To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to allocate further supplementary funding to maintained nursery schools after 2019-20.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the reasons for the reduction in the number of maintained nursery schools since 2010.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has plans to allocate funding to the (a) reopening and (b) opening of maintained nursery schools.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an estimate of the cost to other public services in areas where maintained nursery schools have closed.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on children with SEND of the closure of maintained nursery schools as a result of a reduction in funding allocated to those schools.
Maintained nursery schools make a valuable contribution to improving the lives of some of our most disadvantaged children, including those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
Maintained nursery schools experience costs over and above those of other early years providers. That is why we are providing local authorities with around £60 million a year in supplementary funding to enable them to protect maintained nursery schools’ funding.
This arrangement is due to end in March 2020, and what happens after that will be determined by the next Spending Review. Owing to uncertainty over the exact date of the Spending Review, we are considering how best to handle transitional arrangements for a number of areas, including maintained nursery schools.
Local funding decisions are a matter for the relevant local authority. We are clear that it would be premature for local authorities to make decisions about the future of their maintained nursery schools before the Spending Review outcomes are published.
There is a presumption against the closure of maintained nursery schools. This does not mean that they will never close, but when they do, local authorities have a statutory requirement to ensure that alternative provision: is of at least equal quality; maintains expertise and specialism; and is more accessible and convenient for local parents.