Since her visit to Chichester Nursery School last year, Chichester MP Gillian Keegan has been calling for maintained nursery schools to be fully funded.
During her tour, Gillian was impressed by the community work Chichester Nursery does to support the most disadvantaged families in the city.
Mrs Keegan said was pleased to see the recent Government announcement that an additional £24 million would be provided to fully fund maintained nursery schools for 2019/20. The statement by Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi provides funding certainty for maintained nurseries like Chichester Nursery School, as well as 400 others across the country.
Since 2017 the Government has provided £60 million a year in supplementary funding for maintained nurseries to recognise the additional costs they incur. Alongside a cross-party group of MPs, in January Mrs Keegan raised the need for funding certainty in Parliament as the arrangement was due to end in March, 2020.
Mrs Keegan said: “This is fantastic news for maintained nurseries up and down the country. It is right that we fully support the dedicated work of our nurseries. When I visited Chichester Nursery,
I was blown away by activities provided for its pupils – from the mud kitchen to its woodwork area. The level of support provided by the staff, who are all fully qualified teachers, was exceptional.
“I know this funding is much needed and I am glad the Government recognises this is not a long-term fix. Early years funding is one of the most important investments we can make and I will continue to work with all colleagues to ensure we present a strong case for maintained nursery school funding in the run-up to the spending review.”
Commenting on the funding increase, Chichester Nursery School headteacher Ruth Campbell said: “We were really encouraged by last week’s news that Nadhim Zahawi has promised to extend the supplementary funding for maintained nursery schools for an extra term. This will enable us to be able to guarantee places for children applying to start with us in September for the whole academic year.
“However, we urgently need a guarantee of long-term sustainable funding for Chichester Nursery School and all maintained nurseries, to enable us to continue the amazing work we do with all children and particularly the additional support we provide for our most vulnerable families and children with special educational needs.
“We are so grateful for the support that Gillian Keegan, our MP, has given us to date and for the way she continues to fight on our behalf in Parliament.”