To ask how people manage with state nursery ?

(183 Posts)
JingleUpTheHighway Wed 23-Jan-13 14:23:48

DD1 is due to start nursery in September with her free 15hrs grant. SIL currently watches her whilst DH and I work .

The nearest nursery to us only spreads the hours over 5 mornings or 5 afternoons . Each session is 3.5 hours long .

DH and I both work - how on earth to people manage drop off and pick up within 3.5 hrs ??

The nursery offers an "after school club" which also caters for nursery age children - but this would cost me £200 per month extra AFTER the grant has been take in to consideration .

SIL can't take and collect her as its too far from her and there are no nurseries within walking distance from her home (she doesn't drive).

Neither DH or I can change our work patterns again.

We simply can't afford that kind of commitment for a year until she starts school . How do people manage ?

We don't qualify for help towards childcare costs .

It looks like my dd won't be able to attend nursery . sad

I used a CM who used to collect DS from pre-school for than an option? What plans would you have if she doesn't go to nursery at all?

Floggingmolly Wed 23-Jan-13 14:29:53

So what do you think the nursery could do to accommodate you?

Sorry, just saw your SIL has her.

To be fair, £200 for childcare isn't much, only £100 each if you and your DH split it. Would those hours be enough ?

WilsonFrickett Wed 23-Jan-13 14:32:31

Yep, that's why we used a private nursery.
Another mother once said to me 'school nursery isn't for your benefit, it's for your child's.' Made me hmm at the time but she was right - it's not childcare. I suggest you either find a CM or a private nursery where you can put the hours together - all of ours can use the 15 hours grant so you can have 1.5 days, for example which might fit better with your SIL.

Yes!! If you can use an accredited CM as well so that any days your DD doesn't go to the CM, you would get the 1.5 hr off your bill.

Twinklestarstwinklestars Wed 23-Jan-13 14:34:04

Our school nursery is brilliant they can go 8-5 for £10 a day if you need them to and you can spread your hours as you want, ds goes 9-3.20 2 days a week and 9-12 one day, they let you swap and change too as long as you tell them the day before.

I'm a childminder and I pick up from preschool but if I drop off and pick up charge for the hours in between which is fairly common.

ReallyTired Wed 23-Jan-13 14:34:23

State nurseries are pretty inpractical if both parents work. Most working parents use a day nursery as very few school nurseries have wrap around care.

"The nursery offers an "after school club" which also caters for nursery age children - but this would cost me £200 per month extra AFTER the grant has been take in to consideration . "

Surely you can afford that if you aren't entitled to childcare tax credits. If that amount is for wrap around care then that is pretty amazing. Most people pay £4 to £5 per hour for childcare. Have you checked to see if either you or your husband employers do childcare vouchers and salary sacifice.

I think you need to look at your financial priorities. A day nursery is far more expensive than what you have been quoted for wrap around care. Children who don't attend nursery are at a real disadvantage.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 23-Jan-13 14:37:25

£200 a month is really not a lot to pay for full-time childcare - do you not get the childcare element of tax credits?

If you use a private nursery then you could lump the hours together to make a whole day twice a week, and then could your SIL have her the rest of the week?

Shakirasma Wed 23-Jan-13 14:37:29

YABU State nursery schools are not childcare facilities, they are educational establishments.

MrsBungleBear Wed 23-Jan-13 14:38:40

I couldn't make it work which is why my dd goes to a private nursery. The 15 hours free, though, has really helped with the bills. Has brought my nursery bills down significantly.

MsVestibule Wed 23-Jan-13 14:39:28

Have I got this right - your DD will go to nursery 5 mornings a week, then they will look after her for the rest of the day for just £10 per day? It just doesn't round right - assuming they're looking after her for at least 5 hours, they HAVE to be charging more than £2 per hour.

And if that is correct, I really, really cannot believe you're complaining about paying only £50 pw on childcare shock. How much do you pay your SIL? Does she also look after your other child/children?

Themobstersknife Wed 23-Jan-13 14:42:22

Count yourself lucky you have SIL. Otherwise you would have been paying in the region of £950 per month (depending where you live) for private full time nursery or a similar amount to a childminder, as soon as you went back to work. £200 is very reasonable. I pay more than that for my pre schooler's wrap around care, plus about £950 for my baby's nursery.
Your OP title reads as if 'state' nursery is so much worse than private. I think you need your eyes opening.
YABU to write such an entitled OP.

JingleUpTheHighway Wed 23-Jan-13 14:42:22

I have also looked in to a private nursery for more practical reasons , but again - they will only deduct the governments contribution from the day (£9.50 I think) and then I have to pay the rest as well as lunches etch which comes to approx £350 per month .

DH and I earn an average wage - approx 30k between us , so we don't qualify for any help but after all bills and mortgage this is a big chunk for us .

JingleUpTheHighway Wed 23-Jan-13 14:44:46

Hang on a minute - I hardly think my post sounds entitled hmm .

I do count myself lucky and I'm not complaining about the cost ?! I'm asking how people manage .... I'm looking for alternatives / advice !

Bingdweller Wed 23-Jan-13 14:45:00

DD goes 12-3.15pm. I only work 2 days per week but will increase when she starts school.

I drop my DS at school, then DD to Inlaws and head to work. FIL takes DD to nursery for 12pm and she goes into wraparound with DS after nursery until I can pick them both up at 5.30pm. £3.60 per hour for each child but its only 2 days per week in term time, thankfully family look after kids in the hols.

I'd be lost without the fantastic wraparound service in our school.

You and your DH are not unusual......£350 per month for full childcare is acually pretty good, I paid more than that ten years ago. DH and I earn an average wage, didn't qualify for any help and yes we had bills and a mortgage too, same as millions and millions of others.

Trouble is, you are used to your SIL doing it.......but you do need to get into the real world at some stage. Your DD really should go to nursery for her own good, you need to sort something out to ensure that she does smile

elliejjtiny Wed 23-Jan-13 14:45:46

I'm a non-driving SAHM with no nurseries within walking distance. DS1 did 2 full days at a nursery near DH's work and we paid the difference. DS2 did 2 mornings at a preschool near DS1's school. I took DS1 to school on the bus, walked to pre-school, took DS3 to toddler group, picked up DS2, had lunch in a cafe/picnic in the park and then wandered round the shops/park until it was time to pick up DS1.

Can your SIL get a bus to a nursery that is more flexible with hours 2/3 times a week? Does she go to a toddler group? the only thing they learn at nursery that can't be done at home is things like sitting down on the carpet/mat while an adult is talking and not wandering off, taking turns and sharing. She can learn that in a structured toddler group like PEEP or music/dancing classes.

JingleUpTheHighway Wed 23-Jan-13 14:46:23

It's not £200 per month for FULL TIME childcare - that's for 2 days per week .

What is the £350 then?? Is that full aren't being overly clear.

mrlazysfishwife Wed 23-Jan-13 14:48:20

So is your SIL looking after your DD for free? You've been very lucky until now if that's the case. £200 is really very very little to pay for full time childcare. Have you looked into childcare vouchers? DH and I get the full amount each (£243 each iirc). If you and your DH could get £100 each a month in vouchers then that would be at least a £40 saving.

I use a private nursery, as I have no choice, but the vouchers make a big difference.

The other thing you need to take into account is that the 15 free hours is only for 38 weeks. If you need the nursery year-round (if it's open in the holiday times) then it works out as 11 hours a week.

JingleUpTheHighway Wed 23-Jan-13 14:49:20

themobster I think you have completely missed the point !!

It's not full time childcare !! The private nursery costs are for 2 full days per week!

Themobstersknife Wed 23-Jan-13 14:49:57

When you have children, you look into the associated costs, no?
The reality is, either people pay for childcare, or are lucky enough to have friends or family they can lean on, or they are lucky enough to have an employer who will agree to flexible working patterns. I have no friends or family that can help. I have agreed flexible working, but I will still be paying out over £1,200 per month for childcare. I looked into this before having children. I didn't assume the state would automatically pick up the bill for my childcare when my children hit 3.

Hobbitation Wed 23-Jan-13 14:50:47

We paid for childminder and preschool (one extra session plus lunch time supervision) for DD1 and it was an expensive time. I was a lawyer then so yes we could afford it, but YANBU with average incomes it does make if very difficult, and the time issue as well. I think the amount from the Govt was about £400 a term so we just looked on it as a saving at the time. With DD2 I now work for myself from home, and DH gets vouchers with his job that cover the extra session and lunchtimes, so we are very lucky there.

I think most people where two parents work have to have family helping out somewhere to make it worthwhile. PIL had the girls one day a week which saved us a lot of money.

MsVestibule Wed 23-Jan-13 14:52:17

Jingle I don't think that it says only 2 days pw anywhere in your OP, or subsequent posts - we're not mind readers!!!

Hobbitation Wed 23-Jan-13 14:52:34

We used to pay nearly £800 a month for childcare at one point, and that was only for three days a week.

Themobstersknife Wed 23-Jan-13 14:52:36

OP I think you have been completely unclear !! What is the £200 per month quoted in your OP. I get the £350 is for two full days at private nursery.

