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'Nationalising' and transforming the public funding of early years education (and care) in England 1996-2017

West, Anne ORCID: 0000-0003-2932-7667 and Noden, Philip (2018) 'Nationalising' and transforming the public funding of early years education (and care) in England 1996-2017. British Journal of Educational Studies, 67 (2). pp. 145-167. ISSN 0007-1005

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Identification Number: 10.1080/00071005.2018.1478058


The public funding of early years education and care in England has been transformed. Historically, local councils had the main responsibility for decisions regarding nursery education and child daycare, but in 1996 the Conservative government introduced a nursery education voucher scheme. Parents of four-year-olds could exchange the voucher for three terms of ‘pre-school provision’ in a maintained nursery or primary school, or in a private, voluntary or independent (PVI) provider of child daycare; in 1998 the Labour government replaced the voucher with an entitlement to free part-time ‘early education’. The entitlement was expanded progressively and in 2017 the Conservative government introduced 30 hours free ‘childcare’ for some children together with an Early Years National Funding Formula. Funding goals and policy have shifted over time, underpinned by the idea of ‘a level playing field’ between providers in maintained and PVI sectors. However, there is no statutory requirement for PVI settings to employ qualified teachers, militating against a genuine ‘level playing field’ and the integration of education and care.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 Informa UK
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
Date Deposited: 15 May 2018 14:51
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 01:27
Funders: Nuffield Foundation

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