to not understand why those with lower income get free childcare even if they don't work

(434 Posts)
PrincessScrumpy Tue 03-Sep-13 13:47:18

2 mums from a toddler group I go to are on income support and their DC start their free 2 days a week at nursery at the age of 2. I have dd1 age 5, and dtds 2. We couldn't afford childcare for 2 babies so I had to cut my hours by more than half and work from home around dc which is hard but we wouldn't cover the bills if I didn't. obviously twins was a surprise and a huge financial hit so savings are very low/almost non existent.

Anyway, I have another year until my dtds get free childcare while a lady with one dc gets it at age 2 despite having no intention to work. This feels really unfair and I just don't get the reasoning.
I'm not trying to benefit bash but it's hard not to feel angry. Willing to accept iabu, but can't help feeling this way.

Aren't the free nursery places for everyone regardless of income?

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 03-Sep-13 13:49:10

It's not childcare. It's so that their children get the chance to be exposed to a nursery/preschool type setting to help them stay on track with their peers. It's for the child, not for the parent.

BrokenSunglasses Tue 03-Sep-13 13:50:10

It's not childcare. It's early years education that is given to two year old children who come from disadvantaged backgrounds or who have other difficult circumstances. It's the same as the free 15 hours for three year olds, just given a little bit early.

It's for the child's benefit, not the parents. And it wouldn't help very much as actual child care because its only short pre school sessions.

TheProsAndConsOfHitchhiking Tue 03-Sep-13 13:50:28

I thought it was free to everyone.

MotherofBear Tue 03-Sep-13 13:51:11

As far as I am aware, all children are entitled to a certain amount of free early years childcare from the age of 2.5, regardless of whether the parent is working or not.

HeySoulSister Tue 03-Sep-13 13:52:47

You are 'angry' op?? About 2 year olds getting to go to nursery?

cakeL Tue 03-Sep-13 13:52:51

Yanbu, I had to double take at a poster recently outside a children's centre stating similar "if on benefits and have child of 2 we can provide free childcare..." I don't get it either with such a shortage of funding these days! I would be interested to understand the reasoning too!

MotherofBear Tue 03-Sep-13 13:53:20

Ooh, x-posts with many, sorry!

nicename Tue 03-Sep-13 13:54:33

I thought it was 3! It is here anyway - well you get the nursery education grant from the term after the 3rd birthday, which is supposedly 15 hours, but it really works out to about 5 hours in central London at a community nursery.

PrincessScrumpy Tue 03-Sep-13 13:55:13

From 2 years old if you are on income support you get 15 hours per week to use as you wish. Lady I know has her dd in nursery so unlike pre schools she can go for 2 full days.

we recently went to her house for her birthday party and she has a big garden and a house full of toys, plus a mum who sits and plays with her. I really struggle to see the disadvantage in this case.

forevergreek Tue 03-Sep-13 13:55:54

Everyone gets from age 3.

Those from age 2 are offered if from disadvantaged homes. So basically if the government think they need extra outside support to get them to thrive. It's is t really something to inspire for

The average family should be able to get their children to thrive alone.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 03-Sep-13 13:56:07

You get 15 free hours from the term after their third birthday I think. But how that 15 hours are allocated is a bit of a difficult one.

Because toys are a great substitute for social interaction.

MammaTJ Tue 03-Sep-13 13:57:38

I know someone who had two children under pre school age and doesn't work (understandably) but got more free child care than child care I used and paid for. Seemed a bit odd to me, after all, if she wants to be a mum, you would think she would want to look after her kids if she isn't out earning money to put a roof over their heads. However, I didn't get angry about it. I take your point HopALongOn though.

Around here, pre-school places are not funded until the term after a childs third birthday, and then only for three x three hour sessions to begin with.

Her DC were going for whole days, she put it that it was for her to get a break but I think now that the HV or maybe SW arranged it for the DCs sake, not something I could ever get angry about.

HeySoulSister Tue 03-Sep-13 13:58:04

Income support? Lone parents usually then.... You have a partner op? To, you know, help?

SamHamwidge Tue 03-Sep-13 13:58:50

Certain councils run the 'free for 2' scheme which is given to certain qualifying families before the 15 hours for everyone starts at 3. I don't know if this is a countrywide scheme or not but my local council (Kent) runs it. Are you in kent op? Just not sure everyone on here knows about it that's all.

I do agree it's a little unfair. As it stands right now it wouldn't be worth me working p/t because if I get WTC I lose the free entitlement. Hardly an incentive is it.

hazeyjane Tue 03-Sep-13 14:00:15

The criteria are, free for over 3's, free for over 2's if fulfilling certain criteria - eg income support, eligible for wtc, children in need etc. There are other circumstance such as my ds, who got funding because he has severe delays and is disabled.

It is to benefit the children who can gain from being in an early years setting.

I was never offered this. I had to wait and hes only starting next week at 3. 9 years old.

I couldn't get angry at toddler s going to nursery though.

gordyslovesheep Tue 03-Sep-13 14:01:26

mainly because it's NOT about providing childcare but about introducing early education to tackle social disadvantage

also - did the mum have a big screen TV a goat and some biscuit s

dreamingofsun Tue 03-Sep-13 14:01:58

isn't it to try and stop the kids being disadvantaged by the time they attend school. so that once they attend all the kids are the same standard of learning and therefore the class isn't held back.

nicename Tue 03-Sep-13 14:02:12

It is good for children to go to nursery - it really makes a difference when they start school if they have already had that socialisation. Plus it gives mums/dads a break for a few hours, especially if they are lone parents.

I think it should be free for all, but then there's no way the country could afford it.

hazeyjane Tue 03-Sep-13 14:02:15

sorry that should have been ctc, but not eligible for wtc.

