West Suffolk pre-school providers show their fears for the future at meeting

People at a meeting of pre-school providers were asked to stand up if they thought Suffolk's new funding scheme would  adversely affect them
People at a meeting of pre-school providers were asked to stand up if they thought Suffolk's new funding scheme would adversely affect them
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Providers of pre-school services across West Suffolk showed their fears for the future at a meeting on the county’s new funding formula.

The providers had their first chance to ask questions on the formula at a ‘keeping you up to date’ meeting chaired by Alison Manning, Suffolk County Council’s lead for early years childcare.

Charlotte Coe, manager of Cygnets Childcare in Great Whelnetham, said afterwards: “We asked every provider who thought their children and business would suffer, or whose setting was under threat because of the new funding cut, and those who are extremely concerned about future funding to stand.”

A picture shows most of the delegates standing.

As we reported last month, The pre-schools say the Department for Education used out of date data to set funding but also say Suffolk County Council is paying less than surrounding counties at £3.87 an hour per child compared to Norfolk’s £4.04 and a £4.88 national average. They also lose block supplements and extra fees for better qualified staff.

Pre-schools told us of fearing budget deficits of up to £13,600 by the end of the year.

Those at the meeting say county officers repeatedly blamed a £2.7 million cut in funding to the county.

But Ms Coe said: “This is true and understandable, however, other local authorities have had a dramatic cut in funding and are passing more money on to providers.”

Several west Suffolk pre-schools are working together to try to get changes in the funding formula.