10 January 2019
The Minister for Education, Senator Tracey Vallois, has established a new Policy Development Board to focus on Early Years that will include addressing a new system of funding for nursery places.
Senator Vallois said that the intention is for the academic year (Sept 2019 – Aug 2020) of the Nursery Education Fund (NEF) to be phased out in order to develop a new approach to nursery funding in 2020.
Currently, almost every child in Jersey has their nursery education subsidised by the States when they are aged 3 to 4, in the year before they start Reception at primary school. Through the Nursery Education Fund, all families can receive 20 hours of free nursery education for their child for 38 weeks in term time at a private day nursery, pre-school or school nursery.
Senator Vallois said that she will keep parents, carers, nursery providers and industry professionals informed and will consult with them through the redesign process.
In a statement, Senator Vallois said: “The Council of Ministers is committed to putting children first, as set out in the Common Strategic Policy. Closely linked to this, I have established a Policy Development Board, currently in shadow form, with a focus on Early Years. In advance of its work, I am committed to give as much reassurance to parents, carers and nursery providers as they plan ahead for the next year, which is why I would like to make this announcement on the funding of nursery places for 2019-2020.
“For 2019-2020, as with the wider Government Plan, we will have a transition year, ahead of a broad new approach to Nursery funding from 2020. The current scheme of 20 hours of funded nursery education will remain in place until a new scheme is developed and implemented, which we are hoping will be in 2020. I am committed to keeping parents, carers and providers updated of the plans as we move forward.
“To give as much advanced notice, I can confirm that the hourly rate for 2019-2020, paid to nursery providers, will be £5.36 per hour. The figure is a 2% uplift on the current rate (£5.25). While financial challenges are considerable at this time, this shows a commitment to giving our youngest children and their families continued support for the best start in life.
“The Policy Development Board will work hard this year to devise new and sustainable plans to fund early years in the future.”