How much does the Early Years Foundation Stage cost to run?


With news of threatened nursery closures across the country – a series of financial questions spring to mind. How much did/does the Early Years Foundation Stage cost to set up and how much does it cost to run?

My thinking is: if the Early Years Foundation Stage Learning and Development Requirements and the Profiling are fundamentally flawed –  as the likes of Dr. Sebastian Suggate seem to be suggesting with his research – why are we still spending so much money on them? Surely this is money which could be channelled into saving child care settings and nurseries?

And indeed, where does this money come from? Where does it go? How much is spent on ‘consultancy’ and ‘materials’ for example?

Since the Early Years Foundation Stage was introduced – a whole industry has sprung up around it. Google ‘EYFS materials’ and you’ll find everything from specially designed computer programmes for measuring children with a software tick box system…to a list of books and guidance manuals that have been written to help parents, teachers and practitioners  ‘understand’ how to do the EYFS. There’s at least one specially designed magazine on the market.

It is notable that in the communication vehicles of these EYFS industries (websites/blogs/magazines) the writers and editors have often ceased to talk about the concept of ‘early years education’ at all. They tend to talk about the ‘Early Years Foundation Stage’ as if it were exactly the same thing as ‘early years education’.  

But it isn’t the same, is it? Education is education. Educational theories are many, varied and constantly changing. They are supposed to be informed by educational research and consensus between researchers.

The Early Years Foundation Stage is a political and administrative programme that is supposed to facilitate and strengthen early years education.  But it is not education itself – as many of these EYFS industrialists appear to think it is.

I wonder what our EYFS industrialists – (the ones who produce magazines – videos – theatre productions and training courses to support EYFS doctrines)  will do if the legislation changes. They may find themselves without an income. Wouldn’t it be wise for them to look ahead now to a possible change of direction?

And I believe the legislation will change, possibly as soon as May, with a new government – or a hung parliament. If you ask me the main motivation for the change will be – the need to save money in schools and nurseries.

See these Nursery World pieces for more  topical background – and here’s Dawn Primarolo our Children’s Minister peddling predictable New Labour Spin:

Opinion Minister’s View

Five Nurseries withdraw from funded places scheme

Threatened Nursery Schools Unite on funding plan


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