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Means testing for nursery schools (FOI)

Means testing for nursery schools (FOI)

Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by States of Jersey and published on 22 December 2017.


The States of Jersey asked the Minister for Education to introduce means testing for all families accessing nurseries attached to schools. I would like to ask.


What models / methods for means testing families using schools nurseries were looked at?


What was the estimate of how much it would cost to means test each of those models?


At what point of family wealth / income was it estimated to start charging families for using schools nurseries?


How much was it estimated that means testing of the schools nurseries would raise?



The Education Department’s proposals and subsequent modelling for means testing nursery places centred on private Nursery Education Fund (NEF) providers. This did not include school based nursery classes, which were not part of the Department’s proposals. As a result, no models or financial scenarios were developed at the time of the original means testing proposal debate.


It was estimated that a dedicated resource to oversee the means testing process for the private Nursery Education Fund would be required but that this could be absorbed within the Department where a similar function was carried out. Once the Assembly approved the extension of means testing to include States school based nurseries, this estimate increased to £50,000 per annum.


Initial savings proposals presented in the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) were based on an upper income threshold of £75,000 for receiving the NEF funding. Following public debate and consultation with parents and nursery owners, the Minister for Education decided to alter the upper threshold and introduce a sliding scale according to household income. This meant that families with an income between £85,000 and £100,000 would still receive some of the grant. Households earning more than £100,000 would no longer be eligible.

As a result of the Assembly adopting Deputy Fondré’s amendment P.68 Amd. (4) (Fourth Amendment to the Draft Medium Term Financial Plan Addition For 2017 to 2019) the same income thresholds would apply to parents seeking to gain a place at a school based nursery.


Following Deputy Le Fondré’s lodging of his amendment, the Education Department were asked to provide the financial implications of this proposition.

The increase from income to be generated from means testing in States nursery classes was predicted as follows:

​Original amounts per MTFP (NEF)​Increase (inclusion of School Nurseries)​Revised amount
​2017​260 ​92​352

Further details can be found in Deputy Le Fondré’s amendment to the MTFP proposals (see link below) which proposed ‘means testing shall apply in respect of all providers of such education’ and the subsequent comment provided by the Council of Ministers.

Draft Medium Term Financial Plan addition for 2017 to 2019 (Fourth amendment)

An explanation as to why means testing in States nursery classes would not result in direct savings in the same way as means testing NEF users is detailed in the Council Of Ministers’ Comments to P.68 Amd. (4) Com.

Draft Medium Term Financial Plan addition for 2017 to 2019 (Fourth amendment) - Comments

This included the requirement for additional resources to establish a means testing system (identified in question B above) and a reduction in the number of parents using States nursery classes resulting in additional NEF costs.

On 28 November 2017, the Minister for Education announced that he would not be introducing means testing, this decision was taken in response to an independent report by the Early Years Childhood Partnership (EYCP) which stressed the importance of high quality early years education for all and recommended that means testing is not pursued. A link to the news release is also attached for information.

Nursery means testing proposal withdrawn

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