Source: Channel Islands – Jersey
The Education Minister, Senator Tracey Vallois, has confirmed that the 20 free hours offered to nursery children, aged 3 to 4, through the Nursery Education Fund (NEF) will continue in 2020.
Currently, almost every child in Jersey has their nursery education subsidised by the Government of Jersey when they are aged 3 to 4, in the year before they start Reception at primary school. Through the Nursery Education Fund, all families can receive 20 hours of free nursery education for their child for 38 weeks, in term-time, at a private day nursery, pre-school or school nursery.
Senator Vallois has reaffirmed that the Early Years Policy Development Board, chaired by the Education Minister, is due to bring interim plans for the NEF to the Council of Ministers in the first quarter of this year. The current scheme of 20 free hours will remain in place for September 2020, and there is no intention to remove or reduce this offering.
Senator Vallois said: “The Early Years Policy Development Board has been established to examine the provision of services from conception to aged five and to develop a shared strategic policy for Early Years. We plan to bring interim plans to the Council of Ministers during this quarter, which could allow some swift improvements in our Early Years services.
“The current scheme of 20 hours of funded nursery education will remain in place until a new scheme is developed and implemented. I am committed to keeping parents, carers, nursery providers and industry professionals informed and will consult with them as we move forward.
“The Council of Ministers is committed to putting children first, as set out in the Common Strategic Policy. I have established the Policy Development Board with a focus on Early Years, which will work hard this year to devise new and sustainable plans to fund early years in the future.
“The Early Years Policy Board has looked at many things across the board from conception to five years. We are due to hear feedback from 4insight on their engagement with parents, and a market assessment is underway with private nurseries and other stakeholders to ensure any proposals for 2021 will improve outcomes for children. We hope to follow up with a final report by the end of quarter 2 or quarter 3 this year.”