I work 3 days a week and on those days DH drops off and then a childminder picks her up.

You just need to work out what you want and then work out how to make it happen.

I wanted my DD to go to school nursery and found someone that would pick up from there. Most of the kids that go there have parents at home. I would suggest that most parents who work use private nurseries.

Just the way it works out.

mrlazysfishwife Wed 23-Jan-13 14:53:56

I'm confused as it seems your OP wasn't clear. What hours would you get at the state nursery if you had your 15h then paid the top up £200? It implied it would be full time daily but now you're saying it's just two days a week?

Explain please!

Hobbitation Wed 23-Jan-13 14:54:19

Jingle Do the nursery do all day? DD2 does three full days now (Mon - Wed 9 - 3.30pm) so it's one extra session a week plus lunchtimes. Then you still need someone to pick her up after of course, and it depends what time your work starts also.

JingleUpTheHighway Wed 23-Jan-13 14:54:24

I really can't believe that some ignorant people have got that I'm entitled , need my eyes opening and need to be in the real world ... From a post asking how people manage ?! confused


mrlazysfishwife Wed 23-Jan-13 14:55:31

SO WHAT CHILDCARE IS IT FOR THEN???? Sorry I felt the need to shout back as you are being soooooooooooooo unclear!

fuckadoodlepoopoo Wed 23-Jan-13 14:56:12

I think you've been really lucky to get free childcare, very lucky indeed, so i think you just need to suck up the cost of it for the next year.

If your sil hadn't been providing free childcare all this time them you would have been paying LOADS and this 200 or 350 or whatever it is would seem cheap. Its only because you've had it free that it now seems a lot of money.

My sister is the same. Had free childcare for 12 years! And now she has to pay for after school club at 5 quid a day she is outraged. Never mind me who hasn't had a days free childcare . . . ever, because everyone is too busy looking after my sisters kids angry

maddening Wed 23-Jan-13 14:57:13

The nursery ds was in when I was at work put the free hours into 1.5 days (full days 8am-6pm but obviously you don't have to leave dc there till 6. If you wanted to do 2 full days then it would be £25 for the afternoon session. So maybe look at private nurseries that accept the free 15 hours but might apportion them differently.

Themobstersknife Wed 23-Jan-13 14:57:14

Because your post reads as if the fact that you have to pay for childcare is some sort of revelation. When it is infact the reality for many 'ignorant' people such as myself. There are a number of people confused by your OP, but apparently we are all thick? confused

JingleUpTheHighway Wed 23-Jan-13 14:58:05

Maybe I haven't made myself clear sorry ...

State nursery - 5 mornings per week only . They offer the after school club but due to the costs , I couldn't afford to send her every day so I was looking at 2 days and not using the full hours - so for 2 days I would have to pay £200 top up .

Private nursery - 2 full days per week - take off the 3.5hrs education leaves top up costs of approx £350 per month .

fuckadoodlepoopoo Wed 23-Jan-13 14:58:07

Oh and the way we manage is that i can't go out to work at all. Instead i work from home occasionally but the work is hard to come by.

JingleUpTheHighway Wed 23-Jan-13 14:59:42

themobster really ??? I mean really ???? hmm

Paying childcare costs is not a revelation .

Hence why I'm looking now ... To work out the best way - the exact reason I asked for what people do to manage !

mrlazysfishwife Wed 23-Jan-13 15:01:10

Thanks smile. Have you looked at childcare vouchers? Would that help at all?

Unfortunately childcare costs. I understand that it's a shock if this is the first time you've had to think about it, but it does.

So with 2 full days at nursery costing you £350/month what other expenses do you have?? Do you pay your SIL or would the £350 cover your total childcare?

No you are not making yourself clear............

cory Wed 23-Jan-13 15:02:20

I don't think anyone does manage except by accepting that for a few years before they start school money is going to be very tight. I was working at a loss during that period of my life, though still found it worth doing for the sake of my future career.

We were paying £50 for 2 days/week for two dc and that is over 10 years ago when salaries were also lower.

If I were you I'd sit down and work out a number of different options:

childminder fulltime

childminder to pick up before and after state nursery

state nursery+ after school club

then go with what is cheapest - or if you can't afford that, just leave her with SIL - nursery is not compulsory

Hobbitation Wed 23-Jan-13 15:02:55

State nursery is slightly erroneous. There are very few local authority run nurseries. The one DD2 attends is a private pre-school. There are also private day nurseries. The state provision of the free 15 hours applies wherever you are, even to CMs I believe.

LIZS Wed 23-Jan-13 15:03:42

She doesn't have to go to nursery. Does sIl currently have her 5 days a week ?

only to accredited child minders though, not all of them smile

JingleUpTheHighway Wed 23-Jan-13 15:04:49

"I didn't assume the state would automatically pick up the bill for my childcare when my child hit 3" ...

Oh FFS you are just spoiling for a bin fight aren't you ?? Grow up!

I admit my post wasn't exactly clear but for people to jump in saying ridiculous unnecessary accusations of me being "entitled " what a waste of fucking time !

Thank you to those that gave constructive advice and told me how they manage . That is what I asked for .

JingleUpTheHighway Wed 23-Jan-13 15:05:23

*bun fight obviously

Themobstersknife Wed 23-Jan-13 15:06:03

I think if you read your OP back when you are in a calmer mood, then you might agree. but maybe not. I will duck out, as you and I are clearly of very different mindsets.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Wed 23-Jan-13 15:07:37

What a lovely sil you have, doing that for free! She could earn hundreds a month if she did that registered.

JingleUpTheHighway Wed 23-Jan-13 15:08:06

Thank you cory and hobbitatipn - I will look in to those options.

JingleUpTheHighway Wed 23-Jan-13 15:09:10

Yes mobster I think we most definitely are !!

Flisspaps Wed 23-Jan-13 15:10:10

ReallyTired How are children who don't attend nursery at a disadvantage?

mrlazysfishwife Wed 23-Jan-13 15:13:14

OP I think you need to accept that you've been very lucky, having free childcare for 3yrs, and that if you want your DD to attend nursery, it's going to cost you.

As others have said, it's not compulsory, but if you think it's going to be beneficial for her, then try and think of it more positively in that the state are contributing to her having that experience.

I'd love my DS's to go to one of the state nursery's around here as they are nicer than the private one that they do go to, but it just doesn't work for us as working parents out of the house from 7.45-6 each day.

Childcare costs sucks, but for the rest of us who've had no choice but to pay them (unless we give up our jobs / careers which is another thread entirely grin) then the 15hrs free are only a good thing!

maddening Wed 23-Jan-13 15:17:44

Def ring round the private nurseries - as I said mine took 15 hours off over 1.5 days so if my ds had gone there for 2 full days it would have been £25 per week.

BooCanary Wed 23-Jan-13 15:18:01

So we're not allowed to moan about childcare costs, and ask if people have solutions or advice are we? In case we sound entitled. FFS, get a grip people.

FWIW, I have been paying hundreds of pounds per month since my DCs were babies. The majority of my salary has gone down the drain, and i have a million balls in the air at any one time. I accept that I can only afford to have 2 DCs, and that I have to pay thousands every year in childcare. It's my own choice, but it doesn't mean I'm banned from moaning about it.

The reality is the 15hrs school nursery is pretty pointless if you work full time, or even part time tbh. Its a huge logistical nightmare, which a large number of working parents can't manage to make work.

In answer to your question OP, I

OddBoots Wed 23-Jan-13 15:18:27

Are there any committee/charity run pre-schools in your area? I've found that school nurseries seem to have fixed am or pm x5 but many pre-schools allow you to use the hours more flexibly spread over fewer days.

BooCanary Wed 23-Jan-13 15:20:30

Ooops posted to soon blush

OP, I managed to get a flexible working agreement with my employer, which means I go in at the crack of dawn so I can take my DC to school at lunchtime. I would rather not bother, but feel guilted into it by the fact that the nursery is linked to the school he starts in next year so I want him to get used to it. The whole thing is a big frigging headache tbh.

sleepyhead Wed 23-Jan-13 15:23:57

I work 3 days per week and sent ds to private nursery for those days.

When he reached 3 we got the funded sessions (3 - they would only take off one funded session per day) taken from our nursery bill which was great. I might have found a state nursery to take him for sessions on the two days that I didn't work (unlikely but I don't know if impossible) but I chose not to.

I did consider a childminder so that we could use a state nursery, but as they can't fill the time when your child is at nursery with another child, they understandably wouldn't reduce the fee so I wouldn't have saved anything.

So basically, state nursery wasn't an option for me as a working parent. The wraparound option for 2 days sounds your best bet. £200 per month is quite cheap, even for 2 days. I take it you work full time? I'd just go with 2 days at nursery then and the rest of your time with SIL.

fromparistoberlin Wed 23-Jan-13 15:25:12

most people that use state nursery are SAHPs, for this very reason

my working friends send them to full time Nursery and got 15 hours free

and did you not, erm, plan for this before you had kids?

sorry but its a fairly basic thing, childcare !!!!

choceyes Wed 23-Jan-13 15:33:11

When he reached 3 we got the funded sessions (3 - they would only take off one funded session per day) taken from our nursery bill which was great. I might have found a state nursery to take him for sessions on the two days that I didn't work (unlikely but I don't know if impossible) but I chose not to.

