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NEWS: PM announces £1bn for schools, but early years misses out again

The Prime Minister will today announce a £1bn fund to help schools in England support children to catch up with learning they've missed through the forced closure of schools due to the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Due to make the announcement later today, the Prime Minister and the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, will explain that a £350m programme will help schools ensure that the most disadvantaged pupils have access to tutors over the next academic year. Primary and secondary schools will be given a further £650m to spend on one-to-one or group tuition for any pupils they think need it.

There remains confusion and uncertainty over whether Early Years providers are included in this funding, with some media reporting that they are, and others that the sector has been excluded. 

Speaking this morning, PACEY Chief Executive, Liz Bayram, said “Children under 5 need just as much support to catch up as children over 5, especially children due to start reception this September. With so much evidence that money spent on early education is money well spent in terms of all children’s progress in later life, especially disadvantaged children’s, PACEY despairs at the logic behind excluding early years from this vitally important catch-up programme.

“Childminders, nurseries and pre-schools are struggling with the cost of new arrangements to support the children in their care. They have put up with years of government underfunding of early education entitlements. Now, following months of providing childcare for key workers and vulnerable children at a loss or, worse still, having to face closure, this announcement is evidence that early years is just an afterthought for this government. These dedicated professionals were there when called upon by government to risk life and livelihoods to support the national effort but that’s now quickly forgotten. We are writing today to the Prime Minister to urge him to quickly reconsider his decision."

You can read our letter to the Prime Minister here.