This week in Parliament during a debate on education, I raised the issue of Nursery School funding.
I pointed out that when it comes to the cycle of disadvantage and lack of opportunity, inequality sets in early. We already know there is a development gap which is variously measured at twelve or fifteen months between children from the lowest income backgrounds and those who are better off when it comes to starting school.
And we know if that development gap is not addressed early it can affect people for the rest of their lives, holding them back from learning what they might learn, cutting them off from opportunities and careers that they may have had and reinforcing the inequality and lack of social mobility which is so prevalent in our country. So if we're to address this, we have to start in the early years.
At the moment, the impact of the new funding formula has been tempered by transitional relief which is not guaranteed beyond 2019 / 2020. I asked the Minister what will happen after that? If this supplementary funding is not continued, it will be a disaster for these schools.
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