Pre-school Education: Finance

Department for Education written question – answered at on 16 September 2016.

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Photo of David Mackintosh David Mackintosh Conservative, Northampton South

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how she plans to ensure that the forthcoming review of fair funding for early years education will include measures to help close the attainment gap at age five.

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

This Government is committed to narrowing the gap in attainment between the most disadvantaged children and their peers, including in the early years. We will be investing over £1 billion more per year by 2019-20 to fund our commitments on the early years entitlements – this includes £300 million per year from 2017-18 for a significant increase to the hourly rate paid for the two, three and four year old entitlements.

The 2014-15 Early Years Foundation Stage Profile results tell us that the proportion of children achieving a good level of development continues to increase – 66% in 2015, compared to 60% in 2014 and 52% in 2013. Furthermore, a higher proportion of children eligible for free school meals are achieving a good level of development – 51% in 2015 compared to 45% in 2014.

We need to continue this improvement. This is why we propose an additional needs factor in our new early years national funding formula, in order to channel funding towards local authorities with a higher relative proportion of children with additional needs. Our consultation on early years funding reform is currently open, and I would encourage my Honourable Friend and his constituents to submit their views.

The Government already provides additional funding for the most disadvantaged three- and four-year olds through the Early Years Pupil Premium. This will continue as a separate funding stream, additional to the early years national funding formula.

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