Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of NDNA, said: “The free early entitlement has overall been a success story for children and families in recent years, with rapid improvement in children’s development at age five. The NAO highlights the huge contribution made by private, voluntary and independent providers, who account for 59% of provision and the high quality of the sector which is the same as that of maintained nursery classes.
“Ensuring government gets the most from its investment in early years is vital, especially with the additional commitment to extend free early education to 40% of two year olds and the pressure that a rapidly-growing population of under-fives will bring in the coming years.
“The NAO findings echo NDNA’s own evidence of a wide variation in how the free entitlement is funded locally and the differences in levels of funding between maintained and private, voluntary and independent provision. However, the report does not look at how much of the investment that goes in from central government reaches the front line in early years provision. It underlines the need for reform to the way government funds the free entitlement, with clear identification of how much is allocated to early years and user-friendly information for parents and providers so they can understand their local authorities’
“There are good opportunities for the Department for Education to address some of the issues raised by the NAO with work that is already in hand, including reform to the code of practice for free early education, the revised Early Years Foundation Stage and new Ofsted inspection framework.”
Notes to editors:
• National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) is a national charity representing children’s day nurseries across the UK, giving them information, training and support, so they can provide the best possible care to young children. NDNA is the voice of the sector, an integral part of the lives of nearly one million children and their families
• For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact Lindsay Garfitt, Senior PR and Policy Officer, on 01484 40 70 66, 07718 803652 or Lindsay.Garfitt@
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National Day Nurseries Association is a national charity representing children’s nurseries across the UK, giving them information, training and support, so they can provide the best possible care to young children.