Scrutiny raises concerns about Government Plan education funding
8th December 2021
The Children, Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel (CEHA) has lodged six amendments to the Government Plan 2022-25 to address significant problems about early years and education funding.
The amendments and accompanying report follow a three-month review of the Plan, which involved gathering evidence from:
- Government Ministers.
- Key stakeholders, such as Jersey Child Care Trust, the Board of Governors of Haute Vallee School, States of Jersey Police Force Association and the Jersey Police Authority.
- Members of the public.
The amendments address six specific aspects of the Government Plan:
Amendment 1: Provide the Nursery Education Fund with an additional £2.05m. The Panel found that the allocated budget in the Government Plan does not meet the estimated cost following the increase from 20 to 30 free hours per week and increased hourly rate for three- and four-year old's' nursery education.
Amendment 2: Provide £750,000 of extra funding for vulnerable two- and three-year-olds from September 2022. This extra funding follows the Early Years Policy Development Board's recommendation to provide a 'Best Start Plus' part-time early education offer for two and three year olds, initially to children at risk of disadvantage.
Amendment 3: Increase funding for schools and Special Education Needs by £10m. This is to implement the recommendations of the Government's Inclusion Review and to cover any shortfall in funding identified within the new school funding formula for 2022.
Amendment 4: Move £330,000 from the Covid borrowing budget to the Children, Young People Education and Skills (CYPES) department to ensure funding agreed for the Best Start Partnership to support early years is kept within the CYPES budget.
Amendment 5: Provide £232,260 funding for degree level training for Nursery practitioners. This amendment supports one of the recommendations within the Early Years Policy Development Board Report, which recommends the introduction of funding to enable graduate level funding for private nurseries.
Amendment 6: Increase Jersey Child Care Trust funding by £30,000. This is to reinstate the Trust's full grant for 2022 and allow the Nanny Accreditation Scheme to continue. Without the funding the Child Care Trust has stated that the service will not be able to continue.
Deputy Rob Ward, Chair of the Children, Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel, explains: "The proposed Government Plan 2022-25 does not provide enough information for the Panel to state whether the funding allocated for education and early years is sufficient. Without details of the revised funding formula for schools, the Panel cannot state with any certainty that the funding allocated to education in 2022 is sufficient given that the current funding level is based on a formula that is nearly 30 years old. Given some of the evidence received we are deeply concerned about the potential long-term impact of the proposed budgets for education in Jersey and, in turn, for the future of the Island. As a result, the Panel has brought forward amendments to address the areas of concern it has identified. We would like to thank all those who gave evidence during this review"
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