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Committee to continue pre-school funding trial for another year

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Thursday 30 March 2017

The Committee for Education, Sport & Culture has confirmed that it will be extending the current pre-school funding trial for another academic year from September 2017 to July 2018.

Parents and carers of all three to four year olds are entitled to 15 hours a week of free pre-school education, term-time only, for the year before they start school.

Providers are paid £5.90 per hour for each child that registers to attend their pre-school for the 15 hours a week entitlement. Providers may charge whatever they wish for any hours taken in addition to the 15 hours funded through this scheme.

The majority of private pre-school providers signed up to be part of the initial trial of the scheme which started in January.

Committee President, Deputy Paul Le Pelley, said it was important that parents, carers and providers were given as much time as possible to plan for the extension of the scheme from September.

"The Committee has been carefully considering whether or not to make any changes to the pre-school funding scheme at the end of the current trial. We have made no secret of the fact that we were considering the introduction of a top-up scheme allowing providers to charge parents fees on top of any funding provided by the States," said Deputy Le Pelley.

"However, we feel that we must allow the current scheme sufficient time to run to allow us to gather data and evidence of the impact of the entitlement on children, their parents and the providers who have signed up to be part of the scheme.  The Committee, by a majority, want to continue the current scheme for another academic year."

"Our staff will also continue to provide access to training and continuous professional development opportunities for all those working in the Early Years sector as well as supporting providers through the implementation of the Early Years Quality Standards Framework. We are also looking at ways that we can provide pre-schools with business advice and guidance if they need it," said Deputy Le Pelley.

"We hope that the majority of private providers will continue to be part of the scheme from September. We know that a quality pre-school experience is key to ensuring that our children are ready to start school with the foundations they need to start learning successfully. We just feel that we need more time to collate the evidence required to measure the impact of this entitlement which is why we are extending the current funding scheme until July 2018."

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