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Nurseries: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 18th May 2020.

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Photo of Matthew Pennycook Matthew Pennycook Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to allow maintained nursery schools to access funding for exceptional costs in response to the covid-19 outbreak for the period from March to July 2020.

Photo of Abena Oppong-Asare Abena Oppong-Asare Labour, Erith and Thamesmead

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reasons maintained nursery schools are not eligible to claim (a) free school meal vouchers and (b) funding for exceptional costs associated with the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The government recognises that maintained nursery schools are an important part of the early years sector and provide valuable services, especially in disadvantaged areas.

We are committed to funding for maintained nursery schools in the longer term. Last October, we announced that maintained nursery schools would continue to receive supplementary funding for the whole of the financial year 2020-21 and this is unchanged by the COVID-19 outbreak, along with their funding for the usual early education entitlements through the dedicated schools grant. At the moment, our resources are focused on tackling the unprecedented challenges created by COVID-19. But resolving the long-term funding of maintained nursery schools is high on our list of priorities and we will return to it as soon as we are able. Any reform to the way maintained nursery schools are funded in the future will be accompanied by appropriate funding protections.

Unlike most state-funded schools, maintained nursery schools typically rely on private income for a significant proportion of their total income. Therefore, we have ensured that access to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is also available to maintained nursery schools, in line with the published guidance.

Maintained nursery schools can access the free school meal vouchers via Edenred.

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