That is strange. My DS goes to private nursery 3 days a week, 8 hour days, so 24 hours in total. They just take the 15hrs off the total hours and bill me for 9 hours a week. I'm sure your nursery CAN take the whole 15hrs if they want to and is legal allowed, but they CHOOSE not to!

maddening Wed 23-Jan-13 15:36:02

From - what's basic ? Trying to find something that fits with your work commitments, price range and the way you want your child cared for and the various options available is actually tricky.

And no amount of planning can ensure everything is in place by the time you have a baby - someone might pull out of childcare, governments change rules etc.

I had my friend and my sister offer childcare and both independently pull out 2 weeks before I started work - then I had a frantic search and massively increased costs.

If it has been easy for you fab but don't get sneery when others are finding it trickier for whatever reason - childcare is expensive and not everyone has working hours that fit in with the norm - some people have shifts that vary week to week. Others start work before most childcare opens greatly reducing choice and inflating cost.

Chumpster Wed 23-Jan-13 15:37:48

I agree with you that the hours on offer to you aren't a really that helpful to working parents, at least in terms of childcare. Our local preschool also only offers 3.5 hours in the morning or afternoon. But I think their main priority is early education, rather than offering childcare. I think the government rhetoric that those 15 hours really supports parents to return to work only works in terms of slightly reducing childcare costs, but not in terms of offering childcare. I think your options are:
Using a childminder before and/or after nursery
Using your 15 hours at a private nursery for longer periods over 2 days per week

But I understand that these may be too costly for you. Could you get a taxi for your SIL to take/pick up your daughter? It might seem a bit extreme, but if you're really keen for her to go to nursery it might be an option as long as SIL doesn't live too far away.

You've been really lucky to receive free childcare and £200 a month is quite reasonable but I expect you're beginning to understand that now given all the responses! Well done your SIL, she is very kind.

Chumpster Wed 23-Jan-13 15:39:24

whoops - forgot to say childcare vouchers!! Try and get these sorted for both of you! Could reduce your childcare costs by nearly £200 a month if you both received them.

Indith Wed 23-Jan-13 15:40:00

Yeah most people who work use private nurseries! Dd did 2 terms of state nursery and I hated it, I 'd get home, sit down and feed the baby and go out again so she now goes private where she can do 3 sessions of 5 hours each!

Sorry if you covered this, but is there not a nursery near to your SIL that she could attend?
When I was going to be going back to work and my mum having DS, the long term plan was for him to attend the nursery near her, rather than near our house. As it was, I didnt go back!

paneer Wed 23-Jan-13 15:42:50

OP - When your DD starts school, is your SIL still going to collect? What's your plan for then?

bamboostalks Wed 23-Jan-13 15:43:46

I thought that nurseries had to offer your hours over 2/3 full days if you wished? I thought there was some government directive to that effect.

rainrainandmorerain Wed 23-Jan-13 15:49:03

I know it has been said, but these 15 hours.... they are funded because they are pre-school education.

they are not primarily designed as childcare. They have been allocated and spread out over time with a view to the child's development rather than the parent's convenience.

There is a cross over, obviously! but I hear so many parents saying 'free childcare' - and it isn't.

One big reason this pre-school was introduced was because children were in some cases arriving at school at 5 totally unprepared - not knowing what a book was, having no idea about how to sit and listen, not prepared to deal in any way with a structured activity - it puts teachers and schools under an impossible strain. Those 15 hours a week are for some children the only time they are in a structured environment where the emphasis is on learning through play, and socialising in a way consistent with an introduction to education.

Provision varies from place to place, but this is pre-school education. Not childcare.

Chumpster Wed 23-Jan-13 15:55:22

The free places can be provided for 3 hours per day for 5 days per week, or 5 hours per day
for 3 days per week. From September 2012, childcare providers CAN offer the full 15 hours
over 2 days per week, but not all childcare providers will do so. (from Daycare trust website - it's very helpful!)
15 hours per week is if you use the childcare for 38 weeks per year. You can spread the hours over more weeks, but you'll have less hours per week.
If I was you I'd try and find a nursery which offered 15 hours over 2 days and then use SIL for the other days if she's still happy to look after her.

Chunderella Wed 23-Jan-13 15:58:22

£350 a month is actually not particularly cheap for 2 days a week childcare outside the south east, I can't imagine it would seem so even for a person who'd previously been paying full time costs. The two childminders I've been quoted recently (in the north) were £30 a day and £3.50 an hour, so £35 a day probably. That would come to considerably less, for two days a week. Some childcare here is more expensive, I have a friend who pays £50 a day, but that was her choice and it can be got much cheaper.

ReallyTired Wed 23-Jan-13 15:59:06

"ReallyTired How are children who don't attend nursery at a disadvantage? "

I agree with everything rainrainandmorerain has said.

Better social skills, they do activites that develop fine motor skills, gross motor skills, speech, knowledge of the world, and learn the behaviour expected of them in a school enviroment. If attending nursery did not benefit children then the governant would not fund it.

A good day nursery is as good as a good school nursery. The advantage of school nursery is that children make friendships with children that they will go to school with. However since children in school nursery don't always get into reception then this is less of an issue.

I don't think I understood your post. What childcare are you using at the moment. Private day nurseries for working parents also give you those 15 hours. It is simply deducted from your fees. Everyone I know does that. Only ones I know that uses the type of preschools you described are SAHMs. (Or grandparent childcare).

Schooldidi Wed 23-Jan-13 16:01:05

We will use a childminder to drop off and pick up dd2 when she turns 3. It will not reduce my childcare bill at all because the cm isn't accredited and she can't take another child for just those hours because people don't want just a couple of hours with a childminder. We will send dd2 to pre-school to help her socialise, but I won't be banking on it reducing my childcare bill.

When dd1 was little my dad looked after her and he walked to and from preschool with her. He was happy to do that and I was very lucky that he could as I could absolutely not have afforded to pay for extra sessions/wrap around care because I was a student at the time.

Can your sil get her to a pre-school on the bus? I know that's not really an option in some areas but it might be doable. You would probably need to offer to pay her bus fares though.

LIZS Wed 23-Jan-13 16:05:27

Different areas implement the 15-hours EY funding differently. So while one will allow it over 2 days another might insist on 5 am/pm sessions. OP would your sil be able to take her by public transport and just wait or find something for herself to do there before bringing her back, once or twice a week, or you use a local CM for those days. How do you plan to manage when she starts school ?

KellyElly Wed 23-Jan-13 16:06:54

I use a childminder and unfortunately don't get any reduction in the price. I'm a working lone parent but do get tax credits which helps towards paying the CM. I am always poor though. Its a bit of a nightmare and for those of us who work 9-5 school won't be much better either.

sleepyhead Wed 23-Jan-13 16:11:04

No choceyes, it wasn't the nursery's decision it was the council. It's different all over the country.

The council in my area state that there is sufficient provision in state nurseries to meet demand and that they are therefore not obliged to fund any private nursery places. However, a number of private nurseries have been given "Partnership" status and have a number of funded places. From year to year there is no guarantee that the number of funded places per nursery will equal all the children in the ante-preschool or pre-school age group. However, when ds went we did get 2 funded years, but the council would only pay a maximum of one session per day so if you were part time then you got part of the 15 hours.

It's important to note that the 15 hours funding is for pre-school eduction and not a subsidy for working parents. It makes me froth when the government trot it out as something they are doing to help working parents with childcare costs. This was not the intention when it was first rolled out and councils are under no obligation to ensure that parents get all 15 hours funding taken off their childcare bill.

The way we manage is I dont work at the moment, I have to wait until September until DS goes to reception for me to go back to work. I agree though nursery are not working parent friendly, they use to be all day but that stopped along the way somewhere.

sleepyhead that's shocking. I didn't know councils can decide not to partner with private nurseries. It makes me angry too how the government is all talk about helping working parents. And then you hear this. I'm lucky to live in a county where they have no problem with us just deducting 15 hours from the bill.

TigerFeet Wed 23-Jan-13 16:14:10

My 3yo dd2 goes to a day nursery, the education grant taken off the bill. It still costs me over £300/month for three days a week.

The alternative would be for her to go to preschool and she would go to a CM afterwards, the same CM that dd1 goes to after school. TBH it doesn't come up much cheaper at £3.25/hr.

We have no family nearby so have to pay for all childcare.

How do we manage? Fortunately for us, since dd1 was small dh has had a couple of promotions so not so much of an issue now. In the early days we scrimped, no holidays, no extravagent spending, we lived (still do live but about to move) in a small house in a crap area as the mortgage was cheap. We spaced our children out, dd1 was at school before we started TTC.

It's not easy, and if your SIL can't get to a nursery I don't think you have any option but to pay tbh.

rainrainandmorerain Wed 23-Jan-13 16:17:53

Just to clarify - the pre-school education (the 15 hours a week) is offered at a particular level (15 hours a week, spread over several days) and at a particular age (3+) because that is how children benefit from it.

