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Early years funding rates for 2019/2020 revealed

By Rachel Lawler
 
child playing with building blocks
The Department for Education (DfE) has published the funding rates for three- and four-year-olds for 2019/2020.
 
Despite the increase in the minimum wage, due to come into effect next year, most local authority funding rates will remain the same.
 
Most rates remain the same
Only two local authorities will see their hourly funding rates rise, while 13 will see a decrease.
 
The rates are due to come into effect in April 2019 and show the hourly rate that will be paid to local authorities, rather than the final rate paid to providers.
 
The full list of rates is available to read here.
 
The rates that will be paid directly to providers will be revealed by local authorities, which must inform providers by 31 March 2019.
 
Local authorities planning on changing their funding rates must consult with their local schools forums by 28 February 2019.
 
Increasing costs
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, said: “With government having already confirmed that early years funding levels are frozen to 2020, today’s funding rates announcement was never going to be happy reading for struggling providers – but that makes it no less shocking to see it in black and white.
 
“As of next April, funding rates will fall in over a dozen local authorities while over a hundred will see no change. Just two councils will see any increase at all.
 
"In the face of rising costs and, in particular, next year’s minimum wage increase, the government is asking providers to do the impossible: deliver the same quality service with less resource. It would be an unsustainable approach in any sector, but given how vital the early years is to children's long-term learning and development, to do so for this sector is downright irresponsible.

"We’ve had plenty of studies from various organisations, independent researchers, even the government itself, which clearly show that childcare in this country is grossly underfunded, and that this underfunding is leading to increased parent fees and, in the worst cases, provider closures. It’s now a matter of urgency that the government recognises that and commits to both increasing and annually reviewing funding levels.”
 
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