PrincessScrumpy Tue 03-Sep-13 14:02:26

I'm angry that a mum who doesn't work gets to send her dc to nursery at 2 but because we aren't on income support we have to wait until 3 for our dc (first term after 3rd birthday) not 2.5 as someone stated. Might depend on county I guess but that's the rule here. I can't afford nursery so work evenings and weekends and am exhausted where as this lady (and others like her) get to have "lovely me time" as she put it during the week.

I get these hours and am an isolated single mum.

Im not thick or a bad mum etc. DS got given short slots where spaces were available so i didn't chose when. It's helped me study and helped my son to talk better. Id have been foolish to turn it down, even though it's unfair.

You seem to have judged quickly.

dreamingofsun Tue 03-Sep-13 14:04:51

princess - on the plus side she's only getting 'lovely me time' because the gov deems her parenting lacking. think of that each time she gloats!! At least you have the satisfaction that you brought your children up yourself.

You get it if you're a lone parent on income support so it's not related to parenting.

TheProsAndConsOfHitchhiking Tue 03-Sep-13 14:06:24

dreamingofsun That is an awful thing to say. No one knows this womans circumstances.

BrokenSunglasses Tue 03-Sep-13 14:06:42

I do see your point in that people can be offered this help when they don't really need it because the qualifying criteria doesn't actually look into people circumstances and just decides that anyone on a certain benefit must need it.

But personally, I think two year olds are better off at home in most cases anyway, and if help with childcare is needed so that parents can work, then that is a different thing that should be addressed separately.

Sonnet Tue 03-Sep-13 14:06:50

What a snipy thread.
I understand what you mean PrincessScrumy. It must be hard working with 2 toddlers underfoot

HeySoulSister Tue 03-Sep-13 14:06:57

Op.... There are TWO of you bringing up your dc..... You should be able to have 'lively me time' too..... Or is your partner lacking?

hazeyjane Tue 03-Sep-13 14:07:07

on the plus side she's only getting 'lovely me time' because the gov deems her parenting lacking.

^^ this is really not what the 2 year funding scheme is about.

HeySoulSister Tue 03-Sep-13 14:07:11


Oh yes princess it's so lovely being a single parent on benefits! I'm not surprised you're jealous! You must be so disadvantaged with your partner and decent income!

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 03-Sep-13 14:07:23

It. Is. Not. For. The. Parents.

It is there because children from poorer backgrounds are disadvantaged socially and educationally. It is preschool education to help the child be up to the same standard as their peers when they start school. It is there to help the child. What the mum or dad chooses to do with those free hours is entirely up to them. IF they are choosing not to work and to claim benefits as a lifestyle choice (and I'm sceptical at just how much choice people think is involved in this) then all the more reason that the child needs the advantages of preschool education.

PrincessScrumpy Tue 03-Sep-13 14:07:26

She's not a single mother and yes I have a dh but yesterday said goodbye at 8am and he got back from work at 9.45pm - just because I have a dh doesn't mean he's able to help.

I do get that sine children need it but in this instance I don't get it.

dreamingofsun Tue 03-Sep-13 14:07:54

nicename - not sure i agree with forking out a load of tax to 'give parents a break for a few hours' even if they are single parents. Going to work FT and then looking after children is hard work - just having kids and no work seems a doss in comparison - so why should a worker have to subsidise them. plus just because you are a couple doesn't mean you share childcare - mine husband worked away during the week.

And id rather have a job that pays and not live in a 1bed but such is life and with this studying I'll hopefully not be in this situation forever! The grass is certainly greener

DuelingFanjo Tue 03-Sep-13 14:08:56

I don't get free nursery places here in Cardiff. It's not open to everyone.

Sonnet Tue 03-Sep-13 14:09:20

I would imagine It.Is.The.System that PrincessScrumy is cross with not the children HopAlongOn
It sounds like in her situation she would welcome the assistance

HeySoulSister Tue 03-Sep-13 14:09:39

So she gets income support for what reason? Someone is disabled?

You sound nasty op....

Oh yeah, being a skint full time student is so easy

If she's on income support she must be a single parent.

I have sent my DD for her free hours. I am on benefits. I have sent her for the social interaction with other children. Not because I want child free time (I wouldn't get any anyway, I have another child under 1)

So I am very sorry that you feel the way you do, I am sure I will have the same problem once I start work again, but I figured I would make the most of what SHE is entitled to while she can still get it. She loves making new little friends, so would rather her do it now because when I go back to work I will probably send her to a child minder as I have heard it is cheaper.

You sound quite judgemental, but I do understand why you are pissed off. I certainly don't get 'Me time'!

HeySoulSister Tue 03-Sep-13 14:10:52

Is your DH not around on weekends/holidays/days off??

TheProsAndConsOfHitchhiking Tue 03-Sep-13 14:10:55

I agree with HSS You sound very bitter op about a child going to nursery.

My friend got funding for her twins when they were 2 as she had an older one (under 5) too.
Can you ask and see if that option is available to you?

lottieandmia Tue 03-Sep-13 14:11:33

Princess - stop judging this woman and being jealous on the basis of what you see of her life. You couldn't possibly know all the details and you sound quite bitter tbh. So what if she has a house full of toys? You don't know who paid for them. The nursery hours are for the child's benefit - they are intended to give children a good start in life so they are not behind others when they start reception.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 03-Sep-13 14:11:47

But surely if you suspect that a person is 'working the system' and being deliberately lazy, as the OP seems to be suggesting, you can see that it might be in the best interests of the child and society at large if the children are receiving some kind formalised early years education? Stop looking at it as this free time that parents get if they can't be arsed to work and look at it as this free resource that children get because they are in a disadvantaged situation.

WilsonFrickett Tue 03-Sep-13 14:12:01

OP have you actually asked what is available for you? I know a friend who got funded extra school nursery hours for her then 4 yo when she had DTs, and then I'm sure the DTs got some additional placing simply because they were DTs and it was felt families of multiples should get a little bit of support.