There is a curriculum they are supposed to follow that takes them up to the next stage (5+). Here in Wales is is called the Foundation Phase (from age 3-7). It is all learning through play, not Gradgrindian! But it IS educational.

The advantages of a child going depend very much on what their family and any other childcare they have provide for them. A child whose family read to them, encourage an interest in books and writing, and numbers, will do very well for their child - but it may be that child could benefit from an introduction to an environment where there are other children, structured tasks and where they don't get as much one to one attention.It gives them a gentle introduction to much they will have to cope with at school.

A very confident well socialised child with good pre-literacy and numeracy skills might just benefit from starting school with a few familiar faces. Or their parents may decide that this isn't important, and the pre-school phase doesn't provide anything the child doesn't already get.

The point is - this is a very different issue to sending babies and under 3s into childcare with long hours, where any possible developmental benefits are not the main reason for those children attending (which is that they have to be looked after by someone when their parents work).

If you look ahead a few years - it is very inconvenient for most working parents that schools finish around 3pm every day. From a childcare pov, it would be better if schools ran from 8am to 6 or 7pm, thus getting round the need for wraparound care. But schools are not childcare. Some provide breakfast and after school clubs as childcare - but this is in addition to the school day.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 23-Jan-13 16:18:21

OP you could use a childminder for those days - many do pick up and drop off at local preschools and nurseries and it will come in much cheaper.

Also do look at using childcare vouchers through work.

I think the reason you've had such a flaming, is that you have obviously been blithely using your SIL as childcare, with no real appreciation of what it has saved you - otherwise you would have been saving up in the knowledge that this year was going to cost you some.

If you looked into childcare vouchers and used a CM for 2 days a week, then the vast majority of your childcare would probably be covered by your child benefit. It is possible to split your 15 hours across 2 providers - so you could use the remainder of your 15 hours with the childminder and reduce your bill even further.

ReallyTired Wed 23-Jan-13 16:22:09

"OP you could use a childminder for those days - many do pick up and drop off at local preschools and nurseries and it will come in much cheaper. "

Seriously you think a childminder would be cheaper than £200 per month for two days.

rainrainandmorerain don't the private nursery provide the same education. I know they all follow the EYFS. All the nurseries I looked at have different classes. They have a group especially for preschoolers.

I honestly can't see the difference of getting your preschool at a 'preschool' vs a day nursery which also has a preschool group.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 23-Jan-13 16:24:06

ReallyTired - it will be cheaper than the private nursery.

And maybe it's where I live having lots of dual income households. Re the meeting kids who will go to the same primary aspect. The kids at my DD's nursery are very local. Many walked to the nursery, including us. I assume they'll be going to our local primary school. Two of the babies from my NCT group also attend the same nursery. (Another two are in the private nursery even closer to our catchment primary).

Groovee Wed 23-Jan-13 16:26:22

Ds was in nursery 12.30 to 3pm at first and a childminder had him 8.30-4.30pm and dd from 8.30am to 8.50pm then after school. The following year she had him 8.30-4.30pm again but he went to nursery 9-11.30am. It used most of my wages but once he was at school. It was the only way we could manage cos MIL preferred to work and cover someone elses shift that to allow me to work.

BooCanary Wed 23-Jan-13 16:28:35

We all surely know that education is not childcare. You only need to look at any snow/school thread at the moment to get the message.
HOWEVER, a lot of these funded programmes are badged by the Government as helping working families. And lets face it, the economy needs all the help it can get at the moment.

School hours of 9 - 3 are a PITA for a WOH family, but it is manageable - it has to be, as you have to sort it for the next 12+ years. But 12.45 - 3pm...really??? HTAF is anyone meant to sort this out without it being a huge amount of hassle and expense.

Woh families can't be fed the line that its to help people get back to work, whilst also being told its not childcare says bitter old Boo who is on snow day number 3 .

ReallyTired Wed 23-Jan-13 16:29:46

" honestly can't see the difference of getting your preschool at a 'preschool' vs a day nursery which also has a preschool group."

There is no difference in education. Prehaps the only issue is making sure that your child mixes with children that he/she is going to go to school with. Children at day nursery are often heart broken when one of their friends goes to a different school miles away.

The difference between a day nursery and pre school is cost. Day nurseries usually provide meals have longer hours.

In my experience school nursery is often better placed for catering for the really advanced child. A lot of schools have a foundation stage rather than seperate nursery and reception classes. A bright nursery child may well be able to do reception work if they want to.

DontmindifIdo Wed 23-Jan-13 16:29:50

OP - what are you planning on doing for school wrap around care? Have you checked if the school you were thinking of sending your DC to has a nursery attached? that way at least if you have to pay for the childcare, it will be consistant for your DC when they start school. If your SIL doesn't live close enough to you to do the school run near your DCs school then you are going to have to start paying.

FWIW, in my experience most working parents don't have family help. You have been very lucky that your SIL has done this for free, but if she doesn't live close enough to do ths school run this was only ever going to be a tempory solution, it's just it's going to have to end a school year earlier than otherwise.

BooCanary Wed 23-Jan-13 16:33:58

My DC attends preschool and nursery and my experience is that the school preschool is more challenging, 'grown up' and advanced than the private nursery.

rainrainandmorerain Wed 23-Jan-13 16:34:00

Toddlingterror - if it is a good private nursery that genuinely does the curriculum, then very little difference, esp if it is very local and as such, an informal 'feeder' nursery for a particular school. There can be quite a big difference in feel between pre-schools that are attached to schools, and nurseries that take from x months old up to pre-school. One feels more nurseryish, the other more schoolish! obvs.

I suppose, coming at it from another angle, the point is more that a private nursery would not let me take a toddler there for 3 hours a day only (if I had DP/grandparent/cm care already set up to suit). So places that only offer the 3 hours a day don't suit one parent, but suit another a lot better, IYSWIM.

DontmindifIdo Wed 23-Jan-13 16:35:09

also worth checking, some nurseries have a pre-school at them, DS's is separate from the main nursery but I drop him at 7:45 in the nursery section then at 8:30 he's taken up stairs to the preschool, they do lunch and any naps/quiet time in the nursery part. Some DCs just go for the preschool, not the wrap around care. For us it was the only way as I have to work too. If I'm honest it wouldn't be my first choice of preschool (and am trying to see for next year if we can move him while I'm on maternity leave so can do the pre0-school run)

fromparistoberlin Wed 23-Jan-13 16:37:10


they do not. My friend has 1 x DS in school curnery and 1 x DS in childcare Nursery and there can be a difference

paid nursery is childcare, and they do the bare minimum in some places

whereas school nursery has a more structured regime


fromparistoberlin Wed 23-Jan-13 16:37:35


rainrainandmorerain Wed 23-Jan-13 16:38:20

Boo - you may be very aware that pre-school education is not childcare! I am SURROUNDED by parents where I live who do not know or think there is a distinction.

The govt should NOT be doing anything to fuel this confusion by bullshitting about 'helping parents back to work'. As someone else pointed out - it is NOT why the pre-school learning hours were set up, and it gives parents a very false idea of what to expect.

BooCanary Wed 23-Jan-13 16:41:37

Btw the EYFS guide actually lumps education and childcare together:

'These pages provide statutory guidance that local authorities in England must have regard to when fulfilling their duties to secure free early education for three- and four-year-olds and sufficient childcare for working parents.'

Whyriskit Wed 23-Jan-13 16:42:53

DS2 goes to a private nursery when I work. The nursery also drops off and picks up from the school nursery.
We're in scotland so it might be different, but what it should mean for us is that DS2 gets his 5 mornings of pre-school education per week and also his 2 full childcare days. From seeing DS1's progress in a pre- school education setting, I'n keen for DS2 to have the experience too.
And, regarding using private nursery, if I want to work, that's what I have to do.

BooCanary Wed 23-Jan-13 16:44:50

But if the government are funding it (via LAs) and they are saying it is childcare/helping parents back to work, then maybe it is childcare <devils advocate> .

Iwillorderthefood Wed 23-Jan-13 16:46:51

Do any local childcare providers do a pick up service from the state nursery? This is how most working parents manage the logistics of the state nursery DD2 attends. They do drop offs from their breakfast club too. You need wraparound care. Of course you will also need to consider that unless all the parts of your childcare set up are close together, then this may be very tiring for DC.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Wed 23-Jan-13 16:47:36

Chunderella. Its more expensive than that where i am. Looks like the op would be paying 43 a day which isn't that unusual.

Thanks for the explanation. Our catchment primary actually doesn't have a preschool. The local preschool is in the village hall! DD nursery has a separate area for the preschoolers. They don't even share the same door. I haven't really asked but the children move up to the preschool in terms. Her keyworker just mentioned casually to me that a lot of the toddlers in her group has just moved up to preschool for the winter term. (Their pegs where all re-arranged). I wonder if this is normal in other peoples experience of private day nurseries.

Iwillorderthefood Wed 23-Jan-13 16:48:13

We aren't in Scotland, so this set up does exist in England. Do a bit more research, maybe contact the nursery itself and see how their set up works for working parents?

