To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to protect nurseries from closure as a result of the introduction of 30 hours of free childcare.
No nursery needs protecting from the introduction of 30 hours free childcare as providers don’t have to offer places if it doesn’t work with their business model. In fact, evidence from the evaluation of early delivery of 30 hours free childcare found that the majority of providers already delivering early years entitlements were willing and able to deliver 30 hours free childcare.
By 2019-20, we will be spending an extra £1 billion annually on higher funding rates to deliver 30 hours free childcare. The rates are based on our review of childcare costs, which was described as both thorough and wide-ranging by the National Audit Office. We continue to monitor the delivery costs of early education and have commissioned new research to provide us with robust and detailed cost data of under five-year-olds from a representative sample of early year’s providers.
The government continues to encourage providers to take advantage of the free packages of business support the department has invested in via Childcare Works and key sector organisations including National Day Nurseries Asssociation, Pre-School Learning Alliance and Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years. Support can be found at the following links: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/early-years-business-sustainability and www.childcareworks.co.uk.