Petition details

Supporting Lambeth Nursery Schools Federation to a Sustainably Funded Future

We the undersigned petition the Council to Lambeth Nursery Schools are struggling to create a sustainable future due to rising costs and changes in funding. Please help us request a commitment from Lambeth Council to recognise the valuable service they provide to our community by committing to keeping them open and sustainably funded.

The five Lambeth Nursery Schools (Holmewood/Maytree/Effra/Ethelred/Triangle) provide an outstanding education; skilled, inclusive provision and holistic support to approximately 650 children aged between 2 - 4yrs and their families. This includes many children who are vulnerable or with complex needs that would struggle to find an equivalent support in other settings.
The Nursery Schools work closely with Lambeth's Children Centres to provide support to many more families with younger children . The varied and skilled services provided by the highly trained and experienced team, including fully qualified teachers and SEND specialists, have supported over 200 children with confirmed/suspected SEND in 2020-2021. Lambeth Nursery Schools provide a truly inclusive provision, helping families secure funding and support to enable children to enter into the schools system with the best possible start.

Started by: victoria ling (Lambeth Nursery Schools)

This Petition ran from 14/01/2022 to 25/02/2022 and has now finished.

457 people signed this Petition.

Council response

Thank you so much for your support and interest in Lambeth Council’s maintained nursery schools.

Lambeth Council shares your appreciation of our nursery schools and has no plans to close any of them.

The financial problems faced by our maintained nursery schools are largely a result of central government changing the funding formula in 2018. This means all nursery settings get the same amount of money per child, per hour regardless of the costs of running the setting. This puts maintained nursery schools at a huge disadvantage because they have to be staffed by qualified teachers overseen by a headteacher and obviously professionals with those qualifications are paid more than staff in other settings not required to be as qualified.

This is made worse by the fact that Lambeth is experiencing a rapidly reducing birth rate with far fewer children to fill all kinds of educational settings including nurseries. As nurseries are funded per pupil, obviously this creates even more pressure for settings that are not full to capacity.

Lambeth Council has sought to fill this funding gap left by central government by effectively subsidising our maintained nurseries with nearly £1 million a year from our early years grant.

We have compared ourselves to the 12 other inner-London boroughs and found that eight do not provide any subsidy and that Lambeth is probably the most generous financial supporter of council maintained nurseries.

The council have asked the maintained nursery schools managers and governors to come up with efficiency plans to try to reduce costs and increase income where possible and has promised to work with them to try and make these changes work.

Unfortunately central government intends to make a further 10% cut to nursery funding in the next academic year which will obviously worsen the situation for all 400 maintained nurseries across England, not just Lambeth.

Lambeth Council passed a motion of support and appreciation for our maintained nurseries and as Lead Member for Children I have recently written to the Secretary of State appealing for a full review of early years funding and a long-term settlement that ensures these schools have a secure future.

We need the schools to be properly funded and it is time the government fully recognise the fantastic work that they do and put in place a sustainable funding model for our maintained nurseries. Locally, the council welcomes practical suggestions at alternative funding methods and is willing to consider any ideas from our maintained nurseries or other members of the community.

The Council continues to work collaboratively with the governors and senior leaders of the five federated nursery schools to manage their financial pressures and develop a plan to address the circumstances.

With all best wishes


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