Chunderella Wed 23-Jan-13 16:50:27

Is there a list anywhere of counties that allow the 15 free hours to be used in private childcare and those that don't? Couldn't find anything. Failing that, can anyone tell me which category the City of Manchester falls into? Although no doubt that'll have been cut too by the time DD hits 3.

Chunderella you should be able to get it from your council. Mine has a list on their website.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Wed 23-Jan-13 16:55:52

It was the only way we could manage cos MIL preferred to work and cover someone elses shift that to allow me to work.

You know she's not obliged to give up her job and provide free childcare so you can work don't you?

Can you get help to pay via WTC ?

Chunderella Wed 23-Jan-13 16:57:21

Thanks OLTT. Sadly Manchester's is a bag of shit, but I'll try ringing.

dixiechick1975 Wed 23-Jan-13 16:58:54

Dd used to go to a private nursery 3 days as I only worked 3 days. Nursery deducted 15 hours from the bill.

Worked better for me than a few hours each day. She was in the preschool dept and they followed eyfs. Think I paid £400 ish a month on top of govt funding. Remember funding is only 38 weeks.

We both chose to get child care vouchers through work to pay the bill so saved the tax and ni.

The private school dd now goes to offers govt funded pre school sessions and the child can use the school before and after club. So 8 - 6 care if needed. This is a more school like. It would have worked out cheaper than the private nursery but I didn't realise this (hasn't planned on sending dd there!)

malinois Wed 23-Jan-13 16:59:05

Wait, there are state nurseries? Where's this then? I thought you had no option but to pay! <goes to investigate>

Malinois it's called preschools. In my area they are usually in church halls, village halls, or a building next to primary schools.

DIYapprentice Wed 23-Jan-13 17:01:39

You'll need to work something out because you will face this dilemma when your DD goes to school, although a CM will only charge for the hours that they have her so that makes it more affordable.

It's hard - DS2 is in a state nursery, but they do a couple of 5 hour days as well and that makes a difference to what I can do in the day, but still not enough for me to work without paying for childcare.

nailak Wed 23-Jan-13 17:01:49

answers to OP
-one parent stays at home

-both parents work part time/shifts (ie parent a works 7.30 to 2.30, parent b works 1.30 to 9.30 child is in nursery 12.30 to 3.30)

- one parent alters their hours so they can drop off at nursery and childminder can pick up from nursery (or vice versa so the parent can pick up and childminder can drop)

-the private nursery takes the child to the preschool

-your sister learns to drive?

-your sister looks after your dd at your house instead of hers?

WilsonFrickett Wed 23-Jan-13 17:06:48

State nurseries and private (day) nurseries all follow the same curriculum, it's simply not true to say that private nurseries 'don't do anything much'.

malinois Wed 23-Jan-13 17:11:24

OneLittle don't think they exist here. Once your child reaches 3 the government just picks up 15 hours of your weekly nursery fees, which comes as a nice relief.

coldcupoftea Wed 23-Jan-13 17:12:16

Don't forget, the extra cost for afrer school club would be term time only.

Also, if you earn 30K you will each qualify for the maximim amount of childcare vouchers each, £243 per month - it comes out of your salary before tax. So at least your childcare bill would all be tax free.

What do you plan to do when he starts school?! Send him to a school walking distance from your SIL?!

Zipitydooda Wed 23-Jan-13 17:13:32

I paid £50/day for CM from 8-6. She dropped DS at nursery at 9.15 and picked him up at 12.15.

nailak Wed 23-Jan-13 17:17:28

what about kids who dont go to nursery before 3? or with sahp?

State nurseries tend to have qualified teachers, who have more experience, high level professional training and so on and are led by head teachers and deputy heads with years of experience in EYFS where as private nurseries have policies created by managers who may or may not have professional qualifications, and run by cheaper staff who normally have NVQ 2 or 3. They do not close for training days etc, so do not have ongoing whole staff professional training, one or 2 of them go then have to teach the rest. To say private nurseries are as good educationally wise as state nurseries is to say that a good head teacher and sound experience is worthless, as are teaching degrees.

Would you want someone with an NVQ2/3 teaching your reception child instead of a qualified teacher? if not then why is it ok for them to teach you 2/3 year old?

unless of course it is just playing and it doesnt matter (in which case following the same curriculum is irrelevant as the curriculum would just say playing)

SkiBumMum Wed 23-Jan-13 17:18:50

We have a nanny. DD1 is in nursery 8.30-11.30. Nanny works 7.30-6.30 and has DD2 in morning and both girls in afternoon / holidays etc. Lunchclub at school costs £5 per hour session.

tri10 Wed 23-Jan-13 17:19:44

My dd1 went to a private nursery until she was just over 3 as i went on mat leave, she was 3 in April so didn't get her funding until the September. I paid for 3 sessions a week for the summer term, then I had her at home for 7 weeks over the summer. The summer was awful and she was really bored at home and begged to go back to nursery, she was never bothered until she was three about nursery or being at home but I think once she hit 3 she really needed the stimulation of nursery, so I would do as much as possible to find a way of her attending some kind of nursery if possible and I do think it helps to prepare for school

I think part of the problem is that your sil doesn't drive, so what I would do in your situation is find a nursery that offer you to take the funding however you like, (at mine they have morning, lunch and afternoon sessions and you can pick whatever you like) then I would arrange her to attend 2 full days 9-3 and then you or dh could ask for flexible working to drop on those days, then I would pay for sil to collect in a taxi I'm sure if you block booked the 2 days for the term they would give a discount if you could agree a fee of £10 a day including 5 minutes waiting this would come to £80 a month.

JingleUpTheHighway Wed 23-Jan-13 17:21:42

Ok thanks again for the constructive advice.

Ive looked at some more options this afternoon for childminders etc and I think the best option to go for is the £200 wrap around care.

I rang the private nursery to arrange a viewing and the lady said "oh you have two options :"

DD can either do her early years education with us and we will have the wrap around childcare as well ....


DD can come to the private nursery in the morning and we will drop her off and pick her up from the state nursery " (it's across the road).

The cost is the same .

Now I'm even more confused on what to do ?! Do I send her to the state and let private pick her up so she can make friends to go to school with or leave her in the one all day ??

The teacher said some of the private nursery children don't go to state nursery at all and still move in to the school so she may still make friends to go to reception with .

Any advice ??

nailak I just googled and have a looked at 2 preschools in our area. They aren't run by qualified teachers. Or at least they didn't mention this. I'd assume they will if they use qualified teachers as that would be a big selling point, wouln't they?

One says subject to the Children Act (2004) and are registered with the local Ofsted Department. xxx complies fully with and concurs with the regulations of this Act. These cover such matter as staffing, premises, number of children permitted to attend each session and their welfare. Our Child Care inspector is based at OFSTED

The other says We are a small friendly team who provide a caring, safe and stimulating environment in which your child can learn through play

malinois Wed 23-Jan-13 17:23:57

nailak I don't want anyone 'teaching' my child before they are of school age. Nursery is about childcare (for the parents) and having fun (for the children). They learn through play.

SamSmalaidh Wed 23-Jan-13 17:26:06

State nursery schools will have a qualified teacher.

Private nurseries and preschools (which might be charity run or run by parent commitee) may or may not have a qualified teacher. Most will just have level 3 qualified and unqualified nursery nurses/playworkers/assistants.

SamSmalaidh Wed 23-Jan-13 17:28:25

While it's true that state nursery schools and private nurseries broadly follow the same curriculum, generally state schools will have better qualified staff, more professional development and better funding and resources. Whether that matters to individual parents (or whether they have the option of using a state nursery) is of course an individual decision.

PrettyKitty1986 Wed 23-Jan-13 17:32:25

Only read the op. From April we will have ds1 in school full time and ds2 in nursery pm. So, at 8am I drop ds1 at breakfast club, then ds2 at my mums and start work at 8.30. I take my lunch hour at work at 12.30, go and pick ds2 up from my mums, drop him at nursery, then back to work where I have 5 mins to scoff my lunch at my desk.
Df then takes his lunch hour at 3 and goes to pick them both up from school at 3.20 then drops them both to my mums and goes back to work. Df finishes at 6, picks them up from my mums and brings them home, I finish at 6.30 and we all meet back home at around 6.45.
It's going to be a major pain with lots of back and firths but we're lucky that home/my mums/both our works/school are within a 15 minute radius of each other or I have no idea what we'd do.

Mutley77 Wed 23-Jan-13 17:36:14

The answer to your question about how people manage is that they accept that their children's care is their responsibility and they pay for it! In budgeting to have a child most people assume that if they work they will pay for childcare. I always find it odd when people complain about lack of options for childcare but what they mean is lack of options for free childcare!
If you like the nursery pay the 200 or pay a childminder to collect, or even pay for a taxi so your sil can collect. I certainly dont think it is fair to deprive your child of the opportunity to attend.