PrincessScrumpy Tue 03-Sep-13 14:12:12

goodness, no Dh not lacking, he works long hours then at weekends cares for dc while I work. To be honest, our situation is common among families with multiples.
I have full respect for single parents and am not attacking them. This woman is not a single parent so please stop being offended by something I haven't said

Sonnet Tue 03-Sep-13 14:12:30

HeySoulSister - I don't know your personal circumstances but just because her partner is not around to help her out does not mean he is "lacking" - He may work lomg hours/long commute - it happens you know

K8Middleton Tue 03-Sep-13 14:12:46

I find it very hard to be jealous of something that is meant to help level the playing field of social inequality. You may feel the scales are tipped slightly in her favour now but the likelihood is that your family will have a greater income, own property and stay in education longer over the course of your life time so you are much, much better off.

Try not to be jealous of what in the wider scheme of things is a tiny benefit against a life time of privilege and opportunity.

Is income support paid to anyone but single parents anymore?? I was pretty certain it had been phased out. In which case she's most likely on ESA or JSA?

HeySoulSister Tue 03-Sep-13 14:14:16

So how come she claims income support but isn't a line parent?

Or are you guessing op?

Sonnet Tue 03-Sep-13 14:15:32

PrincessScrumy I don't think you sound bitter or nasty. Life is hard as a working mother (single or part of a couple).
I though WilsonFricket made a great point - I would look into that if i were you

I have a friend that was entitled to the 15 hrs free 'childcare' for her twins, both her and her husband were on benefits, so by your judgyness they shouldn't have been entitled, should they?

She has bi polar, she doesn't announce it to the world because frankly she doesn't want the world to know, however because of her condition it was decided to ensure that she and her husband could cope a little better with bringing up their children that she could have 'me time' and they granted her free hours.

She had to justify herself to ignorant jealous gits as well.

The snap shot you see of someone elses life is very often not the reality they live.

HeySoulSister Tue 03-Sep-13 14:16:07

It's a stealth benefit bashing thread..... Nice one op!

nicename Tue 03-Sep-13 14:16:17

Dreaming - I work too, as does DH, so I know how much work it is (and I have just one to run around after).

It's not about giving parents a break (although we all need it) but about the kids getting a start in education so that they aren't going to school without the basics of literacy and numeracy, or still in nappies or unable to interact with other kids/teachers (as happens in my sisters school - she's a Head not a student). In an idea world, yes, all kids should have tis opportunity, but it's far from ideal!

BaldricksTurnip Tue 03-Sep-13 14:16:27

There are lots of things in life it would be fair to be jealous of, you know like people who lunch at Claridges every day or bankers who give themselves enormous bonuses while ordinary families are starving. Being jealous of a poor little two year old getting a few nursery hours to help them out while their single parent struggles is shameful OP angry

Feminine Tue 03-Sep-13 14:16:55

I honestly can't see why you are bothered/care.

You do realize that this Mum need not disclose all the details that may entitle her to you right?

I met a very, very middle class Mummy in the park recently, she spent a good deal of times winging about the same thing as you.

"its not fair, those on benefits will get free care for their children and I won't ...I've got TWINS!"

Look at what you do have, I bet you have many lovely positives that you can console yourself with when feeling hard done by.

if you think you also qualify, why don't you look for help?

Owllady Tue 03-Sep-13 14:17:49

It's pre school not childcare

Feminine Tue 03-Sep-13 14:17:50

Maybe you are the lady I met in the park? wink

Saffyz Tue 03-Sep-13 14:18:04

YABU. As BrokenSunglasses says, it's early years education and is for the child's benefit, not the parents'.

KirstyJC Tue 03-Sep-13 14:18:11

If she really has made a 'lifestyle' choice (and isn't just trying to make out she has a choice to other people, rather than admit to being stuck in a situation she feels unable to control) then I would think it even MORE important her children get the childcare. Otherwise they will run a greater risk of being behind their peers and then falling into the same trap she has - thinking that jobs aren't for the likes of them and there's no point in trying 'cos they'd never get anything anyway.

Giving the kids the exposure to other people and stimulation will help them when they start school, so maybe this poverty trap might not pass to yet another generation.

PrincessScrumpy Tue 03-Sep-13 14:18:19

I'm not jealous of this woman's life, and if she's been offered it then of chose she should use it. Doubt you'll believe me but I like the woman just don't understand this government policy.

She may be on a level of tax credits rather than income support - she said to another friend it was because of thebenefits she gets.

CaptainUndercrackers Tue 03-Sep-13 14:19:04

I can sort of see both sides here. The free nursery places are officially about early years education. But in a lot of the media, and in some government rhetoric, they are portrayed as free childcare to help working parents. So I think it's completely understandable that people then get pissed off if it's most easily accessed by non-working parents. I think it needs to be made much clearer that it's not 'childcare' at all, it's education. But it suits the government for the issue to be fudged as then they get to say they're helping people get back into work, when really they're not.

furfoxsake Tue 03-Sep-13 14:19:56

I must be missing something here.

What about a situation where a child's mother is working (and on an excellent income) but the child is not looked after in a nursery/childcare setting e.g. Grandmother. That child doesn't qualify for free childcare at 2 so is socially held back. Doesn't the government care about that child? I'm not sure i agree that it's about the child at all, because in that case it isn't.

And I know a child in the above scenario.

HeySoulSister Tue 03-Sep-13 14:19:58

So you got your story wrong.... Tax credits, possibly. You have no clue really do you?

So you don;t actually know why she is getting it? You've just assumed based on a second hand conversation?

HeySoulSister Tue 03-Sep-13 14:20:50

So her partner works?

charitygirl Tue 03-Sep-13 14:21:01

To make sure you get the message: it's not childcare, it's early education, and there is sound evidence that children from disadvantaged homes benefit disproportionately from early ed if they start it earlier.

