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Nurseries are being asked to take part in National Day Nurseries Association’s Annual Nursery Survey 2016 so the organisation can get an accurate picture of the UK’s childcare sector.
Last year’s survey, involving separate in-depth reports for each nation, was launched at the Houses of Parliament.
It produced key statistics including the extent of losses sustained by nurseries offering the Government’s free places – an average of £800 per year per funded three or four-year-old.
This year’s survey, to be published in late February, is set to further outline the sector’s need for continued investment before a doubling of free hours entitlement to 390,000 families in England, according to the children’s charity.
Claire Schofield, director of membership, policy and communications at NDNA, said: “This is the most important survey that we do. It tells us, in great detail, what is really happening in the UK nursery sector.
“The results will help NDNA to make authoritative recommendations for action at highest Government levels, based on hard facts and figures.
“Last year’s survey was an extremely successful lobbying tool. Its contents were crucial in the Department for Education’s call for evidence this year on nursery funding. Now 2016’s survey will be more important than ever in establishing the health of the sector as we head towards huge changes.
“The challenges ahead are immense and our sector can face them effectively only with the right investment and support from the Government.”
NDNA wants as many nursery owners and managers as possible to fill in the detailed survey featuring questions on provision, finances and inspection.
They will be asked their views on matters including whether they are likely to offer more funded places and the anticipated effect of the National Living Wage on their businesses.
Pilots start in 2016 for 30 free hours with full roll-out in England in 2017. In the meantime, NDNA estimates nurseries will see an average of 10 per cent rise in their pay roll costs with the implementation of the National Living Wage in April 2016.
NDNA says it is vital for every penny of the Government’s £300m increase in funding to the sector announced last month to reach the front line of nursery provision.
To take part in the survey which closes on Sunday 17 January, go to www.ndna.org.uk/annualsurvey2016