MP offers support to South Tyneside nurseries

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A South Tyneside MP has met with five primary school leaders to hear their concerns about future funding.

Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn met with heads and governors from four maintained nursery schools in the borough to discuss the Government’s new Early Years Funding Formula.

The meeting, held at Helen Gibson Nursery School, East Boldon, was attended by Jenny Parker from The Helen Gibson Nursery in East Boldon, and the nursery’s governor Eileen Thompson.

Also present were Sue Stokoe, from Boldon Outdoor Nursery School; Michelle Dixon, from Clervaux Nursery School, in Jarrow, and Judith Reay from The Sue Hedley Nursery School, in Hebburn.

The new formula from the Government proposes to allocate all early years providers the same funding amount per child.

Mr Hepburn believes this will disadvantage the borough’s maintained nursery schools.

He says they require a higher funding rate because of the statutory need to have qualified teaching staff, a caretaker and an administrator.

Mr Hepburn fears that, if the new funding formula goes ahead, the nursery schools will no longer be financially viable and become at risk closure.

He said: “The heads were concerned for the future of our maintained nurseries..

“These schools are hugely important part of the communities they serve and offer children a fantastic start to their education.

“However, this will not be possible if they are under-funded.

“It is vital that the funding for maintained nursery schools is put in place so that they can continue the great work they do in preparing our young children for primary school.”