Nursery Management

Nursery Management Q&A: Local authority funding

  • Nursery Management Q&A: Local authority funding

Purnima Tanuku looks at early years funding from local authorities and how nurseries can continue to access support following the introduction of the Early Intervention Grant…

Q: Due to cut backs my Local Authority has scaled back free training significantly and is asking me to contribute toward some courses. Those on offer don’t meet my needs – what can I do?

A: NDNA is aware that some local authorities are cutting back on free training, while others are offering courses but are asking providers to make a contribution toward their cost. If you’re looking to invest financially, you should review the training carefully to ensure that it meets your needs and offers good value. Although it’s positive that your local authority recognises the importance of supporting early years provision by continuing to offer courses, it’s equally important that you give them feedback. Again, being part of a nursery network can be helpful, as you can discuss with fellow nurseries what they consider their needs to be, so as a group you can highlight how available funding can be best spent. Remember, you can also be creative in your own setting: ask staff to share the learning undertaken, or as a network work with your authority to find innovative solutions such as offering venue space in your nursery to bring down, or remove entirely, the cost of training. NDNA offers a range of cost-effective training.

Q: I approached my local authority about applying for funding I’ve had in the past, such as for graduate leadership, but was told it wasn’t available. What support can I apply for now?

A: Funding for graduate leadership is now within the Early Intervention Grant – a pot of funding introduced by the Coalition Government to help local authorities provide localised support that makes a difference. The EIG is worth a total of £2,222 million for 2011–12 and £2,307 million for 2012–13. Local authorities have received various allocations of this using nationally defined criteria. For early years, the EIG includes funding for graduate leadership, money for free places for disadvantaged two-year-olds, support for Sure Start children’s centres, early years sustainability funding and money for the early years workforce – including Every Child a Talker and quality and inclusion streams. It’s important that you understand what money has been allocated to your Local Authority under the EIG as it’s not ring-fenced, to enable you to press for your Local Authority to spend it on early years priorities. To find out what support is available, contact your Local Authority and ask how this is being spent and what support there is for early years.

Q: Although I’m aware of the EIG, my local authority is reporting that it has no money to support graduate leadership. What should I do?

A: Although government has given allocations for a number of different areas to local authorities, this money isn’t ring-fenced. This is designed to enable local authorities to address local priorities. However, whilst your council may be allocating funding based on the needs it has identified, remember that all decisions are subject to challenge. If you’re told that money isn’t available for graduate leadership you should ask why and how this will impact on outcomes for children. Being part of a local nursery network can support this, as you’ll have a strong, united voice and can discuss how to best evidence the difference graduate funding will make to children and families. Nurseries interested in finding out more about nursery networks can contact NDNA on 01484 40 70 70.

Visit the NDNA website for more support on all aspects of running a successful nursery business.