Two Lincoln nurseries could be forced to close if the government fails to provide current funding levels, but they will “continue to fight.”
St Giles Nursery School on Addison Drive and Kingsdown Nursery on Kingsdown Road are both maintained nursery schools which rely on state funding to transform the lives of pupils between two and four-years-old.
Maintained nurseries provide care and support for more than 5,000 children with special education needs and for those from deprived backgrounds.
The government provided £55 million each year in supplementary funding since a new formula was introduced in 2017, but this is set to end in 2019/20.
The extra funding will cease after March 2020, despite Ofsted rating many of the schools very highly.
Funding would drop from £5.93 to £3.84 per hour. Many of the affected nurseries across the country are warning they may be forced to close.
The nurseries have been looking at ways to cut costs many of the headteachers say the level of funding isn’t sustainable. Other nurseries are looking to local government to plug the gap.
Amy Stancer, headteacher at St Giles nursery, told The Lincolnite: “We have over 130 children that come to our outstanding nursery.
“We believe we are valued by our community and play an important part within it and so it would be a major loss to the local community if we were forced to close.
“At the moment we can hire staff with early years degrees and a lot of experience, led by experienced teachers. They don’t just see working at the nursery as a job, it’s a vocation for them.
“Many work from 7am until 7pm because they want to make a difference and enjoy their experiences with young children.
“The new funding rate means we just won’t be able to continue to afford the wonderful staff we have who care so much about the children.”
Ofsted recently rated Kingsdown as ‘good’ and St Giles as ‘outstanding’ – the sixth time in a row that St Giles has received the highest such rating.
Schools will “continue to fight”
Some of the maintained nurseries are now looking to local government chiefs to fill the funding gap, while they “continue to fight.”
Kate Marnoch, headteacher at Kingsdown nursery told The Lincolnite: “I think that maintained nurseries are too important of a resource to be closed.
“Early years are crucial in a child’s development so I don’t believe that we will be going anywhere.
“We will continue to fight for our local community.
“We are hopeful that the local authority will provide the same level of funding. We cannot maintain the school with anything less.”
Both nurseries took a petition to the government last week to keep up their funding. It was signed by over 500 people.
Karen Lee MP has been helping the schools to raise the issue in parliament and put pressure on the government.
“Lincoln is facing a potential loss of funding which could mean that we lose our two brilliant maintained nurseries,” she wrote in a column on The Lincolnite.
“I was one of 33 MPs who presented a petition collected by residents calling on the government to guarantee that funding will continue after March 2020, when supplementary funding is set to end.
“However, we shouldn’t be forced to beg the government to keep providing basic services to our children.”