Funding for free nursery places in Camden

Our consultation about proposed changes to the way free nursery places are funded in the borough closes at midnight on Sunday, 5 March.

The Government is reducing Camden’s early years funding and also making changes to how the funding can be used by councils. Because of this, Camden Council can no longer afford to continue our current enhanced early years offer.

Currently, all three and four year olds in Camden are entitled to a free 15 hour a week nursery place. Camden Council also provides an extra 15 hours for these children in our school and Council-run nurseries – taking the ‘enhanced’ total to 30 hours a week.

From September 2017, the Government proposes that all three and four year olds will continue to be entitled to a free 15 hour nursery place, but new national policies mean some families will no longer qualify for the additional 15 hours.

To be eligible for the additional 15 hours:

  • both parents, or the sole parent in a one parent family, must be working
  • each parent must have a weekly minimum income equivalent to 16 hours at the national minimum wage or living wage, and
  • neither parent must have income of more than £100,000 per year.

If the Council funded all those who are no longer eligible for the additional 15 hours, we would have a funding gap of more than £5 million, which we cannot afford to fill in the current climate of reduced finances.

However, the Council believes we can afford to fund the additional 15 hours for some of those who look set to miss out, targeting the available finances at those we believe will benefit the most. The criteria for this revised ‘enhanced’ offer in Camden would be the same as for free two year old places (except it would be targeted at three and four year olds).

Local parents and residents have until midnight on Sunday 5 March to make their views known about the proposal to change the current enhanced offer for early years and childcare to focus on the most disadvantaged children from September 2017.

Find out more and have your say: