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Early Years, OfS and School Admissions

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Early Years funding

Today, Thursday 31 October, we have announced that councils across England will receive a funding boost to deliver free childcare places, enabling parents to work more flexibly and supporting children’s early development.

This investment will go to ensuring nurseries and childminders can support some of the most disadvantaged children, with an increase in hourly funding for all councils offering 15 hours free childcare for disadvantaged two-year-olds.

The vast majority of areas providing free 30 hours places for working parents of three and four-year olds will also receive an increase in the hourly rate.

The increase in funding comes following the Chancellor’s announcement of an additional £66 million investment in the early years as part of the spending review.

In recognition of the need for certainty about the 2020-21 financial year in maintained nursery schools, continuation of supplementary funding will be provided to local authorities to enable them to fund maintained nursery schools at higher rates.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

A child’s early education is crucial to their future success which is why we are increasing our hourly funding rates for councils so that they can continue to deliver high quality and free childcare places.

Over one million children every year are now benefitting from the Government’s record investment in childcare and early years education – which will have reached £3.6 billion by next year. This will give families the flexibility they need to be able to balance their work and family lives.

Office for Students report on university unconditional offers

Yesterday, Wednesday 30 October, the Office for Students published findings on unconditional offers. The statistics are an update to analysis published in January about the numbers of students receiving an unconditional offer.

The statistics showed that students who accept unconditional offers are 10% more likely to drop out of university in their first year.

This was covered in the Guardian, Times, Telegraph, Mail, i newspaper, BBC Online and the Independent.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

I have already expressed my deep concerns about the continuing rise of unconditional offers, but what is equally alarming is that dropout rates for students with unconditional offers are estimated to be 10% higher than if they had a conditional offer.

Students are being let down by the universities that are using these offers to get students through the door but then not adequately supporting them once they begin their studies.

We set up the OfS and gave it strong powers to take action where it finds institutions are not working in students’ interests and I am determined to drive a relentless focus on quality in our world-leading higher education.

School Admissions Deadline

 Today, Thursday, 31 October, is the deadline for secondary applications. Parents must apply for a place at least three schools in order of preference through their local authority, to ensure a places for their child for the next academic year. They will find out if they have been successful in March.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

Choosing a school is always a huge decision for parents and pupils – but happily parents are significantly more likely to have a good or outstanding school on their doorstep than they were 10 years ago thanks to improvements all over the country.

On top of this we’ve created almost a million new school places this decade. This helped make sure four out of five parents got their first choice of secondary school last year and 93% got one of their top three.

Because we provide funding for school places – £7billion between 2015 and 2021 – based on councils’ own forecasts for pupil numbers, we try to make sure supply meets demand. This means parents can be optimistic about getting one of their preferred choices as long as they get their applications in ahead of the deadline.

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