LA Funding Tables don’t make the most exciting reading but I spent yesterday afternoon updating our DSG Guaranteed Units of Resources Data with data from the governments published S251 Budget tables, which detail the early years spend in your LA. This, alongside other budget information in the Early Years and Summary tables can tell you exactly where your LA early years money is going (if not to early years). This is important information for all of us, especially if we are to contact our MP’s and talk to them about how little of the funding is being passed over to us from our local authorities. Whilst the campaign for fairer funding formula is won, the detail is yet to be thrashed out so we need to keep up the pressure. There are plenty in our corner but others who have their own agenda’s and if you haven’t seen the recent Public Accounts Committee footage then you can do so here (it’s a long watch, so settle in with a cuppa). We are encouraging childminders, nursery owners, pre-school and playgroup leaders to send a letter to their MP and try to arrange a meeting in order to discuss not only the current inequalities but also to ensure the future increases in costs are being considered.
It’s also hugely important to make sure you are aware of your own costs, especially when talking to MP’s, and there are several reports that have looked into these. Working out our costs can be complex when you consider the variables and we are looking into methods to help us all do this in an easier way. One calculator has been developed by the Pre-School Learning Alliance, but it won’t suit everyone. We are looking at other methods but in the meantime we can use the reports of others to support our arguments. The most recent one is the Ceeda Report (July 2015) which analyses the Impact of Living Wage in the coming years, it builds on their original Counting the Cost analysis from 2014 which suggested an hourly cost of £4.53 existed. Meanwhile in 2015 KMPG published a report they had undertake with Birmingham Council showing the local cost for an hours provision for 3-4 yr olds was £3.86, with younger children costing considerably more. These figures also do not include any profit element, which is an essential to pay off loans, investors, taxes and so forth, although the KMPG report begins to analyse this at various rates.
Of course we are looking here at current costs, it perhaps doesn’t include the rates of pay that we perhaps should be earning ourselves or paying our staff teams. For example, how many of you earn a similar wage to a Head Teacher.
There is still a long way to go to ensure we are getting what we deserve, in the meantime we have to cope with one if not 2 more minimum/living wage increases (October 2016 and April 2017) plus auto-enrolment before ANYTHING is done with our rates. This is becoming more unsustainable as the months roll on and I know there are many setting struggling to survive. However, I have also discovered, through my Funding the Gap Workshop, that there are many ways in which we can help to stop those losses on funded hours and I would thoroughly recommend you coming along if you are one of those who is making losses on your funded hours and can’t work out how to make it stop. This won’t suit everyone as some settings charge less that they get funding for so there is no gap at all. But if you are worried and want to do something about it then get in touch. we have courses planned now for the North West, South East and South Coast Regions, alongside our Midlands courses. Where ever you are if you are interested then Register your interest and we’ll be back in touch.
Finally if there is anyone out there who hasn’t seen or joined the Champagne Nurseries, Lemonade Funding campaign then please do so on Facebook now.
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