Whether you think she is disadvantaged is neither here not there.

My DS has just been able to take advantage of his free hours. He's at nursery right now. While neither me or DP work, it is a godsend for us and is already helping him learn to socialise with his peers and behave himself without us present. It'll also be useful because he won't be completely out of his depth when he goes to school next year.

As many other posters have said, these schemes are for the childrens benefit, not the parents. Even if it IS a benefit to the parent, that often has a knock-on effect on the child - in my case it means I can have a bit of time to relax and am less stressed as a result (being on benefits/a low income is very stressful!), which means I feel more capable of doing stuff with DS when he's home.

furfox In general there are less opportunities for social activity for children when on parents are on benefits compared to parents working. Obviously this is generalised and there are exceptions. Especially when you are talking pre-school age children.

Saffyz Tue 03-Sep-13 14:23:36

> I like the woman just don't understand this government policy.

If you're really against a policy which helps families on a low income to access pre-school education, then complain to your MP, rather than picking out one particular person.

Sirzy Tue 03-Sep-13 14:24:30

so you are guessing as to why she gets it then.

The free hours for 2 year olds are given to help ensure that children from homes with certain circumstances which often leave them at a disadvantage aren't left behind their peers.

Thats not about discrimination but about trying to ensure a level playing field as much as possible with the limited resources to do so.

Feminine Tue 03-Sep-13 14:24:33

You don't get the place (at pre-school) unless you really do qualify.

It won't be anything to do with tax credits confused

Council house envy....and now 'being disadvantaged' envy.

You couldn't make it up!

PrincessScrumpy Tue 03-Sep-13 14:24:47

Seeing it as for the child but the parent does make more sense so thank you for pointing that out. I had a feeling I was being unreasonable and knew people on here would soon sort me out! I knew there would be a reason for it but sometimes is hard to see. I really am not benefit bashing our judging this woman - just trying to understand.

HeySoulSister Tue 03-Sep-13 14:25:47

Who has council house envy?

In a way OP I have to thank you, as I didn't know about this scheme and will be looking into it for DS. I'm desperate for him to get more used to being around others, but I know he's held back by our situation. Good to know there's help out there.

BaldricksTurnip Tue 03-Sep-13 14:28:11

MurderofGoths- I saw you on your other thread about your financial difficulties and felt so sorry for you (in a completely non patronising way!). I really hope you managed to get things sorted?

Thank you sweetheart. DH is out now trying to get something sorted, fingers crossed he comes back with good news, though I have to confess I am not too hopeful.

hazeyjane Tue 03-Sep-13 14:29:15

feminine, in our area one of the qualifying criteria is getting

Child Tax Credit, provided you are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual household income (as assessed by HM Revenue & Customs) that does not exceed £16,190.

I will never ever understand why people do this.

You don't think she should have this "free childcare" because you have to wait an extra year to get it?

So you don't actually disagree with the concept, you just think it's "not fair" for you.

You have no clue why she gets it. You have no idea what benefits she recieves, if she has a disability, if they are a low income family, if for some reason she is actually unable to work.

Yet you want what she has. 15 hours of free "childcare"

It's insane. If you really really want all those wonderful "free" things she has, then maybe you should live her life.

Oh but you can't. Because you have no idea what her circumstances are, do you?

Feminine Tue 03-Sep-13 14:29:23

hey it resides here on MN sometimes...not op smile

K8Middleton Tue 03-Sep-13 14:30:37

furfox the policy is not about paid child being superior to unpaid child care. It is about giving something to children who are not getting the basics at home. In some cases to help out parents who have the odds against them due to ill health or disability and maybe need a bit of extra help to deliver the basic level of stimulation and education. For example it's hard to teach socialisation skills if anxiety means you can't face interacting with others.

It is a great thing we should be proud of but unfortunately the welfare of others does not have huge political mileage unlike working parents and child care so that has been piggy backed on when it really isn't the point of the scheme.

BaldricksTurnip Tue 03-Sep-13 14:30:40

I'll cross all my fingers for you smile

Footface Tue 03-Sep-13 14:30:46

I used to be involved with this scheme, there is lots of criteria that needs to be met, it's not just income support, although it does support the application, there need to be other additional needs aswell, for example speech and language needs, or social issues within the family.

There is a massive waiting list for children as there are more children than places.

It is a very good scheme and hopefully in the long run will save the government money.

There is also extenuating circumstance that allow you to access the fund if you have a higher income

Feminine Tue 03-Sep-13 14:31:18

hazy Okay smile I sit corrected...

In our area, receiving the credits alone (round here) is not enough to entitle a family.

Quick question, anyone know what the scheme is likely to be called, and how early you need to get your child on to it?

PrincessScrumpy Tue 03-Sep-13 14:33:27

I think me saying she has a big garden has been taken as council house envy - although I actually meant she had space to play out side and had a nice place to live so not in a visibly terrible situation I have seen other children living in. wasn't a comparison to my own home or any jealousy - I think every child deserves a decent home. heysoulsister

hazeyjane Tue 03-Sep-13 14:34:25

google 'free nursery entitlement for 2 year olds' and your local government district, there should be a list of qualifying criteria (it does vary from area to area). It is also worth ringing the relevant office and talking to someone, because it is a scheem that is changing all the time, so you may qualify without realising it.

sunshine401 Tue 03-Sep-13 14:35:05

With the 2 year old funding for free education there has to be certain criteria met. Being on income support with one child is not a factor. So there will be other reasons why this child gets this funding.
This funding is a benefit for children who require it. There is no need to feel jealous or hard done by, just be thankful you are not in that position because it is not a nice position for any family to be in.

Just realised my mum and step dad must get this for my siblings. One is 3 and one is 2. Mum works but stepdad doesn't. He is a house husband so has the kids all week til late as mum works 10 hour shifts. They go to nursery 3 days a week, 5 hours each.

