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Children: Day Care

Question for Department for Education

UIN 38640, tabled on 26 May 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many (a) nursery schools, (b) day-care facilities and (c) children's centres have closed due to funding shortages in each of the last three years.

Answered on

9 June 2016

The department does not collect information on the reasons for the closure of nursery schools, day-care facilities or children’s centres.

Nursery schools

The number of closed nursery schools are given by year in the table below.

Calendar Year

Number of MNS Closures







Local authorities have a duty to secure sufficient childcare in their local area. In consultation with their Schools Forum, they are responsible for deciding how best to distribute early years funding across their locality.

There is a presumption against the closure of any maintained nursery school. The local authority must consult on any proposed closures, clearly demonstrating the rationale for so doing.

Day-care facilities

The childcare market has steadily expanded. The latest figures from the Childcare Providers Survey (September 2014) shows that the:

  • number of registered places in full day care settings rose by ten per cent between 2011 and 2013.

  • long term increase in the number of full day care providers continued in 2013. In total there were 17,900 full day care settings in 2013 (compared to 17,600 in 2011).

Children's centres

Local authorities have a duty under the Childcare Act 2006 to ensure sufficient children’s centres to meet the needs of local families. Local authorities must meet their statutory duties on children’s centres from funding that forms part of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) Business Rates Retention Scheme. In addition, other government funding, including that for public health, adult skills training and troubled families may also be used locally to support services delivered wholly, or in part, through children’s centres. Local authorities must consult fully before any significant changes are made to children’s centre services.

There is a strong network of children’s centres. At 31 December 2015, there were 2,605 main children’s centres open and 731 additional sites offering access to early childhood services. The numbers of closed children’s centres are given by year in the table below:

Calendar Year

Number of main children’s centres closed by year