lower outcomes for children.
3.5 Some schools have indicated that some children who may be "at risk" will be spending more time at home and less time in the nursery class than was previously the case.
3.6 Impact assessments indicate that a significant number of schools will have a significant reduction in their budget due to changes in nursery funding.
3.7 It is likely that some schools will have to reduce their nursery class provision or in extreme cases consider closure.
3.8 Closure to some school nursery classes reduces parents' choice of high quality early years provision.
3.9 Closure of school nursery classes reduces the number of good or outstanding early years' settings in the Borough.