I do not envy their life.

Thank you hazey smile

PrincessScrumpy Tue 03-Sep-13 14:36:04

AZ a, m .

hazeyjane Tue 03-Sep-13 14:37:02

It is about giving something to children who are not getting the basics at home.

In some cases, maybe, but not all.

PrincessScrumpy Tue 03-Sep-13 14:38:08

Oops twins up from nap!
We're in Somerset so here you'd speak to local children centre.
Hope you get the help you need murder of goths

aturtlenamedmack Tue 03-Sep-13 14:38:25

For the benefit of the child.

Ah ok, looks like DS is too young to need to register him yet, but I've saved the link. OP in a funny way you've helped smile

utreas Tue 03-Sep-13 14:39:42

YANBU its a frivolous policy that we can ill-afford and it should be abolished immediately.

PrincessScrumpy Tue 03-Sep-13 14:40:05

Thanks sunshine that's a really sensible way to look at it.

brdgrl Tue 03-Sep-13 14:40:38

I know it has been said already, but it is not childcare! Whether the parents are working or not is irrelevant.

My DD just took up her funded spot at nursery - I work, and I assure you, this is absolutely useless as childcare, anyway. I've had to rearrange my work schedule to take her. pick her up, etc, and it is only 2.5 hours a day...If I were relying on it as childcare, I'd be a fool. It's for her benefit, not mine.

sydlexic Tue 03-Sep-13 14:41:18

I think these schemes were introduced with sure start. It is about safeguarding. Those that fall into a statistically higher risk group of having problems which would concern social services are in free nursery and can therefore be nannied by the state.

It isn't about anyone personally, just recognised as improving statistics.

LIZS Tue 03-Sep-13 14:43:33

If things are hectic with your dt's have you spoken to your HV as I believe they can recommend your dc if you were eligible for this scheme. The parents don't need to have intention to work if they have U5's although as their dc get older it would be worth preparing for this (ie. training) before reality bites.

K8Middleton Tue 03-Sep-13 14:43:53

I think it's really easy to be swayed by the political spin. Child care has rightly been identified as a huge barrier to people working and a political hot potato.

The early years education for 2 year olds was decided after research into the cost benefits of early intervention. It was never about child care but has been dragged out to try to meet a political need.

I can almost imagine the conversation at ConDem HQ:

Shiney PR type: "Righto chaps, public opinion says we need to do more about providing child care for working parents"
Osborne: "There's no money."
SPT: "we'll we need something"
Keen advisor: "Well we are about to give a load of nursery places to two year olds. That's also child care isn't it?"
Everyone:"ooh yes. Brilliant."

Lambsie Tue 03-Sep-13 14:44:20

My son was given some free hours because he has severe sn. It was given as respite for us and for himto be around other children as it is difficult to take children with severe sn to toddler groups. It got him used to being apart from me but didn't otherwise help his development as they didn't have the expertise.

sunshine401 Tue 03-Sep-13 14:51:05

Families can get income support again if they met certain criteria.

unlucky83 Tue 03-Sep-13 14:51:30

This is like the free school meals thread - everyone on benefits gets it to make sure they catch the ones who come from a really, really deprived backgrounds - the ones who really need it - to try and level the playing field when they start school...
Except where we are (Scotland) I don't think all 2 yo with parents on benefits get it (yet?) - just the ones flagged up by HV/SW as needing it (and it is from 18mo)...
And it is pre-school education - not childcare...
We come from a mainly naice, small area - if any one is eligible they aren't using it - and if they did all the other parents would know and it would imply that someone thought you were a crap parent - or I guess you had some parenting problems...IYKWIM
(actually one child did start nursery I think of it...likely because the mum does have health problems).
So the system where all 2 yo with parents on benefits get it is probably a good thing as it does actually remove SOME of the stigma...
I will also say -although preschool education (even for 3 yos) isn't compulsory - if a child is involved with SS etc, the preschool education provider will be asked to inform the SW if child is absent frequently is expected the child will attend...

FourLittleDudes Tue 03-Sep-13 14:54:35

I have just had a letter asking if I want a nursery place for ds3 who has just turned 2.

I am a lone parent, I have been since very early on in my pregnacy with ds4. He is now 7 months.

In those 7 months, I haven't so much as had an hour alone. Not one. I have done every night feed, every bath time, every meal time. I have a shower with a toddler pulling at my leg and the baby sat watching in his bouncer.

I cannot wait for ds3 to spend some time in nursery, he will love having some playtime and I will love having some one to one time with ds4. although I would get down on my hands and knees and beg for just one hour completely alone

K8Middleton Tue 03-Sep-13 14:57:43

Quite right hazeyjane. That was lazy paraphrasing on my part.

brdgrl Tue 03-Sep-13 15:00:53

fourlittledudes, that's awful. I don't get much alone time at all because all my family lives away and we have no real support network here...but at least I'm able to get a shower and I'm able to get a bit of time to think even if it is just on the way to work.
If you live near me, I will take your kids on a playdate with my toddler. She is 3 and we love babies. smile

ReallyTired Tue 03-Sep-13 15:04:18

Read this link and then you might understand the logic of giving "free childcare to certain under twos.

It is a bit of a scattergun approach as 99% of low income families are excellent parents. However it is cheap way of detecting child abuse reaching disadvantaged chidlren.

I can't blame the OP for feeling agrieved. I feel it would be better to give all two year olds 6 hours of free care. 15 hours a week is a lot for a child who has never been to nursery.

lljkk Tue 03-Sep-13 15:18:42

Life is full of unfair <<Shrug>>.

What about the changes in childcare vouchers, the ones that families with SAHPS can (?could) access but rules are changing so both parents have to be at work to have the vouchers. What an uproar about that on MN. And I got pretty peeved because DH & I never had access to the voucher subsidy before or after the changes. That's unfair too. Like lots of things, just got to suck it up.

