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Most day nurseries say they are “very likely” to get involved in delivering funded places for two-year-olds, a survey by the National Day Nurseries Association has found. Sixty-three per cent of nurseries who responded to the survey said they would “definitely”, or were “very likely” to offer places, with nurseries on average expecting to offer 10 places.
NDNA chief executive Purnima Tanuku OBE said "Nurseries know the benefit that funded places will bring to two year olds and most are enthusiastic to offer places, if the conditions are right. We are making number of recommendations today informed by our survey findings. It will be vital to ensure that delivering places is financially viable for providers, with the right level of funding and measures to keep costs down. We also need action to address nurseries’ support needs, including practice with two year olds, operations and business planning.
“Securing nurseries’ - and other providers' - involvement is crucial to ensure we can deliver enough places and government, local authorities, providers and national organisations will need to work together to achieve this. Our survey shows that nearly half of nurseries had not yet heard from their local authority about plans for this coming September. We need prompt action now to address the challenges, grow confidence in the initiative and encourage nurseries to play their part to ensure we can scale up to deliver for these 260,000 children in less than three years time.”
NDNA’s recommendations are:
•Funding – The hourly rate for two-year-old places must cover costs for nurseries across the country to get involved and play a full part in the initiative.
•Access to capital funding – Nurseries may be willing to expand or refurbish and equip areas to accommodate more two-year-olds but they will need a viable business case to do so. The NDNA state “Government schemes such as the National Loan Guarantee Scheme should be promoted to childcare businesses. To secure lending nurseries need to be able to present their bank with a viable business plan that shows a clear return on investment.”
•Reducing overheads – The NDNA say the disparity in VAT rules and enabling PVI nurseries to recover VAT on new capital investment would help incentivise nurseries to create places for two-year-olds.
•Support - Government and local authorities will need to identify and plan to meet support needs and the NDNA say sector-specific support is vital to help develop the quality, business and operational planning that will enable nurseries to engage and provide for two-year-olds.
•Workforce – NDNA say the Nutbrown review highlighted highly-qualified practitioners including Early Years Professionals do not always work directly with under threes. So workforce development support would be needed along with a funding rate to cover the cost of employing more qualified practitioners.
•Engagement – NDNA say “the timescale is tight and the target of 260,000 children is challenging. It is essential that PVI nurseries are engaged now so they can plan for expansion, recruit and develop their workforce and address training needs.”
The report can be seen in full at www.ndna.org.uk/two-year-old-report