Lucy is delighted to have been elected as the new chair of the APPG on Nursery Schools earlier this month. This appointment comes at a crucial time, as social mobility campaigners have warned that nursery schools are facing extinction as a result of government changes to early years funding.
Nursery schools are the highest performing part of our education system, with 99 percent of them rated as outstanding or good by Ofsted. According to Pen Green Centre for Children and the Families, 1 in 4 nursery schools which responded to a call for evidence on the impact of early years funding changes on their budgets warned that their future viability is under threat.
The damage that could be done to nursery schools would also disproportionately affect poorer communities, as 65 percent of nursery schools are located in the 30 percent most deprived areas in England. There are two nursery schools in Lucy’s constituency – Martenscroft Nursery School in Hulme and Collyhurst Nursery School.
During her inaugural meeting as the chair of the APPG, Lucy said:
“Nursery schools are critical engines of social mobility narrowing the gap the most for disadvantaged children and their peers. Yet Nursery Schools could become extinct due to proposed funding changes by Education Ministers. Ministers are levelling down the funding system for the early years to pay for their 30 hour childcare offer which threatens the future viability of these exceptional institutions doing so much to defeat disadvantage and improve social mobility.”
“Rather than focusing on expanding grammar schools, which are a terribly backward step for social mobility and outcomes for children on free school meals, Ministers should be following the evidence and safeguarding and expanding the role that nursery schools play in our communities to give our children the strongest foundation to do well in later life.”