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Executive sets out future funding arrangements for maintained nurseries

Children and families

29 March 2022

North Northamptonshire Council logo

North Northamptonshire Council’s Executive met publicly today to consider the options for the distribution of supplementary funding for maintained nurseries for 2022/23.

The options considered at the meeting were consulted on with the four maintained nurseries in North Northamptonshire: Highfield, Croyland, Ronald Tree and Pen Green. Full consideration has also been given to the options in consultation with the North Northamptonshire Schools’ Forum as a statutory consultee.

The meeting was very well attended by those who represent the maintained nurseries and there were a significant number of public speakers who addressed the meeting.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the Executive recommended to Council that, for 2022/23 only, a one-off grant funding of £650,000 from the Council’s Contingency Budget will be awarded to the four maintained nurseries. They also recommended that £350,000 is awarded to Pen Green Nursery and £100,000 to each of the other three maintained nurseries. The funding, if approved by Council, will be subject to specific grant agreement and conditions.

The above temporary funding will allow the nurseries time to adapt whilst the Council moves towards a participation-based funding model as set out in Option Two of the report to Executive.

We have seen and heard passion and commitment from all of our nurseries and their advocates. I thank everyone for their contribution and attendance today. We also actively debated this within the Executive and I fully understand the strength of feeling regarding the funding for our maintained nursery schools in North Northamptonshire.

For me, it is essential that we ensure all four of our nursery schools are funded fairly from the resources available so that they can provide the support for children in their formative early years.

Listening to all of the debate, it is clear that we do need to review the maintained nursery funding and provision, as set out in the recommendations, especially as the overall level of grant funding has reduced from previous years.

I am committed to supporting all four nurseries through the proposed funding changes over the next year whilst the Scrutiny Review takes place.
Councillor Jason Smithers, the Leader of the Council
All four nurseries do exceptional work but if the current arrangements continue as they are it will most likely lead to the closure of some of these nurseries.

The equality of funding is vitally important to ensure fair and equal opportunities are provided to all our local children, regardless of where they live. When making this difficult decision, we have kept in mind the core purpose of the nurseries, ensuring that they are focussed on the children. The recommendation to Council to provide transitional funding is the best way forward and gives everyone the time they need to adapt during what are difficult financial times for all.
Councillor Scott Edwards, Executive Member for Children, Families, Education and Skills