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Agenda item

Questions from Members

Minutes:

Councillor A Watson

 

Future Funding for Maintained Nursery Schools Durham County Council was in the Forefront of Early Years education and created Nursery Schools in the 1960’s most of which are rated outstanding by Ofsted.  Government has stated that when the existing system of supplementary payments for Maintained Nursery School provision is merged into The Early Years single Funding Formula, Local Authorities will still be permitted to provide a higher level of Funding for Maintained Nursery Schools.  What assurances can the Portfolio Holder give Members that County Durham will indeed continue to provide the Enhanced Supplement?

 

Councillor O Gunn, Portfolio Holder for Children and Young People’s Services thanked Councillor Watson for his question.

 

The Department for Education’s 2016 document, ‘Early years National funding formula’, did indeed include the suggestion that local authorities were allowed to continue providing a higher level of funding to maintained nursery schools, but it also required local authorities to set a universal base rate which was the same for all types of provider.  So the expectation would be that, although a higher level of funding was permitted prior to the setting of a universal base rate, in due course all providers would be paid at the same rate.

 

Currently the government provided local authorities with supplementary funding for maintained nurseries.  The purpose of a universal rate was to ensure that no Councils unfairly differentiated the funding rates that they paid to different types of providers, a level playing-field for those from the maintained sector and those from the private/voluntary sector was important, particularly so in regard to 30 hours delivery, the majority of which was provided by the private and voluntary sector.

 

However, the Government’s supplementary funding was only guaranteed until the end of the financial year 2019/20.  The expectation of the Department for Education was that the Council would by then have set a universal rate from the funding available through the Early Years National Funding Formula, paying all types of providers at the same level.

 

In the meantime the Department for Education was undertaking a national review of the funding of maintained nursey schools where it was expected Government direction would follow. 

 

Councillor Watson asked the following supplementary question

 

Does the Portfolio Holder appreciate that if the Enhanced Supplement is not paid then Maintained Nursery Schools in order to set their Budgets for 2019-20, will have little alternative but to make many TA's redundant, indeed some could struggle to prevent closure.

 

Councillor Gunn replied that she could only repeat what she had previously said regarding funding.  Government had been lobbied for increased education funding at all levels.  The Council would always give as much as it could but was restricted because the government did not realise the funding crisis in all education provision.

 

 

Councillor D Freeman

 

Can the Portfolio Holder confirm that as in previous years that the Council will again be supporting our shopping centres with ‘Free after 3.00’ parking during December in its own car parks across County Durham and on street in Durham City?

 

Councillor C Marshall, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration thanked Councillor Freeman for his question and confirmed that the Council would be supporting shopping centres with ‘Free after 3.00’ parking during December in its own car parks across County Durham and on street in Durham City.

 

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