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Further local authorities reveal funding for 30-hours pilot

Local authorities in Northumberland, Hertfordshire and the London Borough of Newham have now revealed funding details for their 30-hours childcare pilot, following the news of York’s funding formula late last month.
 
As with York’s formula, the existing 15 hours and the additional 15 hours will be paid at different rates.
 
In Northumberland, for example, early years providers will receive the existing base rate of £3.15 per hour for the first 15 hours and £4.01 per hours for the extra 15 hours. Extra funding will be available for deprivation for the first 15 hours, but not for the second 15 hours.
 
Neil Leitch, chief executive at the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said he was surprised to learn that that those taking part in the trial would be receiving two separate rates.
 
“When the minister stated in November that the additional 15 hours would be funded at the same rate as the first, we assumed – in good faith – that this would apply during the 30-hours trial,” Neil said.
 
“Aside from being wholly impractical, funding only the additional hours at a higher rate is misleading: when you average out the whole 30 hours, the overall increase in funding is significantly less than the sector was led to believe it would be.”  
 
The funding rates for these areas have now been confirmed as:
 
Pilot areas
First 15 hours 
Second 15 hours
York City Council
£3.38
£3.95
Northumberland CC
£3.15
£4.01
Hertfordshire CC
£4.62
£4.88
London Borough of Newham
Variable
£5.17
 
Portsmouth, Staffordshire, Wigan and Swindon are yet to finalise details of their funding.
 
“There is a real danger that, by offering two separate rates, a false dichotomy is being created between the first 15 hours of ‘early education’ and the subsequent 15 hours of ‘childcare’,” Neil added. “Our view on this is clear: anything less than 30 hours of high-quality early years provision would be a failure of the policy.”
 
The DfE has said that the pilot rates do not reflect the final funding rate providers will get for the official roll-out of the scheme next September, which Neil said was concerning.
 
“Given that the pilots are meant to give providers a realistic view of how the scheme will work in practice, such a statement calls into question the value and integrity of the entire trial.”