Bubbles1066 Tue 03-Sep-13 15:23:07

My local nursery was handing out flyers saying free places for under 2s.... I got to excited but then saw the small print, you have to be on benefits, have special needs or earn less than £17,000 pa and claim WTC . So not us and we have to wait until 3. I do understand the logic behind it for the very disadvantaged or those with aditional needs but if I'm really honest I would love to put my daughter in nursery for 15 hours, I have no one to give me a break but at over £60 a week it's just not possible for us. I don't think income alone should be a criteria, rather those who need extra support for whatever reason who should get the provision early.

MotherofBear Tue 03-Sep-13 15:23:52

Just for info (sorry, I was wrong about the 2.5 - that's the age my DS could have started pre-school, had I been able to afford it), this is from the Department of Education website:

From September 2013, around 130,000 2-year-olds are eligible for 570 hours per year of funded early education.

All 2-year-olds who are looked after by their local authority are eligible.

2-year-olds whose family receives one of the following are also eligible:
• income support
• income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
• income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
• support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
• the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
• Child Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit) and have an annual income not over £16,190
• the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

strokey Tue 03-Sep-13 15:31:29

WTF Really? Thats a joke. 2 year olds can be taken to playgroups every day of the week for nothing, or next to nothing.

What a total waste of money. So irresponsible types who have children without being able to provide for them now have a few hours of free childcare too?

Meanwhile, people who go out to work are having to fork out for childcare. Ridiculous.

cantsleep Tue 03-Sep-13 15:32:50

I can sort of see why you are annoyed. My dd is three and has the 15 hours a week funded.

Recently her pre school sid they would be taaking 2 year olds from next year. Gret I thought and put down ds name (he is 17 months) hoping that once he is 2 I will get a bit of a rest but no, the places will be offered to children who live in certain postcode areas/been in care/parents on income support. I was relly disappointed and am just having to keep my fingers crossed that he does get aa place because I really need a few hours a week with all dcs at school or pre school.

YANBU (I think!)

Sirzy Tue 03-Sep-13 15:35:24

Strokey - have you even bothered to read the thread? It isn't just about taking children to a "playgroup" it is about much more than that for children who are deemed to be in a vulnerable/at risk group.

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Tue 03-Sep-13 15:39:59

Can I just point out that many people on a low income who are working are the people who are providing child care/health care/education for countless families up and down the country so bashing people who get help may mean you are bashing the very people who are help to look after or educate your children. Many of those people are on salaries that put them and their families below the poverty line so cut them so slack please.

Mumof3xx Tue 03-Sep-13 15:40:40

It's not a case of "irresponsible types getting free childcare" it's a case of children who's needs may not be met for whatever reason in the home environment being given the opportunity for a better start

I have paid childcare for two children so far and will do for my third, she won't get a free place at 2 but I don't care. We don't need it. Other people do

Yes some of the parents might simply be lazy but that's not the child's fault is it

cantsleep Tue 03-Sep-13 15:41:01

I had hoped the criteria included children with medical issues but was told by dd pre school that ds would not be a priority for a 2 y old place as they had been told very strictly it was been in care/IS/postcode area.

HeySoulSister Tue 03-Sep-13 15:42:09

Ha ha strokey

Read the thread.... Or are you one of these 'non reading types'

ReallyTired Tue 03-Sep-13 15:44:30

In our area the pre school places are being taken up by the two year olds and by the time a child gets to three there is nowhere with space to take a child who gets funding at three years old.

There are children who are not getting the chance to attend nursery because there is no nursery place when their three year old grant comes in.

The joys of a high birth rate and excessive immigrantion putting strain on local services.

Mumof3xx Tue 03-Sep-13 15:44:51

Might I also point out that the free places are being increased again in 2014 so that more families will receive the free hours, but this will still not be any where near all families

brdgrl Tue 03-Sep-13 15:45:13

So irresponsible types who have children without being able to provide for them now have a few hours of free childcare too?
And yet this thread has several posters who say that they don't qualify based on income, but would like 'extra support' or 'a break' from their kids. You could just as well say that parents who "need a break" from their kids shouldn't have had them. (Equally asinine and insensitive.)

Anyway (putting aside for the moment the fact that it is not childcare, it is educational intervention) - let's be 'practical'. If you want a mother to get a job, would it not be a bit easier for her to do so if she had a couple of child-free hours to try to get one?

Mumof3xx Tue 03-Sep-13 15:45:51

Can't sleep some medical issues are included in the 2014 increase I think but of course your child may be three by then

brdgrl Tue 03-Sep-13 15:46:27

reallytired, do you not have kids, then?

cantsleep Tue 03-Sep-13 15:50:31

I hope so all dcs have quite severe health issues. In sep and oct alone between them all we have 14 hosp appts to attend one of which is for an op. Poor ds2 spends all his time in the buggy or car seat and I was so pleased he might get to go to pre school 'early'.

I was really disappointed when after I gaave the forms in the pre school manager said he didn't have much chance.

cantsleep Tue 03-Sep-13 15:51:51

He won't be 2 till next april so fingers crossed ! I just tried to get in early hoping it might be first come first served

needaholidaynow Tue 03-Sep-13 15:52:45

It's so the child can benefit from early years education. It's not so the parents can have a break.

The two year olds that get the free hours are from households that are in receipt of certain benefits or on low incomes and not receving WTCs, because the government want them to have the same opportunities to have access to this free early years education, that other children get because their parents are working.

That is not the child's fault that families who work/ work more hours don't get the free childcare. Them families get tax credits instead to help them pay for the childcare costs. They should still have the same opportunities, so the 15 hours could really benefit the child in all areas of their development.

