Agenda item

2022-23 Proposals for the Early Years Block Element of the Schools Budget

To seek agreement from the Forum to proposals for the 2022-23 Early Years budgets, including the values to be attributed to the Bracknell Forest Council Early Years Funding Formula.


The Forum considered a report which sought agreement to proposals for the 2022-23 Early Years budgets, including the values to be attributed to the Bracknell Forest Council Early Years Funding Formula (EYFF).


Cherry Hall explained that the formula had already been considered by the Forum during the meeting in December but at that stage the monetary values had not been available.  DfE had subsequently confirmed that Bracknell Forest Council would see an increase in funding of £0.17 per hour for 3- and 4-year-olds and £0.21 for eligible 2-year-olds.  The early years pupil premium (EYPP) was due to increase by £0.07 per hour and the funding rate for the disability access fund (DAF) would increase by £185 per year. 


The calculations had been more challenging due to the pandemic which had disrupted participation rates.  The outcome was that a weighted average had been used instead of the usual proxy measures. 


There was a need to use a share of the increase in the hourly rate to support other parts of the formula such as the deprivation and quality supplements so that they had the right proportion of funds.  Therefore, the proposal was that the hourly base rate would increase by £0.15 for 3- and 4-year-olds and by £0.19 for eligible 2-year-olds.  The impact of this meant that one provider would see a reduced income of up to 2% whereas all over providers would see an increased income.  Cherry Hall explained that this provider was likely to be a childminder and that some childminders could potentially only have one child that was funded over the course of a financial year. 


The DfE had confirmed that schools would be allocated additional funding from the Schools Supplementary Grant to cover the increase in employer National Insurance contributions and wider costs.  However, private and voluntary sector (PVI) providers would not be eligible to receive this funding and Cherry Hall had raised this apparent funding inequality with the DfE and was awaiting a response.


Sue Butler expressed her frustration that there was an uneven playing field between the maintained sector and the PVI sector.  The PVI sector has gone through the same challenges as schools and colleges but with far fewer resources and no support with staff costs.  The EY Single Funding Formula had been brought in to give equality but funding for the PVI sector remained inadequate and unfair.  Sue Butler feared that, if the sector were to remain underfunded, in 5 years’ time there would be no PVI sector. 


Councillor Barnard expressed that he understood what Sue Butler was saying on behalf of the PVI sector and that he was willing to present any evidence to the DfE to support the need for more financial support.  The Forum was sometimes asked to make comments on childcare sufficiency and Councillor Barnard felt it was important for the DfE to understand the impact on the PVI sector.  Sue Butler added that the Government had not taken into account the increased cost of providing the hours.  Businesses in the PVI sector were unable to pay the salaries that would attract qualified personnel as, once they were qualified, they transferred to the maintained sector where salaries were higher.  Cherry Hall added that, apart from two new provisions which had not yet been graded by Ofsted, 100% of provisions within the PVI sector in Bracknell Forest received a grading of good or outstanding in recent inspections.  Councillor Barnard invited Sue Butler to email him directly.


Action: Cherry Hall


RESOLVED after consideration of the Early Years Budget proposal from the council

1          to AGREE that for the 2022-23 financial year the LEADER OF THE COUNCIL sets


i.         the Early Years Dedicated Schools Grant income budget at £7.98m (Table 4 of the report);

ii.        the funding rates in the Early Years Funding Formula are as set out in Table 5 of the report; and

iii.      the proposed budgets as set out in Annex 1 of the report; and


2          that the Forum NOTES with concern the lack of the dedicated grant to compensate cost increases for PVI providers that schools will receive and asks the Executive Member for Children, Young People & Learning to make representations to the DfE about addressing this omission in relation to a vital sector accordingly.

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