Duplication threatens future of nurseries

Government-funded children’s centres pose a threat to the sustainability of private and voluntary sector nurseries, the National Day Nurseries Association has warned.

The charity looked at how closely local authorities and day nurseries are working in partnership to deliver the government’s childcare objectives.

Its research found that 50% of day nurseries were facing the situation of their local council using government funding to create a children’s centre near their own nursery.

The NDNA is concerned that this will duplicate existing provision and exacerbate the problem of unfilled places. In August this year, private and voluntary sector nurseries were only 76% full compared with an occupancy rate of 84% in February 2005.

The research also suggests that the growing number of schools entering the childcare sector is further compounding the problem.

The NDNA wants local authorities to utilise private and voluntary nurseries to meet government targets.

“We would like to see a national commissioning framework that gives local authorities options for creating children’s centres in partnership with existing private and voluntary nurseries. This, in conjunction with a formal appeal procedure for nurseries where a local authority hasn’t involved a willing nursery, would go a long way to reaching the government’s childcare goals,” said Purnima Tanuku, NDNA chief executive.

Tanuku called on all nurseries to contact their local authorities to explore how they could work together.

Why Duplicate? from www.ndna.org.uk

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