PRESS RELEASE 26th July 2020
We were delighted to welcome the Rt Hon Dr Andrew Murrison, MP for South West Wiltshire to our YMCA Green Shoots Nursery on Friday 23rd July 2021. The purpose of the visit was to discuss the shortfall in early years funding that the government provides for 2, 3 and 4 year-olds. The funding is to provide early years education for 15 hours a week and for 30 hours for working parents. As a YMCA, we operate 9 Ofsted registered nurseries and pre-schools in Bath and Wiltshire, all offering valuable care to children in those critical pre-school years. We do not limit the number of children on government funded places. The hourly rate paid by government to us through the local authorities is around £4.25 an hour for 3 and 4 year olds. In reality, it costs us more than this to run the sessions and therefore the YMCA is having to subsidise these nursery places – which is not viable long term. Private sector nurseries often manage this by limiting the number of free spaces they offer, make charges for additional services or by choosing to operate in more affluent communities. They are also finding the rate insufficient to manage their businesses.
As a YMCA, we want to ensure our nurseries are accessible to all and we do not limit numbers or make charges for additional services. We believe the amount given per hour for a child, should, as a minimum, cover the cost of operating the service. Currently we have calculated there to be a 20% shortfall, as we consider that the average cost of delivery is just over £5.00 per hour per child. This means that for every hour of early year’s education the YMCA offers, we lose, on average, £0.75 pence per hour per child. This is echoed by our YMCA’s nationally. Government policy actually penalizes settings in our most vulnerable communities, putting future provision at risk of jeopardy. YMCA’s usually offer unlimited funded spaces, compared to other providers, to ensure that those disadvantaged families have the best opportunities possible.
Dr. Murrison was extremely impressed by the nursery and thanked the staff for the valuable work that they do, and promised to look into this further.
Photo: YMCA Staff members (L to R): Sarah Clover, Kady Hanney & Julia Honeywell with Rt Hon Dr Andrew Murrison MP.