Warn of Nursery Closures Due to Expansion Plan

The free childcare expansion plan in England could spell disaster for preschools, with a majority of providers warning of potential closures due to the financial strain and uncertain future. The move would increase funding for three- and four-year-olds from 15 hours per week to 30 and is part of a wider £1 billion investment package announced by the government last month.

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However, more than half (53%) of nursery schools surveyed by researchers at London South Bank University found that they are likely to close within six months if no additional financial support is provided, while 61% said they may be forced to reduce staff numbers or even close entirely. A further 41% said they will struggle to survive without extra help from the government.

The free childcare expansion plan in England could spell disaster for preschools, with most providers warning of potential closures due to the financial strain and uncertain future. The move would increase funding for three- and four-year-olds from 15 hours per week to 30 and is part of a wider £1 billion investment package announced by the government last month.

However, more than half (53%) of nursery schools surveyed by researchers at London South Bank University found that they are likely to close within six months unless additional financial support is provided. Meanwhile, 61% said they might be forced to reduce staff numbers or even close entirely. A further 41% said they would struggle to survive without extra help from the government.

Nursery schools have warned that this lack of financial support will be devastating for their sector and could hurt the quality of education. Many preschools need help to meet the requirements of the new 30-hour scheme due to staff costs, rent and inadequate funding rates, with some facing closure altogether if they cannot make ends meet. Furthermore, providers fear increased competition from free childcare provision could lead to declining standards as nurseries compete for business.

The government has promised another £100 million in capital funding to help support nursery schools through this transitional period. Still, it is unlikely that this will be enough for many providers already operating at a loss.

With the free childcare expansion plan in England potentially threatening the future of preschools, what measures can be taken to ensure that nursery schools can survive and thrive?

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