SamSmalaidh Wed 23-Jan-13 17:43:38

I am lucky that DS's state nursery allows working parents to take their 15 hours over 2.5 days. So on those days he gets 8.30am-11.30am free, then I pay £5 for lunch club, then he gets 12.30pm-3.30pm free. On the third day I have to pay for the 12.30pm-3.30pm session (£12), and there is the option to pay for "tea club" until 5pm too (£5). So for 8.30am-5pm 3 days, term time only, I pay £42 a week.

rainrainandmorerain Wed 23-Jan-13 17:43:59

nailak - I agree with much of what you say - I have noticed a tendency among some parents I know who are confused about pre-school v nursery to say that they are 'sure' their child is doing Foundation Phase at their nursery (they don't know, they haven't checked and wouldn't know what to look for) - OR to say they don't need their child to start education before school.

They just don't know what it involves. Here (Wales) the Foundation Phase runs from 3-7 years. It is LEARNING THROUGH PLAY. It is all about using play as a way into education, numeracy and pre-literacy. They define it themselves as not 'completing exercises in books.' -

In our area, the cross over for some childcare providers to be able to provide Early Learning Curriculum activities has been hard. Many staff who went into childcare have had to go and get further training and to be fair, providing early years education is not necessarily why they went into the job, and their own numeracy and literacy levels are not very high ( was having a conversation with a training provider about their nvq level 3 students earlier this week, oddly enough).

It is worth pointing out that for non working parents on benefits, or part time working parents in very low incomes, the free hours for 3+ children can be a huge help. It certainly is around here.

Mutley77 Wed 23-Jan-13 17:47:26

Btw just have to comment on the private vs state as have used both and am well trained in child devpt myself. Think it is impossible to generalise on one over the other as all settings are different but for my dd private nursery was infinitely better at meeting her developmental needs in a child centred way than the state equivalent. It just wasnt comparable and her learning clearly progressed far more quickly in the private setting, not in a pushy directive way but in a very child led way. The staff ratios were far better which made a lot of difference as there is a certain amount of crowd control with 3 year olds otherwise.

WilsonFrickett Wed 23-Jan-13 17:50:31

Of course there are poor day nurseries (just as there are poor schools) but I don't think the addition of one qualified teacher actually makes that much difference to a 3 yo's learning ability, no. Certainly there was no difference in attainment between private nursery and school nursery kids going into P1, in fact the two children that were gifted and talented came from private nursery.
Parents must of course chose what's right for them, but if parents also want to work, there's often no option. None of the school nurseries in my (large) city offer wrap-around care, for example.

ReallyTired Wed 23-Jan-13 18:02:10

"Would you want someone with an NVQ2/3 teaching your reception child instead of a qualified teacher? if not then why is it ok for them to teach you 2/3 year old?"

There is a balance between cost and education. A two year old in nappies needs lots of cuddles and attention. A nursery nurse with NVQ level 2 can give cuddles and change a nappy.

Three year olds are in the middle. Its debatable which is better, ratio of 1 to 15 with a qualified teacher and nursery nurse or being 1 to 8. Infact dd's state nursery has a ratio of 1 to 10 as there are so many children with speech problems.

BooCanary Wed 23-Jan-13 18:09:20

Nailak - my DCs private nursery DOES close for inset days which are always on different days to school inset days .

To me, and to most of the woh families I know, the money issue is irrelevant re. preschool. Most of us have already spent 5+ years paying huge nursery bills. We have got used to it, and another few months is neither here nor there. The problem with the state preschool provision is the LOGISTICS. It is a fecking nightmare. 2.5 hours a day, I ask you!

PrettyKitty describes well the situation that me and most of my colleagues are in - only we haven't got the huge benefit of MIL/DMs to help out. I cannot wait until the summer, not because I will finally see a reduction in childcare bills (although that will be nice smile ), but because from September both my DCs will be in the same place for the same amount of time. tries not to think about after school activities and homework .

BooCanary Wed 23-Jan-13 18:14:45

Oh and btw, although I did argue that state preschool is more challenging than private nursery, the preschool leader in DCs nursery has a BSc in Early Years Education! And In state preschool he spends 90% of his time with the TAs anyway.

I think the challenging bit of preschool is more to do with being in a mixed Nursery/Reception class and the fact that School seems more grown up in terms of responsibility (toilet, dressing self, going in on own etc).

Fairyegg Wed 23-Jan-13 18:18:46

In our area no private nursery accepts these free hours, only the ones attached to a school that are only open 9-11. So basically if you work you don't get the free hours. Another kick in the teeth to working parents imo.

nailak Wed 23-Jan-13 18:23:25

malinois yes learning through play, but does this mean just let a kid loose on a load of toys, or does it mean child initiated learning? using the child's natural interests to encourage the skills appropriate for their level of development?
Does this mean setting up the room activities etc in a certain way? if learning through play means just chucking kids in with a load of toys then you are saying that eyfs and early learning degrees etc or worthless as you just play around and the kids just pick it up.

If the private nursery does shut for insets etc, then I am very glad, I wasn't aware of any that do this, and yes I accept that there are always the exceptions.

A 2 year old needs lots of cuddles and attention. Yes a nvq level 2 qualified carer can do this. However even the Children's centres have qualified teachers planning the toddler groups, the rooms and activities are carefully planned etc, if it is about the educational value of being in nursery then at least a qualified leader/manager is desirable IMO. But yes of course the most important thing is that your child is happy, safe and well cared for, anything else is extra.

BouncyPenguin Wed 23-Jan-13 18:25:59

I think it can be very difficult to manage to send a child to a state nursery if both parents work full time. I wanted DS2 to go a the local state nursery attached to a school. I sort of timed having DS2 with the year that my DS1 turned 3 so that I could do this. I am able to take him and collect him every day as I am on maternity leave and it gives me a break from him so I can focus on DS2 or do some chores. It works well. I was extremely fortunate in that I got pregnant first month of trying (as with DS1). The reason I wanted DS1 to go to state nursery is because my DM is a retired state nursery teacher and I am aware of the benefits of this kind of nursery. I have never used a private nursery so I cannot really comment. I know a little as my DSis is an Early years adviser (qualified teacher) and advises in private nurseries. My other DSis has taught reception and Year 1. I went to a school state nursery so I guess it's what I know and trust. My DS loves it and it works well for us. I know that at my DM's nursery some children were brought/collected by parents/grandparents/childminders and also the private day nursery over the road did drop offs and pick ups so they spent half the day with them. Like everything else in parenthood it is a balancing act. I don't think it matters too much overall what kind of nursery children go to or do not go to, only that they are cared for well and have lots of opportunities to play/socialise and have fun.

WilsonFrickett Wed 23-Jan-13 19:44:38

if learning through play means just chucking kids in with a load of toys

nailak, seriously what private nurseries are you going into shock That is just not my experience, or the experience of any of my friends. And if it was I would have pulled DS out so fast the doormat would be spinning.

RillaBlythe Wed 23-Jan-13 19:59:00

chunderella afaik (I am over the border from Manchester) the school nurseries there are 9-3 full school days.

Why don't you have a look at both and see how you feel about them, and also find out how many children go to the state nursery from the private one and how many stay.

HappyMummyOfOne Wed 23-Jan-13 20:51:46

I am always amazed at the number of people who have children with no financial planning what so ever.

Given your sister does full time free childcare, i truly hope its appreciated. Perhaps if you had had to pay for childcare, the £200 a month would seem like the bargain it is.

nailak Wed 23-Jan-13 21:08:06

wilson I am not saying that, I am just saying that people who are qualified eyfs teachers or have degrees in early learning and stuff are more able to facilitate learning through play then those with nvq level 2 who have done one night a week course over 9 months (this is my experience of gaining a nvq2 in youthwork) or nvq3. and that state nurseries have in general more qualified staff.

TandB Wed 23-Jan-13 21:23:01

The 15 free hours aren't intended as childcare - they are something that is offered to all 3 year-olds as it is thought to be of benefit to them.

So you really need to decide whether you want your child to go to pre-school because that is something that you feel is important - in which case you'll need to take the financial hit - or whether you want to keep costs down, in which case you're better off leaving things as they are.

We use private nursery for the 3 days I work outside the home - the 15 hours just come off DS1's bill so we pay around half of what we would pay otherwise - it's still £300 on top of the grant, so comparable to what you've been quoted.

You've been incredibly lucky to have had three (?) years of free childcare - think of all the money you've already saved and the costs now might seem a bit less hard to swallow.

TandB Wed 23-Jan-13 21:23:57

Also, OP, remember that the 15 hours are only for term-time. So if you relied on them as part of your childcare you'd have a bigger bill in holiday time.

LegoAcupuncture Wed 23-Jan-13 21:26:22

We are quite lucky that our local nursery takes the DC in for two and a half days either end of the week, still using the 15 hours.

The parents who do need childcare for the other days use CMs.

Is there an option to send your DD for full days for half the week? Could you explain your situation to the school?

cory Wed 23-Jan-13 21:35:01

Of course it would be possible to imagine a different system. In Sweden, high quality childcare is heavily subsidised because it is seen as important to ensure that both parents are able to keep up with qualifications and work experience to remain employable. It is something the taxpayers are happy to pay for as it is perceived to benefit society as a whole.

Chunderella Wed 23-Jan-13 21:59:03

Thanks Rilla I know about the school nurseries, although you don't always get a full time place. Some of them start the DC doing just mornings or just afternoons, or they used to anyway. just wondering if the free hours can be used with a childminder or private nursery too.

