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Bucks County Council underspend on early years education

Three-quarters of councils underspent on early years education in 2018-19

Published by Mix96 News at 1:31pm 7th February 2020. 3-minute read.

Bucks County Council underspend on early years education

The council currently receives £4.64 in government funding per hour per child.

A Freedom of Information request by the National Day Nurseries Association found that three-quarters of councils underspent on early years education in 2018-19, with £63.5 million earmarked for pre-schoolers either lying unused, or channeled away to other areas of education.

Buckinghamshire County Council reported a £54,720 underspend during that time.

The council currently receives £4.64 in government funding per hour per child, according to NDNA.

Of this, £4.25 (92%) goes to providers as a base rate to fund the provision of free places.

Additional hourly supplements provided by the council based on levels of deprivation or special educational needs have not been factored in.

Local authorities are required to pass on at least 95% of early years funding to providers, with a maximum 5% permitted to be kept back for administration costs, and to meet other local needs for pre-schoolers.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said the Government had recently announced an increase to hourly funding rates for councils in 2020-21, and it would continue to monitor the childcare market closely.

She added: “The setting of local provider funding rates is a decision for local authorities in consultation with their Schools Forum."

A Buckinghamshire County Council spokesman said:

“The council retains up to a maximum of 5% of early years education funding annually. The use of this funding is agreed by both the Early Years forum and Schools Forum, with membership representing the private, voluntary, independent and maintained early years sector, across all geographic areas of Buckinghamshire. Examples of the use of the retained 5% include: 

  • Subsidised training for all providers -This is provided locally within Buckinghamshire to ensure ease of access. High quality training is provided on the early years curriculum, paediatric first aid, safeguarding, meeting the needs of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and supporting vulnerable children. We co-design this training with our providers to ensure it meets their needs and fills gaps in the general training and development provision available across the country.
  • Sustainability grants – provides funding for individual providers to draw on in special circumstances in order to ensure that wherever possible providers stay open and families are not disadvantaged.
  • Inclusion grants – supporting providers to put in place additional strategies to meet the developmental needs of vulnerable children who may have special educational needs. 
  • Early Years Specialist advice and Support – enables specialist advisors and consultants to help providers improve and sustain the quality of their childcare to meet the individual educational needs of their co-hort including those with SEND
  • Funding systems and processes – for example to ensure providers are paid accurately for the number of children on their role in a timely manner”


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