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30 providers withdraw from 30-hours pilot in York

More than 30 early years providers in York have pulled out of the 30-hours free entitlement ‘early implementation’ scheme due to insufficient funding.
 
Information on funding for the scheme in York was revealed last week, stating an average of £3.66 per hour, more than a pound less per hour than the government’s promise of a £4.88 average rate.
 
Providers have now voted with their feet with more than 30 claiming they cannot afford to take part.
 
Neil Leitch, chief executive at the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said that the lessons taken from the 30-hours trial will be pivotal to the success of the scheme as a whole, and voiced his concerns that the government is risking falling at the first hurdle by continuing to offer insufficient levels of funding.
 
“Given how much the government has promoted the new average funding rate of £4.88 per hour for three- and four-year-olds, it’s not surprising that providers in York are angry and disappointed about their pilot funding rate of £3.95 – especially as even this only applies to the ‘additional’ 15 hours, with the first 15 continuing to be funded at the unacceptably low rate of £3.38,” Neil said.
 
“If the DfE doesn’t address these long-standing funding issues, there is every possibility that we will see what is currently happening in York happening on a national scale, with more and more providers opting not to deliver the extended entitlement. This is not a problem that can be ignored or dismissed.”
 
A recent Alliance survey found that half of providers are still not sure whether they will roll out the extended entitlement, with a further one in five having ruled it out entirely.