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A message from Patrick Leeson:

16 March 2017 weekly update

16 March 2017

This week, Patrick outlines the forthcoming changes to the structure of Education and Children’s Services in Kent and summarises the changes to the allocation of the Kent Early Years Funding Formula.

Dear Colleagues

Changes to the Structure of Education and Children’s Services in Kent

As you may be aware the County Council recently approved a decision to integrate all of Children’s Services into a single directorate. This provides a welcome opportunity to integrate Specialist Children’s Services (social care) and all the other services that currently make up Education and Young People’s Services.

This is very positive and, together with the current project to integrate the ‘front door’ for all notifications to Early Help and referrals to Social Care, it will create a more coherent whole system approach in supporting children and young people, and in working in partnership with schools.

This process will happen over the coming months. The Council sees this as a three to five year project going forward and will shortly be recruiting a new Corporate Director for Children, Young People and Education. As a consequence I will be leaving at some point in the coming year, following the transition to the new arrangements. The recent statement (PDF, 139.5 KB) by the KCC Head of Paid Service communicates this decision.

I would like to say that there continues to be strong commitment to education and the services that support children in Kent. We will I am sure, following the Cabinet decision on 27 March, be moving forward with the Education Services Company which we expect to be launched later this year. The local authority is also taking forward proposals to develop LA supported multi-academy trusts where groups of schools want to take this step. We continue to have a very ambitious agenda for further development and improvement in Kent and I have every confidence that my colleagues, working in close partnership with you, will continue to drive this forward.

From 1 April 2017 this Directorate will be known as the Directorate of Children, Young People and Education, and that will be my title.

Changes to the Kent Early Years Funding Formula

Following the introduction of a new national funding formula for Early Years providers and our consultation on how to implement the changes we will be allocating the funding as follows:

Until 31 August 2017, the universal base rate, which is paid to all providers, will remain at £3.91 per hour despite the 5p per hour funding reduction for Kent in the national formula. With effect from 1 September 2017 the universal base rate will increase by 5p per hour to £3.96. We have managed to achieve this by making other savings and I hope this is very welcome news to all providers.

The deprivation supplement (which is mandatory) will continue to be targeted to the 25% of settings with the most deprived children and will range from £0.01 (least deprived) to £0.90 (most deprived) per hour.

The quality supplement for Qualified Teachers Status (QTS) (employed and paid under the statutory teachers’ pay and conditions) will remain at £0.90 per hour and Qualified Teachers Status (QTS) (not paid under the statutory teachers’ pay and conditions) and Early Years Teacher Status will remain at the rate of £0.30 per hour.

In addition, the LA is introducing a new Quality supplement under System Leadership (in Kent manifested via provider early years collaborations). A total sum of £250k has been allocated to support collaborations. The LA is currently formulating the process for distribution and providers will be updated on this in due course, with the full £250k funding due to be allocated with effect from September 2017.

Table 1 - Current rates compared to the proposed rates


Hourly rates

Hourly rates

Base Rate£3.91£3.91 (increasing to £3.96
from 1 September 2017)
Deprivation£0.01 to £0.90£0.01 to £0.90
Quality - QTS£0.90£0.90
Quality - QTS/EYPS£0.30£0.30
Quality - Collaborationsn/a£tbc
Quality - Ofsted£0.05 per hour
+ £300 lump sum
No longer applicable
Flexibility£0.05No longer applicable

Disability funding and SEN Inclusion Fund

From 1 April 2017 there will be a new Disability Access Fund (DAF) and all children in the early years who are in receipt of Disability Living Allowance will receive £615 per annum.

The DAF is in addition to the SEN Inclusion Fund which the Council will continue to operate. Providers gave strong support to the distribution of the SEN Inclusion Fund via top up payments to providers rather than access to services funded directly by the LA. Further information about this will follow in due course.

Changes to the Kent Early Years Funding Formula for 2 year olds

From 1 April 2017 the 2 year old rate will be increased from £4.95 to £5.02 per hour, which is also very welcome.

Overall this is good news for Kent. We are pleased to be able to increase the base rate to providers for 3 and 4 year olds at a time when our funding provided by the Government is reducing. Providers told us that maximising the base rate was important to them, and we believe this increase will help incentivise providers in offering places for the Government’s commitment to increase entitlement to 30 hours free childcare for working parents.

It is our intention to further increase the base rate in the future as affordability allows. We anticipate that this will be possible from the growth in the take up of the 30 hours entitlement. The amount of the increase and the timing of the increase will depend on the level of take up and we intend to review the take up position at regular intervals and update providers in due course.

These proposals were fully endorsed by the Schools’ Funding Forum at its meeting on 10 February 2017 and approved by the Cabinet Member for Education..

For more information on Early Years funding please contact, Head of Early Years.

Patrick Leeson, Corporate Director Education and Young People’s Services