26 February 2021
Jersey’s Children and Education Minister has confirmed that up to 30 funded hours will be offered to nursery children, aged 3 to 4, through the Nursery Education Fund (NEF), and in Government of Jersey nursery classes, from this September 2021.
Deputy Jeremy Maçon met with officers from the Department of Children, Young People, Education and Skills (CYPES) and the Jersey Early Years Association (JEYA) to progress the NEF hours entitlement and increase the new hourly rate from the current rate of £5.49 to of £6.70 from September 2021.
It follows an announcement, in December, by the former Education Minister, of the intention to extend the 20 hours of funded nursery education, which is offered to children aged 3 to 4, to 30 hours from September 2021. Children can get free Government-funded nursery education in the school year that they turn four years old.
The additional 10 hours per week delivered during term time is a recommendation from the Early Years Policy Development Board and will draw on new funding in the Government Plan 2021 – 2023, which has set aside £5.7 million revenue growth for Early Years.
Deputy Macon said: “I am pleased to confirm today that we will be extending the 20 Government-funded hours of nursery education to up to 30 hours, subject to the normal government process.
“I know that many families and nursery providers have been waiting for this final confirmation and I hope that this announcement helps to offer reassurance so parents and carers can make the necessary plans they need for childcare and work purposes.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank parents and carers and nursery providers for their patience while this dialogue took place. The private sector provides almost half of Government of Jersey funded nursery hours and it was vital that its views were sought on this proposal before a final decision was made.
“The Council of Ministers is committed to putting children first, as set out in the Common Strategic Policy. We know that high-quality early childhood education provides a solid foundation for children’s future learning and gives them the best start in life.”
Belinda Lewis, on behalf of the Jersey Early Years Association (JEYA), said: “JEYA welcomes this move to increase quality learning and care experience for young children in Jersey. We would like to thank the Minister for consulting with our membership and look forward to maintaining the strong working relationship we have with the Minister for Children and Education.”
Sam Cooper, President of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) Jersey added: “School leaders warmly welcome the decision to extend funded nursery hours. High quality, comprehensive and equitable early years’ provision is critical in providing the best start to our youngest children.”
In light of this annoucement, the deadline for applications for children starting a school nursery in September 2021 has been extended to next Wednesday, 3 March 2021. To be eligible for a place, children must turn four during the academic year from 1 September 2021 to 31 August 2022.
Parents who registered their interest at a school nursery have been sent an application form. Parents who haven’t yet registered should contact their first choice school nursery to register and to receive an application form.
From September 2021, St Mary’s School will be opening its first nursery class.