The States-funded scheme, giving children 15 hours of pre-school education a week during the year before they start school is definitely going to continue.
The Committee for Education, Sport & Culture has met with pre-school providers where it signalled its commitment to the pre- school Education Fund that ensures free universal access to a "high standard of pre-school education" to help them prepare for school.
The Committee for Education, Sport & Culture has said the scheme is not a "trial" and was established by the States as a permanent scheme. There is also a States’ Resolution dictating that parents’ access to the scheme should not be adjusted with anything less than nine months’ notice to providers and parents.
During the meeting earlier this month, which was described as "very open and constructive", ESC confirmed it will not be asking the States to allow providers to require parents to pay top-up fees in addition to the fees paid by the States, however, the hourly rate paid by the States will increase to £6.07p per hour (an RPIX uplift) from April this year.
Deputy Matt Fallaize, President of the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture, said: "The success of the States-funded pre-school education scheme thus far is to be celebrated, and the Committee is committed to ensuring it continues in the long term. Talk of a trial period by the previous Committee was inaccurate and has unnecessarily confused some parents. Parents can be certain that the new Committee unequivocally supports the current States-funded pre-school education scheme delivered through a public-private partnership with providers."
Pictured: Deputy Matt Fallaize
Deputy Fallaize said he is personally pleased with the success of the scheme: "For those parents who wish to take advantage of it, pre-school education provides an invaluable experience for children and helps prepare them for the step up to primary school. I would like to take this opportunity to thank providers for all their hard work making that experience as successful as possible."
Ruth Sharp, Lead Education Officer – Early Years, said all children currently benefitting from the scheme are enjoying a "high quality service":
"The States Early Years Team continues to work hard to develop partnerships with all other children’s services across the Bailiwick to ensure all children can thrive and develop strongly. The commitment from our Pre-schools and Day Nurseries is fantastic. It is a privilege to be part of the provision and an exciting place to work. The passion is clear with businesses working hard to ensure they are offering a high quality service for all children within the Bailiwick. Practitioners are attending a wide range of Continuing Professional Development which ensures they are confident, informed and current in their practice."
Pictured: Caroline Blondel, image from the Monkey Puzzle website
Caroline Blondel, Deputy Chair of the Pre-school Learning Association, added that she and her peers are pleased the scheme is continuing: "The Pre-schools and Day Nurseries are thrilled to support the continuation of the pre-school education fund."
Further information for parents regarding the scheme can be found here.