The UK Department for Education (DfE) has just published research by Frontier looking at provision of early years (pre-primary school) education.
Frontier's work looks at how the cost of provision varies by provider type and what factors that influence cost differences. Specifically the work examines how Maintained Nursery Schools (MNS) differ from other early years providers, particularly in the quality of childcare offered and in the provision of additional and specialist services, and considers how the value that MNS offer compares to other provider types using existing evidence sources and analysis of new data on delivery costs from MNS and comparable providers.
The research demonstrates that the provision of early years education is more costly in MNS than other providers. However, MNS have several distinctive characteristics which could explain differences in the hourly delivery cost with other provider types. These include their child profile and the quality of their provision.
The study also found that MNS offer a greater range and quantity of additional and specialist services than other provider types and that these do not cost more in MNS than in nursery classes in primary schools.
This study will help build the evidence base for discussions on future policy developments for MNS.
Frontier regularly advises public and private sector clients on labour markets, education and skills issues applying a wide range of quantitative and qualitative techniques.