On March 2nd 2020 ahead of the Government’s Spring Budget, parents, children, teachers, campaigners, Councillors & MPs joined the National Education Union (NEU) in handing a 25,000 signature petition to No10 Downing Street. The Petition says:
“Nursery schools give 40,000 children the best start to school. The majority of these schools are located in the poorest parts of the country and for many children this is their only opportunity for early education. After years of chronic underfunding, the very survival of nursery schools is under threat. Only 389 nursery schools remain open across England today. Unless the Government changes course, even more nursery schools may be forced to close their doors.
In October 2019, the Government accepted that nursery school funding is insufficient and allocated stopgap funding to plug the holes. While the supplementary funding is welcome, this money runs out in 2021. This means severe cuts to the education and services that nursery schools provide. In many cases, these will put nursery schools at risk of closure.
The Government must make a funding commitment in the Spring Budget on 11 March that secures the long-term future of maintained nursery schools. Prime Minister Boris Johnson must guarantee proper funding until the end of Parliament and ensure no more nursery schools are forced to close because of insufficient budgets.”
Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “The Government’s attitude to nursery schools, characterised by indifference and piecemeal measures, is having a detrimental effect on children at a critical stage in their development. We cannot afford for this to continue.”
“Maintained nursery schools not only educate our youngest children but also provide the kind of support for parents and carers which is no longer available from local authorities. It is vital Government listens as a matter of urgency to the thousands of people who have signed our petition for additional funding.”
Lewisham Nurseries joined the protest. They want the uncertainty in funding to end and for proper long term funding to be put in place.
Cllr Alan Hall said: “Cutting and closing nurseries is a false economy.
“Our pleas for secure and proper funding could be heard in No 10 but are they listening?”