The Assistant Minister for Children and Education, Deputy Louise Doublet, has announced additional financial support measures for the early years sector.
The financial measures have been agreed following a series of meetings with the Jersey Early Years’ Association (JEYA), which represents early years providers in the Island.
The annual increase to the Nursery Education Fund (NEF) -which funds nursery places for three- and four-year-olds – has been set at 8% this year. This equates to up to £627 additional funding per child this year.
In addition, the Minister has announced that the increase – which usually applies from the Autumn Term, will be brought forward. All NEF-eligible providers will receive the increased funding in the Summer Term.
In addition, NEF-registered nurseries will receive an additional one-off payment in May. The funds are designed to improve children’s experience. This could be through the purchase of specialist equipment, multi-lingual books, or any resources that will support children’s learning and development and meet their individual needs.
The £82,000 of funding will be allocated based on how many children attend a setting. The smallest settings will receive £1500, and the largest will receive £6,000.
Belinda Lewis, on behalf of the Jersey Early Years Association (JEYA) said: “The members of the Jersey Early Years Association welcome the annual increase from Government to support the Nursery Education Fund delivered on contract to the parents of early years children eligible for this funding.
“Bringing this subsidy forward acknowledges the rise in costs providers are experiencing. The one-off payment will help the members of JEYA maintain the standard of childcare they are proud to offer children and their parents. It will also help support children to continue to develop their skills through valuable experiences in the care of registered nurseries and pre-schools. JEYA continues to enjoy a strong working relationship with Government.”
Assistant Minister for Children and Education, Deputy Louise Doublet (pictured), said: “I am still working with officers and with JEYA to review the early years sector. However, I am very aware that parents and providers are telling us that they need action now.
“That is why I have brought forward this year’s NEF increase, and why I sought and have provided additional funding to invest in children’s experiences in their nursery settings. The measures will help offset the increased costs for providers, and avoid this cost being passed on to parents.
“These measures are a sign of how important this sector is, not just to families, but to the economy as whole. Parents rely on having access to early years provision so that they can continue to work; meanwhile, children who receive high-quality care and early education will see the benefits throughout their lives.
“I would like to thank JEYA representatives, who have worked closely with me over the last six months to agree these measures.”