Nursery schools in East Barnet face an uncertain futureWe're petitioning Parliament to increase funding for our maintained nursery schools alongside our MP
Barnet Early Years Alliance (BEYA) nursery staff, parents and governors took to the streets of Westminster alongside early years educators from around the country on 19th October to call on the government to provide a new financial settlement that will end the chronic under-funding of maintained nursery schools.
After a short rally in Parliament Square, the group of over 100 marched the short distance to Downing Street, alongside a group of supportive politicians from across the parties, including Chipping Barnet's Tory MP Theresa Villiers. They handed in a petition signed by over 2000 school leaders and educators to Rishi Sunak at number 11.
Barnet Early Years Alliance (BEYA) is a federation of three Oftsed ‘outstanding’ rated and highly popular nursery schools (St Margaret's, Hampden Way and Brookhill) and a Children's Centre located in East Barnet. Despite working successfully with generation after generation of children and parents at the heart of the East Barnet community, neither the central government nor Barnet Council has been able to put in place the financial security needed for BEYA to remain viable in the medium and longer-term.
The financial uncertainty, which BEYA has endured for many years, is now becoming more acute. With BEYA slipping into debt this year and no solution being offered, parents, staff and governors are left with little choice but to actively and publicly campaign to raise awareness of BEYA’s worrying situation.
Now all eyes are on the October public spending review, where Rishi Sunak the Chancellor of the Exchequer will present financial plans for the next few years to the House of Commons on 27th October, alongside the Autumn budget. BEYA urgently requires a significant cash injection as part of this settlement. The demo in Westminster was organised by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) ahead of this announcement to raise the public profile of the national campaign and put pressure on the government to respond.
To date Barnet Council, the local MP Theresa Villiers and even the Department of Education have all said they support the ongoing existence of maintained nursery schools and would like BEYA to remain open. However, without the actual resources needed to sustain the maintained nursery school sector, BEYA, along with other schools like it, are in serious trouble and even risk closure (many have already closed).
Having remained open throughout the pandemic, expanded its services significantly in recent times to adapt to changing needs and growing demand, built up its services to support children with special educational needs and developed an outstanding national reputation for its contribution to the development of early years education, BEYA should have a bright, rather than an uncertain, future ahead in Barnet.
So if you support the campaign for a better financial settlement for BEYA and BEYA's ongoing work in Barnet please join this Facebook page and add your name to this national petition.