11 December 2020
Minister for Education, Senator Tracey Vallois, has announced that she intends to extend the 20 hours of funded nursery education, offered to all children aged 3 to 4, to 30 hours from September 2021.
The additional 10 hours during term time follows a recommendation from the Early Years Policy Development Board, which is included in the proposed Government Plan 2021 - 2023 which has set aside £5.7 million revenue growth for Early Years.
Senator Tracey Vallois will now work with officials in the Department of Children, Young People, Education and Skills, headteachers and the Jersey Early Years Association (JEYA) to increase the Nursery Education offer so that it could come into effect from September 2021.
The Minister has already had an initial discussion with JEYA representatives and has committed to meeting again, early in the New Year, to further progress towards and increase of the NEF hours entitlement and the hourly rate.
Almost every child in Jersey has their nursery education subsidised by the Government of Jersey when they are aged 3 to 4, in the year before they start Reception at primary school. Currently, all families can receive 20 hours nursery education for their child for 38 weeks, in term-time, at a private day nursery, pre-school or school nursery class.
Senator Vallois said: “I am delighted to announce that we plan to extend the 20 free hours of free nursery education to 30 free hours. This has been an extrodinarly difficult year for many families so I hope that this news of extra support for nursery education will help to ease some of those pressures.
“Evidence shows that in the early year, pre-school experience positively impacts on children’s socialisation, language development and behaviour, reducing the potential anxiety surrounding starting school through better transition opportunities and getting to know families.
“The Council of Ministers is committed to putting children first, as set out in the Common Strategic Policy. I would like to thank all the the Early Years Policy Development Board for their hard work in helping to devise new and sustainable plans to prioritise and fund early years in the future.”
The Early Years Policy Development Board was established to examine the provision of services from conception to aged five and to develop a shared strategic policy for Early Years.