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New Early Years Entitlements: What it Means for Nurseries

On March 22nd 2023, the UK Government announced plans to expand and extend the existing 30 hour entitlement that is available to eligible working families. By September 2025, the eligibility requirements will grow from working families of three and four year olds, to working families of children from nine months and above. 

These changes are designed to provide more support for families with young children, addressing the issue of limited affordable childcare for working parents whilst also improving the quality of the early years provisions available to families. Alongside these benefits for families, Nurseries will see a significant impact in the demand for their services and the funding they have to provide it. The government has announced a planned increase of £4.1 billion by 2027, with £204 million from September 2023 and further raises next year. 

In practice, for early years providers such as nurseries, this will result in a higher rate per child. Although the rates that provisions will receive have not yet been announced, this should be able to support them in maintaining their high standards and bringing in additional staff to accommodate more children, as there’s an optional suggestion that England increases the current ratios of staff to children. 

So, how can nurseries prepare for this change? The new plans will be rolled out in phases, giving nurseries a chance to :

Decide whether or not to accept a higher ratio of children 

Currently, the maximum ratio of staff to two-year-old children is 1:4. The government will soon increase this to match the current Scottish maximum ratio of 1:5. Whether or not a nursery chooses to take advantage of this increased ratio is up to them. Although it could help maximise the existing staff with the upcoming demand increases, some nurseries would prefer to maintain the staff to child ratio that they currently have. 

Plan for the increased demand 

With the free childcare hours provision rising from 15 hours per week for three and four year olds to 30 hours per week for children aged nine months to starting school, we can expect to see demand for nursery places skyrocket. With most nurseries already at capacity, it’s time to think about how your nursery will accommodate the new demand.

A fantastic option for nurseries is a new-build modular nursery or a modular extension. It can provide the bespoke features and designs you need, without the long build times and disruption of a traditional extension. With build times as little as just a few weeks, nurseries can be ready to welcome new children to a purpose-built nursery space by the time the new entitlement takes effect. 

If your nursery is already running out of space, take a look at the work that The Qube has already done for others, like Prince Avenue Nursery. Within their new nursery block, Price Avenue was able to include three teaching rooms, two kitchens, offices, toilets and a plant room. Due to our SIPs panel construction methods, the block was built without any disruption to the existing school buildings.

If you’re interested in hearing more about how a Qube Modular Building can help your nursery prepare for the new childcare provisions, get in touch with our friendly team today. We’ll be able to tell you more about what we do, how much it costs, and how quickly we can get a brand new modular nursery building planned and built for you.