Today’s news review looks at coverage of our capital funding announcement, and 30 hours free childcare.
On Monday, 3 April, we announced £2.4 billion in capital funding to create new school places across England and to improve and maintain current school buildings.
This money is part of our wider plan to invest more than £24 billion in our school buildings, and in creating more school places, by 2021.
So far it has been picked up in the media by the BBC, Daily Mail, the Times and Schools Week.
Coverage concentrates on the positive news that this money will help to create 600,000 more school places by 2021.
This will build on the work we have already done to create 735,000 new places since 2010. Indeed 92 per cent of these new primary places and 89 per cent of new secondary places were made in schools rated good or outstanding.
With £13 billion of this funding going into new places, £10 billion will be invested in maintaining and improving the condition of existing schools.
Schools, local authorities and academy trusts will also receive shares of £1.4 billion to spend on upgrading their school buildings. As part of this, academies and sixth form colleges throughout the country, will receive a total of £466 million to pay for almost 1,500 vital school building work projects.
These announcements are part of our wider proposals to push up school standards by making sure every child has access to a good school place, in every part of the country.
Education Secretary Justine Greening said:
Our Plan for Britain is to build a fairer society, with a good school place available for every child.
This £2.4 billion investment, together with our proposals to create more good school places, will help ensure every young person has the opportunity to fulfil their potential.”
The £2.4 billion allocated today is part of more than £24 billion the Government has committed to investing in the school estate between 2015-2021.
Today, 3 April, we announced that more than 5,000 places in our 30 hours free childcare programme have been filled.
The Victoria Derbyshire Programme and Radio 4’s World at One both reported on this offer today.
While they correctly reported that we were investing a record £6 billion per year by 2020 in childcare, they did also report on a Pre School Learning Alliance report stating that some nursery providers have said that providing the free care would be too expensive.
Some parents are already receiving the 30 hours free childcare, which has been successfully brought in in a number of pilot areas ahead of its full roll-out in September.
We are making sure local authorities work closely with nursery providers to manage how they can effectively adopt this programme.
Furthermore, our total hourly funding rate for three- and four-year olds (national average to local authorities) will increase from £4.56 to £4.94 from April 2017. This compares very favourably with recently published research by Frontier Economics, which shows that the mean hourly delivery cost of a three or four- year-old nursery place was £3.72.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
Helping families access high quality, affordable childcare is at the heart of this government’s agenda. We are investing a record £6 billion per year by 2020 in childcare support and introducing a fairer Early Years funding formula which will see the vast majority of providers receive increased funding rates to help deliver our 30 hours free offer.
A number of areas are already delivering our 30 hour childcare offer, with more than 5,400 places already allocated – surpassing the 5,000 target set last year. A further four areas are due to launch the offer this month, and we have invested £50 million capital funding to create nearly 9,000 new childcare places. We are also providing guidance, tools and support for providers to help childcare professionals run their businesses more efficiently.
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