Camden has a proud history of investment in early years because the evidence shows that high quality early education and childcare are fundamental to supporting success and building resilience through childhood, and on to later life.
Our commitment to supporting children and families through the early years has been demonstrated by the delivery of a unique offer of holistic provision for children under five and their families in Camden:
· affordable childcare, universal access to services and targeted support for those with additional needs
· family interventions, health and wellbeing programmes and early parenting support
· delivery of the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum.
Camden has invested significantly in our early education offer, providing an additional 15 hours for three and four year olds in school and Council-run nurseries in recognition of the important role early education plays in giving every child the best start in life. Recent test results for Camden primary pupils at Key Stage Two (11 year olds) show a marked narrowing of the gap in achievement between our disadvantaged children and their peers.
The Government is keen to ensure that all nursery age children across England have access to high quality early education, and to support parents to take up paid work. It is therefore introducing changes to:
· the number of hours of early education that children are entitled to
· the way that early education places are funded.
New national early years policy
Extended free entitlements
From September 2017 the three and four year old children of working parents will be entitled to an additional 15 hours (30 in total) of free early education and childcare in any registered childcare setting.
To be eligible for the additional 15 hours:
· both parents, or the sole parent in a one parent family, must be working
· each parent must have a weekly minimum income equivalent to 16 hours at the national minimum wage or living wage, and
· neither parent must have income of more than £100,000 per year.
The Department for Education estimates that 850 three and four year olds in Camden will meet the eligibility criteria.
New national funding formula
The current funding arrangements for early education and childcare are based on historical local authority funding priorities. Camden currently has the highest hourly rate of early years funding in the country because we have long recognised the importance of early years and invested accordingly.
The introduction of a national funding formula from April 2017 is intended to achieve a fairer allocation of funding across the country, and Camden is therefore one of the few authorities whose funding will decrease. The national funding formula also sets out how local authorities must allocate funds to providers of early education and childcare.
The main features of the new national funding formula are:
· More equitable allocation of funding across local authorities. This will mean a decrease in the amount of funding for each child’s place in Camden from £9.17 to £8.51 per hour
· Local authorities (LAs) will have to pass through 95% of early years funding to providers by 2019
· The same rate must be paid to all providers
· 10% of the LA allocation can be retained and allocated as supplements to the hourly rate
· There is a small increase in allocation for two year olds but the new rate for three and four year olds will be higher than that for two year olds. The Department for Education recommends making local adjustments to manage this differential
· LAs will have to set up a local inclusion fund to support settings to include children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)
· A new disability access fund, with additional funding to enable settings to make adjustments to increase accessibility.
A revised early years offer for Camden
If Camden continues to fund additional hours for all three and four year olds in the maintained sector (what we call our ‘enhanced offer’), while introducing the new national policies, a funding gap of £5.1million will result. In the current climate of reducing public sector spending it will be impossible to sustain this level of subsidy. We therefore need to make changes to our early education offer to create sustainable early education and childcare provision for the future.
Currently Camden receives the highest hourly rate for early years places in the country. The difference between the hourly rate that Camden receives from the Government and passes on to providers is used to fund Camden’s enhanced offer. The requirement to ‘pass through’ 93% of the rate received to providers in 2017/18 and 95% thereafter means that this will no longer be possible.
Our proposed new offer is detailed within the survey below (click the link to respond to our questions). As providers of Camden’s current early years offer, we would like to know what you think. By answering the questions at the end of each section you will help us to shape a new early years offer that delivers the best possible early education and childcare for Camden families within our financial constraints.
We will also be asking parents in Camden for their views about our new proposed offer.
For information: data collection
Camden currently uses the Servelec system for data collection outside of schools and is purchasing an extension that will enable batch checking for 30 hour eligibility and auditing. Providers will also be able to check eligibility through the provider portal. All providers of the new 30 hour places (including schools) will be required to submit their children’s data through the provider portal.
How to respond
This consultation runs from Monday 13 February until midnight on Sunday 5 March so you need to respond to this questionnaire before then. Please ensure you click on the 'More information' links under each question and read these details before you respond.
More information is available at camden.gov.uk/earlyyearsfunding
If you have any queries about these proposals or the consultation, you can email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org