SleepyFish Tue 03-Sep-13 15:53:51

You do seem to be confusing childcare with education OP. You even said in your first post it'll be another year until your children get the free childcare.
Nursery and schools are not there to provide childcare, they're there to provide children with education.
Whilst your friend might be capable of providing a child with everything they need plenty others in her situation are not. This scheme is for those children.

cantsleep Tue 03-Sep-13 15:55:33

If we qualified I'd consider it good for ds to play for once and for me to have a break, which in turn would improve things for all dcs.

brdgrl Tue 03-Sep-13 15:58:05

cantsleep - are there other benefits you would be entitled to, based on their medical issues?

Mumof3xx Tue 03-Sep-13 15:59:05

Cantsleep I think if your child has a health or care plan, or recieves dla they might get it

Owllady Tue 03-Sep-13 16:02:38

cantsleep, have you tried the children with disabilities service (it's part of social services) they can <begrudgingly> help with respite etc if you need it and a nursery place I imagine, is something that could be considered (if it is your ds that is ill that is)

Fakebook Tue 03-Sep-13 16:04:30

We have this system in place in our area too. I know a woman who lied to her local nursery about how her DS was being exposed to bad language and was picking up bad behaviour from his cousins (big Asian family living next door to one another) and the nursery were horrified and took him on from age 2 for 12 hours a week for free.

cantsleep Tue 03-Sep-13 16:04:35

All dcs get dla and we get ctc but apart from that nothing else.

Dh works but doesn't earn enough that we could aafford private nursery for ds2 we seem to be in a bit of a grey area as don't claim qualifying benefits yet he doesn't earn enough for nursery costs.

Just bad luck though I suppose but I do worry for ds2 out of all dcs he is quite delayed, not walking properly or really speaaking at all but I aaam so busy with needs of other dcs and travelling to and from appts there is literally no time to sit and play/interact with him.

Makes me feel like a shit mother sad I had really felt a sense of things could change when pre school sent that letter out I had visions of ds getting to learn and play and me getting to rest/catch up with things/go to other dcs appts knowing ds not fed up stuck in pushchair.

Never mind. Not much I can do if we don't qualify I have to make the best of things as they are.

Bubbles1066 Tue 03-Sep-13 16:06:18

I suppose it's annoying as those of us on average incomes (I'm a SAHM and DH earns national average) SHOULD in all fairness be able to pay for a few hours a week of nursery for our under 3's for whatever reason but due to the ludicrous costs find it very hard to afford this. That's what's unfair, not so much free places for others on benefits or whatever. It breeds resentment among those who are over the threshold for help but can't afford to pay either. I really must move to Scandinavia. They can do childcare/pre school.

Mumof3xx Tue 03-Sep-13 16:07:39

Fakebook it wouldn't be the nurseries decision they don't decide who gets places its the local authority who make the decisions

Can't sleep I think you will get it

Owllady Tue 03-Sep-13 16:08:27

you are not a shite mother, you sound like a lovely mum who is trying her absolute best but running on empty

do you not qualify for carers allowance because of the dla?
have you got a local carers group? I know all areas differ, but it's worth checking out carers uk as they have carers cafes etc which are nice to go to to have a rest (I have taken all my children with me, they do your hair and nails and look after the kids for a few hours)
crossroads/home start might be worth trying?
has little ds been assessed properly by a multi disciplinary panel? do they know what is causing his delays?

sorry if that is a lot of questions

Mumof3xx Tue 03-Sep-13 16:09:06

I don't know how to make links work but if you can copy and paste that it lists 2014 eligibility criteria

Loa Tue 03-Sep-13 16:09:27

Usually 15 hours from 3 in this area with some families being able to access from 2 - but they had low incomes and additional issue - pnd, series illness in immediate family, development delays in the DC or in one case several younger DC.

To get offered the places they have to be on the radar of the child centre and attached nursery offering the service.

It really isn't about childcare for work.

cantsleep Tue 03-Sep-13 16:11:15

Pre school said def not that medical needs would not get ds any priority.

All dcs have gone to this pre school and they know our family circs and currently have dd there who has complex medical needs so they know how tough things arem we get direct payments for help with older dcs but I just worry so much about ds2.

Its just one of those things and just bad luck as far as I can tell.

If dh gave up work we would be on IS and hundreds of pounds better off ech month as we would then get HB/CTB, but he wants to keep on working which makes things so difficult although I admire him for wanting to I do sometimes think how much easier it would be/better for dcs with him here to help out too

Owllady Tue 03-Sep-13 16:13:47

cantsleep, your dh giving up work is not the answer, it sounds like you need more support in your carers role off outside support (which most of us do tbh)

Mumof3xx Tue 03-Sep-13 16:14:03

Could your pre school not be aware of 2014 changes?

Mumof3xx Tue 03-Sep-13 16:14:19

Try speaking to your hv

cantsleep Tue 03-Sep-13 16:14:51

Yes get carers but although all dcs get dla we are only allowed one lot of carers, unless dh gave up work then he could claim it once as well as 3 of dcs on higher rate for both.

I just feel like I'm doing a bad job when I had ds things were not as bad but one of my dds became v ill few months later resulting in him not getting as much attention as he should and I feel guilty

It annoys me that it is assumed that people on a low income must be depriving their kids at home so they should go to nursery at 2.

cantsleep Tue 03-Sep-13 16:16:59

I will ask pre school to look into 2014 changes thankyou

fffinsake Tue 03-Sep-13 16:23:08

I think YABU to be angry about this.

Here there are no nurseries, just preschools, so my "free 15 hours" is bollocks all use. I have to pay my CM for the 15 hours anyway. It's very unfair because if it was transferable so that it could be used to pay the CM or if my DC were in an all-day nursery setting then I'd save myself £75 a week. Calling it free childcare is disingenuous.

Little children whose parents are struggling on their own, on limited finances and in difficult circumstances are pretty deserving recipients of enrichment though.