We had a childminder who lived near the nursery and she would walk any kids she had down to the nurery and pick them up. Ds only went two mornings to nursery (all the room they had) and so the rest of the week he was with the childminder all day. She then watched him before and after school when he started reception, it's all part of the cost of living unless you have family who are willing to help out for less.

jamdonut Wed 23-Jan-13 22:04:03

nailak NVQ2 /3 may be one night a week...but what about the placements and coursework and portfolio building that has to be done as well?

My NVQ2 TA qualification was a 3 hour lesson once a week for 34 weeks, a minimum of 10 hours a week in school,for that 34 weeks,on placement and many many hours working on assignments and gathering/writing up evidence from teaching staff of my abilities. Not to mention the observations of my working practice (just like a trainee teacher gets - someone sitting watching you) All this I did in a voluntary capacity.

You make it sound worthless, going to the trouble of getting a qualification!

nailak Wed 23-Jan-13 22:34:07

no i do not mean it is worthless sorry, just a degree requires placements etc as well for 3 years, saying that a nvq2 is sufficient is saying the extra years are worthless?

obviously they both have there place, but in an educational setting IMO it is better if someone with years of study AND experience ( such as a head or deputy head would have) makes policy decisions and decides the focus of the nursery, and takes charge of the learning occurring in the nursery.

WilsonFrickett Thu 24-Jan-13 00:21:00

A degree requires 3 years study, that's true. But many, many teachers don't have teaching degrees. They do one year courses in teaching skills, so less hours in teacher-training than an NVQ 3, no?

WilsonFrickett Thu 24-Jan-13 00:24:50

In that context, the 3 years of say, pure maths, are worthless in terms of teaching small children. <pressed post too soon>

Some of the posts on this thread really sadden me. It does a great disservice to nursery nurses and support staff, whose training always involves placements (or a FT job with college study). Significant numbers of nursery nurses are now qualified at vq4 level or have gone on to degree level study to gain early years professional status. Many nursery practitioners undertake continuing professional development, sometimes individually and sometimes formally through their workplaces (in both the private and state sectors).

In Scotland, lead professionals/managers of childcare settings are required to have or be studying towards a scqf level 9 childhood practice award. This usually means a degree (studied part-time and sometimes by distance learning, but which is very rigorous nonetheless), although there is now a PDA option too. You can't get into these programmes without significant experience (in some cases a minimum of 5 years is required) and without gaining prior qualifications. Some of those who have gained the degree have gone on to study at higher levels, studying for masters and PhD/EdDs. The childhood practice awards are also studied by practitioners who are not required to be working towards them, simply because they genuinely do value further training. Once they've completed the awards, there are further training requirements that they must provide evidence of in order to remain registered by the Scottish social services council.

Recent research evidence indicates that settings led by someone holding a childhood practice award are just as effective as those led by a qualified teacher. Indeed, there are good arguments about why the childhood practice qualifications are much more appropriate for those working in childcare than teaching qualifications (which do not focus on the early years specifically, and do not usually involve the training in multi-agency working and management that are required within childhood practice awards). Early years childcare (and family support) encompasses much more than just plain old education.

Similarly, primary teachers have not necessarily had 3 years of training at university. Plenty of them have PGCEs, which is about 9 months (of sink or swim). Before that they could have done a degree in anything. And plenty of primary teachers know very little about the early years, and some are quite uncomfortable working in a nursery setting (something is sometimes foisted on them by a megalomaniac HT).

The childcare workforce is changing a great deal and it's quite insulting to imply that it's staffed by under inferior practitioners.

nailak Thu 24-Jan-13 09:13:50

So pgce and nqt year are worth the same as a nvq? I am not trying to say anything against the staff. Those who work in early years are normally passionate and dedicated. I wouldn't say a Mathis degree was useless when you are teaching small children tbh.

I think the Scottish idea sounds good. I would be happy if all nurseries were lead by someone with early years practitioner qualifications and have mentioned this.

Still a minimum of five years experience is nothing compared to head teachers experience, especially if it is a stand alone state nursery in which all the teachers have chosen to work in nursery.

ReallyTired Thu 24-Jan-13 09:26:55

nailak higher level NVQs are degree level. I think its unreasonable to look down on someone with higher level NVQ qualifications.

Nurseries need to find the balance between being affordable and providing a high quality of education. I know a young lad who is studying towards NVQ level 3. His ambition is eventually to become a teacher. He is planning to do a foundation degree in early years, top it up with one year at uni to make it into an honours degree and then do a PGCE. He is taking this particular route as he is worried about the cost of tutition fees.

For what it's worth, I actually think that maths degree is useless for teacher/nursery nurse working with very young children. I've got a BE and PhD in engineering. My DH has a degree in maths/physics and a PhD in engineering. Both of us seem to have missed the labs on working with toddlers and preschoolers. In fact I only learned last month snakes and ladders is supposed to help young children learn maths!

janey68 Thu 24-Jan-13 09:35:30

Are you paying SIL the going rate for childcare? Because if not, there's your answer. It seems like you're suddenly going to pay an extortionate amount, but the reality is many parents pay in the region of 1k per child per month out of their own income, right from the word go

FlorriesDragons Thu 24-Jan-13 09:46:52

It's a tricky one. I have two under fours and my eldest goes to school for 2 1/4 hours every afternoon.

DH works long hours quite far away frim home but I work three days per week, mil look after them for free on one day and both children go to a day nursery for the other two days at a cost of £600 per month. We are not entitled to help in the form of tax credits and as I only work part time I get a small percentage off due to childcare vouchers.

Eldest ds goes to nursery in the morning, I pick him up, change him and drop him to school on my lunch break and a friend or family member picks him up for me at 3.15 and keeps him til I finish work at 5. I then pick littlest ds up from nursery on my way home.

It is a nightmare for me tbh as although my work is local, the nature of it makes it impossible to leave at the same time every day so I'm always rushing round to get him in on time. And that's with a local job and a lot of family support.

I think switching to a childminder for wrap around care is probably your best bet. Perhaps sil could still help out, depending on the days, times the school gives you? Childcare is very expensive. But it's only for a short time. <rocks in corner>

Degrees are not a higher level than all other types of qualification. This is the Scottish curriculum and qualifications framework. Note that PDAs (professional development awards) can be equivalent to PhDs. This is a comparison to other qualification frameworks within the UK. Note that there are vocational qualifications equivalent to PhDs in England too (the numbers used in the levels are different though; level 8 in England is level 12 in Scotland).

The Early Years Professional Status programme in England does similar things to what's happening in Scotland. Plenty of nursery nurses now have degrees and EYPS.

There are plenty of utterly useless HTs out there (and plenty who have never taught the early years). The are also some really quite inexperienced 'fast tracked' HTs out there. And there are plenty of nurseries run by early years practitioners with decades of experience. It's really quite silly to think that a head teacher will automatically be better at managing a nursery.

There's also been a pilot 'New Leaders in Early Years' programme of postgraduate study running since 2010 in England. I think many people have quite an outdated image of the early years workforce that ignores how much has been done in terms of training and professionalisation over the last decade.

ReallyTired Thu 24-Jan-13 10:01:37

I think that to run a good nursery requires flair and imagination. The art is setting up the toys in a way that makes children want to engage and develop their fine, gross motor skills, speech, numeracy and knowledge of the world.

Ie. Last week dd's nursery teacher turned the role play area into a doctor's surgery. There were children pretending to write notes. Examine dolly, use the steposcope. The previous previously the role play area, has been a gruffalo cave, a supermarket, a bedroom, and a spaceship.

There is no easy way to test the level of imagination that a potential nursery nurse/ teacher/ childminder has. I doult that the necessary spark of imagination can be taught.

DIYapprentice Thu 24-Jan-13 10:06:48

TO ANSWER THE OP'S QUESTION - Op, not knowing the two settings, the usual recommendation would be to go for consistency, as you are only sending for 2 days a week. Usually children need 2 days in a setting to really be settled.

However, our local nursery (and I may be biased because I'm on the committee but everyone who visits it raves about it) is just so wonderful, that I used a CM to drop him off and pick him up and paid her for those hours that were 'free' at the nursery. (But at least I didn't have to pay twice!!)

Visit both settings, and see how you feel about them. Don't underestimate the value of a very good nursery. Our local Infant school has said that the children that came from the local committee run nursery have coped with the transition into school so much better than the other children, and not solely due to knowing some of the children before they started.

This is what Nailak has been trying to say, I think. All settings learn through play, but excellent directed play is incredibly beneficial to children. Learning to sit for some mat time at the start of the day (not as easy in a daycare setting with children being dropped off at different times), encouragement to try activities that a child normally wouldn't try on their own, the enthusiasm that staff show (it's a darn site easier to be enthusiastic for 3 hours than it is for 10!!!), etc.

The fact that the private nursery offers a drop off pick up service means some parents are choosing it. You need to ask yourself why, and instinct would tell me it's because the state nursery is a damn good one.

shrinkingnora Thu 24-Jan-13 10:16:29

OP - Both DD and DS1 went to our nearest reasonable preschool that provided enough hours care for me to do my hours at work. The preschool is a mile away in one direction and the primary school they have ended up attending is a mile in the other direction and as a result they did not know any children at all when they started reception. Both have been absolutely fine and made loads of friends (and are actually still in touch with children they were at preschool with). I think it has actually made them more confident as a result and they have had a really good mixture of friends from different backgrounds.

