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Essex County Council have commented on a High Court battle with the Department of Education, on which the local authority was able to claim victory last week, despite describing the legal action as “an unusual step”.
The council believed that Government cuts to pre-school education and childcare funding had a negative effect on Early Years Education projects in the county. In particular, Essex councillors were concerned that new facilities and upgrades for children with disabilities would fail to be realised and that parents would be unable to access funding for three and four year olds.
Council leader Peter Martin said: “I am pleased to hear of the ruling in favour of Essex County Council. This was an unusual step for the council to take but we believed strongly that the rights of the county’s children to have access to these facilities is worth campaigning for.
“Whilst we realise that this is a time of austerity and budgets are tight, we believe it is important to protect those most vulnerable in society and ensure they are given the resources and support they need.
“Early years provision is of great importance to us in the county, reflected in the fact we have been announced as a pilot area for the relationship support aspect of the government’s support for families scheme and our work within the county on EssexFamily and the ties this has with our pilot status within the government’s Whole Place Community Budgets.
“We hope the Department of Education listens to this ruling and makes the necessary adjustments to our funding to ensure Essex parents and children receive the best possible early years provision.”