Wakefield MP Mary Creagh welcomes funding boost for nurseries

Mary Creagh MP
Mary Creagh MP
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Politicians have welcomed announcements that the Government will boost funding to protect maintained nurseries.

The move follows campaigns and widespread concern over funding pressures facing council-run nurseries, with funding due to end in March next year.

Wakefield MP Mary Creagh has welcomed the announcement from Children and Families Minister Nadim Zahawi of an extra £24m to see maintained nurseries through the next academic year.

Ms Creagh, who had written to the minister in August over the issue using Crigglestone Nursery as an example, said this will allow providers to plan for their future.

“Maintained nurseries provide an invaluable service to some of our most vulnerable children, and this funding will go towards closing the gap between disadvantaged children and their peers,” she said.

“We now need long-term sustainable funding to allow nurseries like Crigglestone to continue their good work and plan for their future.”

In October, there were fears that nurseries face closures as it emerged almost two-thirds of councils had funding concerns, and in November, governors at seven sites in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire called for urgent action.

They warned the consequences of the loss or nurseries would be dire for the education of the most vulnerable children.

Headteachers unions have cautiously welcomed this week’s announcement, which they say will provide some measure of relief. But, the National Association of Headteachers warned, this was not a long-term solution and 300 nursery leaders are still to approach the Chancellor over further challenges next week.

Mr Zahawi, speaking to The Yorkshire Post, said this funding was intended as a measure of security for nurseries.

“We have delivered additional support for them as they have higher costs,” he said. “I’ve listened very carefully to their concerns.

“The response, from a cross-party of MPs, has been really positive.”