I did worry about it when DD was transferring to school but I now realise that it really doesn't matter at all. Provided that the primary school deal with the transition well there should be no problem at all on that score (reception teacher visited the preschool for both DC).

I would work out what is going to be least stressful for you (provided you are happy with the setting of course!) - if that means going for the cheapest option then do it. Happy stress free parents are worth so much more to a child than the possibilty that little Emily might go to the same school.

Childminders are an excellent budget option - you don't have to use the vouchers you know! You could find a child minder who attends structured toddler groups and in all likelihood your DD will meet children who turn up at her school anyway.

You could find a child minder who attends structured toddler groups and in all likelihood your DD will meet children who turn up at her school anyway.

That's exactly my thought re DD nursery. It's close to my home and my catchment primary. I think almost all the children will end up in one of the two primaries in the area anyway.

shrinkingnora Thu 24-Jan-13 10:29:55

We couldn't use the state preschool that feeds the primary as they only do four mornings a week and I needed to work 9.30 -2.30 every day. It didn't seem to bother the other families in the area as most of them had one high earner and one stay at home parent. It has an amazing reputation but in fact the preschool my DC went to had them much better prepared for school and they had a much broader and somehow more realistic life experience.

When you are making these decisions it often feels like everyone else has chosen the other option but when school actually starts you'll find that the other children have been doing all sorts of different things.

Just another thought - we are on the border of two counties and the preschool was in one an the primary school in the other. It may be worth looking at the next county along for prechools if you are in a similar position.

nokidshere Thu 24-Jan-13 10:30:29

Blimy. Poor OP!!!

I have forgotten much of the original discussion since there was quite a lot of crap being spouted on this thread.

Children do not NEED to go to an educational facility in order to be ready for school. They are all different, there is no blanket solution for all children. Secondly every single childcare provider whether they work in a school, a pre-school, private or state nursery or from home as a childminder are all required to deliver the same things. Children under 5 in any childcare situation ( and yes nursery and pre-school are included in that) will be following the EYFS framework.

Children who don't attend a childcare facility are dependant on the level of input from their parents. However, we all know that there is good and bad childcare and you could have a child who has never been anywhere starting school with better skills than a child who has been in bad childcare.

DIY Ofsted and the EYFS are very much geared toward child led play with less input from adults. Although I have heard rumours about this changing in the near future.

OP I hope you solve your childcare problems in the most cost effective way for your family.

shrinkingnora Thu 24-Jan-13 10:31:09

Also might help to think of the vouchers as a help IF you wanted your child to go to nursery rather than thinking that she is 'due to start nursery'.

shrinkingnora Thu 24-Jan-13 10:32:31

Of course nokidshere has now put it all much better than I did! Good post!

DIYapprentice Thu 24-Jan-13 10:44:01

nokidshere - being geared towards child led play does not mean that the child only does what they choose to do, it can also mean they can interpret an actitivity in a way of their choosing, and that A LOT of their activities are led by them - not ALL.

Very few children don't want to do an activity at all, usually they would just prefer to do something else. DS1 was a prime example of that - if you left it up to him he would NEVER choose to do the craft activities over playing outside. Yet he needed to do at least some. Towards the latter part of the week when he hadn't spent any time on the craft activity the nursery worker would say 'Come on DS1, it's time to do X' in a bright and cheery voice and he would pipe up with 'ok' and happily follow her. If she said 'DS1 would you like to do X?' he would quite honestly say 'no' and keep on doing what he was doing.

And Ofsted WILL mark a nursery down if too many children aren't developing over the range of the EYFS developmental charts/lists. They also complemented the nursery on their outside nursery activities (walks in the woods, two staff members are forest trained). If the children had been given a choice, quite a few would probably opt to stay at the nursery and not go for a walk. Quite rightly they don't have the choice, they have to go. (If children aren't well enough to go for walks outside in the cold, then they aren't well enough to go to nursery).

sweetkitty Thu 24-Jan-13 10:49:16

In our situation I became a SAHM and we reduced our outgoings and lifestyle accordingly.

From my friends and my DCs peers, most attend state nursery but have grandparents etc for wraparound childcare. We do not have this option.

I would love to work part time by right now it would be impossible

lljkk Thu 24-Jan-13 10:55:03

Jingle do whichever option suits you financially and physically, she doesn't need to be in her school's feeder state nursery to have a good social life in reception.

BUT, what will you do when she starts school, how will you manage childcare then? Gotta work it out.

I paid £500/month for 2 tots, 2 days/week, private nursery 11 years ago. So £200/month for one child nowadays sounds about right, pretty much what I'd expect. You've been lucky to have lower costs until now.

elliejjtiny Thu 24-Jan-13 11:08:35

Our local private nursery has a manager and deputy manager who both have degrees in early years and EYPS. All other staff have an NVQ3 at least. Same with our local community preschool. The only difference seemed to be that at the nursery a lot of the staff were fairly young and energetic and at the preschool a lot of the staff were more mature and "mumsy". DS1 thrived at the nursery and DS2, who is less confident and has SN, loved the preschool.

redskyatnight Thu 24-Jan-13 11:27:48

I'd also suggest visiting both nurseries and seeing how they are structured/which you like. IF the day nursery offers the facility to take children to the other one it sounds like there will be several children doing this, in which case your DC might consider this to the "norm".

Have you thought about what you will do for childcare when DC starts school? Unless SIL can help you out again, you may well find that breakfast/after school and holiday clubs average out at over £200 a month (they do here)

malinois Thu 24-Jan-13 11:57:09

nailak - no, our nursery does not close for inset days, it's open every day 7-6, except bank holidays, for which I am very grateful!

Also to answer the actual question. If you don't qualify for childcare tax credits, you must qualify for childcare vouchers OP. This will help towards the cost of childcare. Different private nurseries have different rules about how you can use your 15 hours. And there are also childminders. Maybe ask around and see if you can find something that works better for you.

Nonetheless remember that nursery is not compulsory. There are other ways of ensuring that she gets a variety of experiences with institutional/institution-like settings and chances to engage with her peer group. Playgroups, mother and toddler groups, any classes aimed at preschool kids, etc will all encourage paying attention, following rules/instructions and positive peer interactions. That's excellent preparation for school. So are all the things you may well have been doing with her for years (going to the park, looking at bugs and leaves and other things, reading to her, involving her in cooking/food preparation, letting her 'help' with household tasks, talking to her, singing to/with her, reading to her, helping her count things, etc, etc).

Don't panic about the consequences of her 'missing out'. It won't even affect whether she knows the children she goes to school with. Attending a nursery class doesn't have any impact on school admissions and many children end up at a different school from where they went to nursery. And there will also be children starting reception who've been to all kinds of other provision. It really isn't the end of the world.

You will need to think about what you're going to do for childcare once she starts school too. It can be a nightmare, and also very expensive.

nailak Thu 24-Jan-13 16:44:54

i agree with arbitary

SamSmalaidh Thu 24-Jan-13 17:35:58

You only qualify for childcare voucher if your employer offers them.

You can ask your employer to offer them though. Apparently it's very easy to set up.

lljkk Fri 25-Jan-13 07:59:02

DH employer wouldn't do it, said that it would cost him considerably more money (?). That was 8 years ago, though, maybe it's much easier now(?)

DIYapprentice Fri 25-Jan-13 09:46:45

It shouldn't cost employers anything. The amount that goes on childcare vouchers comes off your salary, so the employer doesn't have to pay NI on that amount. Some companies will charge the employers the whole NI amount so the employer comes out cost neutral, other companies charge less, so the employer can actually MAKE money.

I think the company saves on the NI saved with childcare vouchers. Even for smaller companies, it doesn't cost them anything to provide it.

Chumpster Fri 25-Jan-13 13:03:47

Jingle - not sure what I'd do. It would partly depend on my opinion of both nurseries.

I would be tempted to leave DD in the same one all day, because it might be a bit tiring to move about. However, if I felt the state preschool was really excellent then that might outweigh the disadvantage of having to move from one to the other.

Also I'd think about how well DD would be likely to settle at school. If she is very confident and settles easily in new environments then that might encourage me to keep her in the private nursery because school settling would be OK. But if she's a bit more timid then it might be good for her to have some time in the preschool, so that she's used to the school (but equally if she's timid she might find it more difficult to go to two different places, especially if she's not been away from the home/sil home environment very much)

Maybe start her initially just at the private nursery and then ask her if she'd like to start going to preschool as well?
Lots to weight up.

She'll still have friends at the school even if she stays at the private nursery, as some of them will move across. I wouldn't worry too much about that.

Chumpster Fri 25-Jan-13 13:05:15

weigh up...

SamSmalaidh Fri 25-Jan-13 13:05:16

It can cost employers if the employee goes on maternity leave though, as the employer still has to provide the vouchers even if they can't take the cost out of maternity pay.

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