Local Member of Parliament Craig Tracey has spoken in an education debate this week and outlined the imperative need to further fund Maintained Nursery Schools.
There are two Maintained Nursery Schools in North Warwickshire – in Atherstone and in Bedworth Heath, both led by Headteacher Amanda King. However, Maintained Nursery Schools are facing financial difficulties due to costs of the specialist nature of their work.
Speaking in the House of Commons Craig Tracey MP said:
“Maintained nursery schools were set up in the 1940s to improve social mobility, with 64% based in areas of social deprivation. They also provide education and care for a large proportion of nursery aged children with special educational needs, which is a legal obligation not catered for by private providers. The issue they face is that in 2016, when the early years funding changed to universal base rate funding, they saw a dramatic reduction in the money they receive. The Department for Education was quick to act and agreed to provide supplementary funding of £55 million to top up their budgets until the financial year 2019-20. Critically, this date is nearing and maintained nursery schools need certainty as soon as possible, so they can plan their futures.
“I have had the privilege of working with Amanda King, the inspirational headteacher of two maintained nursery schools in my constituency, Bedworth Heath and Atherstone. Some 20% of the children at her Bedworth Heath Nursery School are vulnerable children. From September, it will have eight children with heightened medical and special educational needs and disability. Despite those challenges, both schools are Ofsted rated outstanding across the board.
“There is a clear and demonstrable case to provide the financial certainty that these schools need. They are an asset to the communities they serve. If the funding is not provided, it will still need to be found elsewhere so that the provision can be made to ensure that children, particularly from areas of social deprivation or with special educational needs, can continue to receive the best possible start to their education journey. When a clear solution already exists to these issues, it would seem prudent to give it all of the support it needs, but the clock is ticking. I therefore urge Minsters to look carefully and quickly at what can be done to ensure excellent headteachers like Amanda and her many colleagues around the country are able to fully concentrate their efforts in providing the high quality education that benefits so many of our constituents, while delivering on the key Conservative principle of social mobility.”
The local MP wanted to send a clear message to Education Ministers about the growing urgency of the situation and has vowed to continue to championing this cause.