More on the EYNFF Consultation and following my first report giving some headline data on the possible winners and losers. I have now had time to read more into the make-up of the supposed ‘fair funding formula’ as announced in the press last week. There’s a lot in here so grab a cup of tea and take 10 to start reading my Early Years National Funding formula consultation Reaction!
My first reaction is REALLY? My second is WRONG! You don’t want to hear my further reactions as it only goes downhill from there!
There is possibly a huge injustice about to be done through the clever mechanisms of complicated formulas being applied to flawed data thereby creating a huge differential in the EYNFF, which is the exact opposite of what it is purported to do. The NCRA is asserted as being only 10% of the influence on the formula but in real terms this can be as much as 65% when drilling down into the effect of the formulas. This wide-ranging (1.0 – 7.54) NCRA multiplying co-efficient has apparently come directly from the Valuations Office – but not in any recognisable format that I can track – and has a HUGE impact on our final provider rates per LA where some providers will receive nearly 2.5 times (2.29 for those that want exactness) more than others. Just how equitable is that? And where do you think 11 of the top 12 LA’s are located – only one guess per person allowed! I cannot justify in my own head why it is acceptable to pay £8.24 to providers in one local authority and just £3.60 in another. It’s not like it costs twice as much to provide this same childcare – and it’s not like these providers were asking for this much but because of the capping effect on LA monies – those that were receiving high levels (and not passing it on to providers) will now receive similar levels but have to pass it on – likewise those in lower funded LA’s – are still in lower funded LA’s !! Complete our 1 quick survey to help us find out how deep this injustice is (use a new window for each nursery if you are a group) and our Yes/No Poll to ascertain your opinion on this (only one per person).
This makes it all the more critical and important that we all RESPOND TO THE CONSULTATION which whilst isn’t the easiest of things to get through, with some of the questions difficult to understand and others that just don’t give you the right answers to choose from, at 11 pages is quite achievable if only to get the message across that this part is wholly unacceptable. To help (or hinder!) your own completion, I have a draft response here if you wish to have a look at one. 22nd September is the last date.
Why would you use what is currently known to be a flawed national system – having been through its own consultation to improve – in a formula that is purporting to be fair to providers across the country? The Nursery and Pre School Rateable Cost Adjustment (NCRA) identified in ‘Sheet 2’ of the consultation of the EYNFF is nothing but a (made-up) joke as far as I am concerned and I speak as someone who put in an appeal against my 2010 rateable values on 2 of my properties in March 2015 – and am still waiting for these to be processed!! They ‘have not been allocated for decision yet’ – REALLY?
This Area Cost Adjustment (ACA) is calculated into every factor within the formula, so just like good old compound interest it grows and grows. So whilst the concept might seem fair – because the rating system in this country is neither fair nor equitable – by association our EYNFF is WRONG
SEND AN EMAIL TO THE DFE – Remove the rates factor from the EYNFF
WRITE TO OUR MP’S – your constituency is being unfairly treated in the new EYNFF (Example letter to follow later)
Now I’m pretty good with numbers but there is so much data and information it is quite challenging to trawl through. What I have learned though is that the ‘headline £4.88’ from 2015 has now become £3.53 as the universal base rate !?! The rest is made up of FSM, EAL, DLA and of course EYPP. Now I am looking at all this and thinking – why are we triple funding deprivation (not more unfairness surely?). We have FSM, EYPP and good old IDACI (Google it) all as factors that will come into play at some point. WHY? (Let’s not forget poor deprived London). Surely now is the time to simplify exactly what deprivation they are paying for rather than having three measures and three strands of funding – why not use the same formula as for the 2yr olds or the schools, both of which are different again. And why do all three of these formulas have differently weighted percentages? Surely deprivation should be weighted equally throughout – or at least in early years itself if it improves when children enter school?
That isn’t to say that the EYNFF hasn’t got some good features, certainly it’s emphasis on children with SEND is admirable and I hope the formula produces more realistic funding for the sector, although I still find it confusing that they split up SEN and Disability when we have spent the last few years joining it up!
As for my view on the additional ‘transitional’ funding for Maintained Nursery Schools (MNS) – well that’s best left unsaid!
About the author: Tricia Wellings
Her passion for and knowledge of owning and running a nursery group and the issues within the sector that affect them is second to none. She continues to keep herself updated through regular meetings with PVI groups, Local Authorities, Ofsted Big Conversation and Conferences.
You can find our more about Tricia on her website www.triciawellings.co.uk