Is this study worth the “paper it is written on?”

Am I the only one thinking this???

The study on cost of early years providers has been published……triggered in part by the additional 15 hours enhanced funding commonly known as the “30 hours.” That has caused a central government imposed “austerity.” This  report is hugely flawed and almost without merit as an exercise.

Please do not take my opinion as fact, Section 2 methodology, there is a massive disclaimer embedded that basically (I paraphrase) says you cannot reply upon the narrow data gatherings……and to be honest “we” who compiled it, and as professionals,  really don’t lend much gravity to the findings either……However, we have charged a fortune, so here it is all 118 pages of tax payers monies worth.

This huge bundle of a document (118 pages if you count the 2015 study bolted on at the back)  has only been compiled by using 120 settings……..with around 44,000 private, voluntary and independent settings (including homebased childminders) I think this study appears to be somewhat a bit narrow on data gathering…….Not only have they used a very small set of data for it to be “a shot in the dark representation” they have collated it into a national “mean”

Why not represent the data as a regional outlook and see if there are “heat map areas” where costs are higher?

Outcomes, could be to target  areas were early years providers find it harder to deliver quality early years and keep afloat. There is of course variances in rate of NEG local authorities receive (between £4.30 to £8.53 per hour) however, there could so much direct and indirect help providers could be given for areas that are more expensive to operate. Something I may detail in a future article.

Please do not let me deflect from the importance of the finding(s):

They are quick to report, Nursery maintained schools “appears to have the highest overheads…….Although tables 3 & 4 shows a huge 21 % decrease in costs in real terms while all other types of settings continue to see an increase. Maybe in reality,  MNS’s are inherently more cost effective compared to PVI’s for the following reasons:

No business rates to pay

No rent to pay

Surplus cash at the end of the year (that has not been spent….) being stripped of 19% “labelled as corporation tax.”

Please do not get me started on how academy schools, who  are entitled to claim back a large amount of   VAT……different rules for fellow Ofsted registered settings?

However, despite the above and its clear disparity, there is  what use to be referred to as “one common inspection framework” undertaken for all- how lovely.

Negating the huge disparity in wages paid to early years teachers compared to PVI’s (I wish we could afford to pay more) and If maintained schools in general are so expensive to run, then how have academy schools such as “Mr. Carpet Right Lord Harris of Peckham” schools exploded and thrived?

I think the findings on page 13 are illuminating… “London has the highest cost per hour….”…….Maybe down to parental demand for childcare and more affluent parents……willing to part with more of their money……making it more expensive?

Where did they sample “that Nursery” -Notting hill? I am sure you will agree, London has its fair share for deprived areas with many children from disadvantaged areas………...

Let me translate some of page 13  into layman’s terms; we reckon London is more expensive than the north….its bound to be right? But we cannot really tell you why, because we really don’t know, so we have thrown in a couple of idle conjecture.

However, having now vented…….. I think all early years providers will recognise a symmetry with the outcome(s) of the study and a chronic funding gap, particularly felt the hardest with the over two’s, term time and non full time providers.

And the pessimistic financial outlook.

Early Years minister Nadhim Zahawi recently announced an additional £24M in funding for maintained nursery schools. A good start, which may be the same amount that this study has cost?

Maybe a freedom of information request is now due for this study.

The headline grabbing, “£24M for maintained nursery schools” is a good start. Even though according to this report, they have seen the largest drop in overheads.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article please feel free to add a comment.

“Through a holistic approach, I have demonstrable track record of creating a healthy early years provision from the business model up, through to the quality of years education. Please take time to look at my website to find out more.”