Hundreds more schools have started offering nursery provision in the past year, new figures show.
The annual survey of childcare and early years providers, published today by the Department for Education (DfE), shows the estimated number of school-based providers has increased by 5 per cent – from 8,600 in 2018 to 9,100 in 2019.
Early years results: Rise in 5-year-olds at good level
NEU leader: 'Early years is facing a crisis of funding'
This figure accounts for all state-funded and independent schools that offer nursery classes, and all maintained nursery schools.
Maintained nursery school numbers stable
The rise in providers has been driven by an increase in schools offering nursery classes, as the overall number of maintained nursery schools has remained stable.
Of the 9,100 school-based providers in 2019, 8,700 were offering nursery provision, compared to 8,200 in 2018.
This year, the DfE has excluded school-based providers offering Reception provision, but no nursery provision, from the equation. So the numbers for 2018 have been adjusted to allow for an accurate comparison.
The number of maintained nursery schools remains unchanged at 400, according to the new data.
Last month campaigners expressed their relief after it was announced that supplementary funding would continue to protect maintained nursery schools in 2020-21.
Their supplementary funding was due to end in March 2020, with some campaigners fearing the nursery schools were under threat in the long term.