Headlines: February 19th, 2010

The Early Years Single Funding Formula, which aims to give a clearer and more consistent system of childcare funding, has progressed from 9 pilots to 56 pathfinder councils. The full roll out will be completed in April 2011.

The new formula will give a more transparent basis for childcare funding and will mean that councils will be able to manage the funding of childcare providers in their area according to local priorities and need.

The new formula seeks to ensure all children get the best possible start in life, regardless of background or income, by providing families with easy to access, high quality early learning and childcare that is flexible to their needs. The free childcare entitlement for three and four year olds will be extended from 12.5 hours to 15 hours per week in September 2010.

The changes are not designed to disadvantage maintained nurseries or to enable private nurseries to make large profits. Councils have a duty to ensure that provision in their area meets the needs of families and there will be continued support for councils who may need extra help. Any childcare providers who have concerns about the impact of the new formula should contact their council to discuss the changes.