A recent letter to the editor in the Hackney Gazette
Fear of more childcare funding cuts
Thursday 16th September 2010
It is great news that Hackney Council have decided to keep free swimming for under 16s. It’s a shame however that, along with The Learning Trust, it seems intent on cutting services that are far more essential for families in the borough.
Most of the borough’s community nurseries lost about 50,000 from their commissioning funding in April. Only after Friends of Hackney Nurseries – a network of parents, activists and nursery staff – made a fuss, was half of the money returned and a “second round” of funding introduced. Now it seems that, after the commissioning funding fiasco, The Learning Trust has decided to cut another stream of nursery funding.
Under the new Single Funding Formula – the funding stream that pays for the 15 hours of free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds – all nurseries will face a per child funding cut on previous years.
Even though it is clear it is a real funding cut, the Learning Trust has decided to call it an increase. As if that was not enough, it seems that funding for special needs children will also be cut this year.
It’s time for The Learning Trust to come clean and open its books to show the residents of Hackney what is really going on with childcare funding in the borough. It is crucial that funding be fully restored to our community nurseries and the most recent funding cuts reversed.
The Council must guarantee both the existence of community nurseries by providing adequate funding, as well ensuring the total number of nursery places in Hackney is maintained. If anything, the inadequate number of nursery places should be increasing, not decreasing.
Friends of Hackney Nurseries