National Loan Guarantee Scheme
The Government has announced a £20bn National Loan Guarantee Scheme for small and medium-sized businesses. Under the programme, firms with an annual turnover of less than £50m will be able to receive a discount of one percentage point compared to the interest rate that they would otherwise have received from that bank outside the scheme. The Department for Education are encouraging childcare providers looking to expand should take up the offer, particularly as the legal duty to provide the 20 per cent most disadvantaged two-year-olds will come into force in 2013.
The Minister for Families and Children, Sarah Teather said “The coalition government has an ambitious but vital plan to increase the number of free early years places. The early education and childcare sector is dominated by small businesses and they can now benefit from access to cheaper finance through the National Loan Guarantee Scheme.”
“This is a tremendous opportunity for providers that want to invest in expanding and improving the quality of their provision. With increased demand created by demographic changes and by the new two-year-old entitlement coming into effect in September 2013, now is the time for the childcare sector to think about how they can start to expand to take advantage of the extra business.” You can find more information here.
Changes to Ofsted inspection arrangements for Sure Start Children’s Centres to be introduced from January 2013
Throughout 2012, Ofsted will develop flexible arrangements for the inspection of children’s centres that allows for inspections of groups of centres from 2013. The revised Sure Start Children’s Centres statutory guidance on which the DfE is currently consulting advises that Ofsted are considering options for children’s centre inspection arrangements which fit better with how local authorities are organising their children’s centre provision.
A formal consultation on the new arrangements for inspection will be launched by Ofsted in the spring. Local authorities have recently been advised of the proposed changes so that Ofsted can work with them to test a revised inspection framework.