Gove won’t rule out nursery ‘top up’ fees

Michael Gove refused today to rule out the introduction of "top-up fees" in nursery education. Campaigners oppose the move according to a report in the Observer.

Politics Home are reporting that Michael Gove refused to rule out the introduction of “top-up fees” in nursery education in an interview with Sky. The Observer today reported that the, “Conservative party will allow nurseries to charge top-up fees”.

According to Politics Home:

Mr Gove refused to rule out the introduction of “top-up fees” in nursery education, although he insisted the Conservative party would not take away from parents any existing entitlements to nursery education.

Pressed several times on the issue, Mr Gove only said that the Conservative sought more “flexibility” in the funding system.

The Observer says today:

“Campaigners have described the move, which would end the guarantee of a free place for every child that age, as “a huge blow to parents”…

“Charities have warned that it could lead to the emergence of a two-tier system in nursery care. Alison Garnham, chief executive of the Daycare Trust, a childcare charity, said: “Any attack on free entitlement will be a huge blow to parents throughout the country who feel crippled by the cost of childcare… If the code is removed, providers will be given carte blanche to charge extra, and the value of these free places will be lost.””

Labour’s manifesto commits to:

“An expansion of free nursery places for two year olds and 15 hours a week of flexible, free nursery education for three and four year olds.”

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