OddBoots Tue 03-Sep-13 17:01:55

MurderOfGoths "Ah ok, looks like DS is too young to need to register him yet, but I've saved the link. OP in a funny way you've helped"

I don't know who you have spoken to MOG but do make sure you speak to the actual setting you'd like him to attend. I work in a pre-school and we already have a list of children who will be starting September 2014, some of whom are only 1 now but will get the 2 year funding under the criteria next year, some even younger who will start Christmas 2014 or even Easter 2015.

nicename Tue 03-Sep-13 17:12:47

Where I work there is a nursery and we send out forms to bumps (I'm not joking).

noisytoys Tue 03-Sep-13 17:18:11

DD is 2 and gets 15 hours free. Me and DH both work full time and we top up the hours. She has severe epilepsy (can have seizures all day every day), is way behind her peers as a result, has behaviour issues (suspected ASD) and generally spends her whole day fitting, sleeping or crying. I'd love to pay for all her childcare if it meant she didn't have those issues.

oddboots That's useful to know smile

expatinscotland Tue 03-Sep-13 17:37:03

OMG, life is unfair! Wow. Who'd have thunk it!? Diddums.

Wasting your life being angry or jealous over what you don't have is just that: a waste of life.

hazeyjane Tue 03-Sep-13 17:40:07

Can'tsleep - ds's preschool had said he wouldn't be eligible, because we don't qualify under income, but I called and they said that if a child is severely delayed, has complex medical issues and has a caf drawn up, the they would qualify (ds has all 3). Definitely call them yourselves.

I never bothered with nursery for dds until preschool at 3 and a half, but things are different for ds, I don't send him to get a break (hell, I have to go with him!) He is learning to socialise with other children, follow instructions and a routine. He accesses SALT, physio and OT - who all visit him in preschool.

Thankyou K8middleton, I am probably a bit touchy about this subject!!

MrsDeVere Tue 03-Sep-13 17:42:03

In our borough.
15 hours for 2 year olds if they meet the financial criteria.
15 hours for 2 year old regardless of income if they have additional needs or their family meet certain criteria.

So mental health issues, disability, bereavement, DV...

Basically if a family needs it they will get it.

If they don't need it they don't need it.

I have had two of my DCs in nursery at two under the scheme.

Lucky me. I meet the social criteria. I wish I fucking didn't.

Sirzy Tue 03-Sep-13 17:44:43

I think your line says it all MrsDeVere. It comes to something when people are jealous of a family who are most likely going through some sort of shit because they get a few hours a week childcare to help them and the child.

GingerBlackAndOriental Tue 03-Sep-13 17:46:25

How dare she have a house with a big garden, toys for her child and a friend to visit. Cheeky cow. hmm

She should live in a box room in a block of flats right? With nothing but empty cardboard boxes for her kids to play with of course. That's only what she deserves being on income support.

Have a bloody biscuit

froken Tue 03-Sep-13 17:51:03

I find it offensive that it is assumed that children of unemployed people will be disadvantaged. At the age of 2 kids don't need loads of money spent on activities and toys they just need engaged, caring parents who are willing to take the time to play with their dc.

It feels to me a little like the government trying to control tge way children are brought up.

In my opinion is should either be all children with sahp get free nursery ( even if that child has a very wealthy father and a sahm) or if tge family has no adults in employment.

Sirzy Tue 03-Sep-13 17:52:42

It may be offensive but it is also proven that certain groups are more likely to be disadvantaged which is why extra support is offered to those families.

strokey Tue 03-Sep-13 17:53:28

I think its scary. If its there out of neccesity, then its pretty tragic that so many people are having children into a situation where its so important that the child is in care 2 days a week that the government pay for it!

No wonder there is such a stigma about being on benefits

MrsDeVere Tue 03-Sep-13 18:01:43

People don't have to take up the place. Many don't.

Its an option and the reasoning is sound. I understand why people think its patronizing though.
But if it is to be offered there has to be a criteria. They have to base it on something and childhood poverty is a fairly reliable marker of low education attainment.

That is not to say that parents living in poverty don't care and don't try.

Even with my reservations about families being pushed into nursery, families being pathologised etc I still think this is a Good Thing.

I am being totally honest. I WISH we didn't need to make use of it. I am hugely grateful for it but I wish it was a luxury for us.

MrsDeVere Tue 03-Sep-13 18:04:03

The children are NOT 'in care' two days a week hmm

Most children simply go to a local nursery from 9-12 (or similar) five days a week.

Some families condense the hours and the children go for two full days.

DC4 went three long mornings, DC5 goes 5 mornings.

They are NOT in care ffs.

Kendodd Tue 03-Sep-13 18:04:45

So, if this mum got a job (and then actually needed childcare) she would loose the free place her child had and have to fund it herself? If that's the case YANBU that makes no sense to me.

MrsDeVere Tue 03-Sep-13 18:08:10

I doubt that would happen.

WilsonFrickett Tue 03-Sep-13 18:10:28

I agree Ken it is that part of it that is a bit mixed up. Using benefits as a marker is a pretty blunt instrument. If that mother then found a NMW job and lost her child's free nursery place it would be pretty hard for her to keep the actual job - and that doesn't make any sense at all.

Crumbledwalnuts Tue 03-Sep-13 18:12:21

Socialisation is a weak idea. But nursery for children in a household where no one works is good. Workless households are generally poorer education households, and some sort of early eduction will benefit the children thereof.

MrsDeVere Tue 03-Sep-13 18:12:51

But does it happen?

Once my children started nursery that was it.
No one has asked if my circumstances have changed. Besides, as soon as the children reach 3 they move into the standard 3 year funding.

OddBoots Tue 03-Sep-13 18:14:05

It may be different in different places but we have been assured that once a child had been given 2 year funding it will not be withdrawn at that would be disruptive for the child.

MrsDeVere Tue 03-Sep-13 18:14:15

Wilson if the mother was on a NMW job she wouldn't lose her nursery place because it is likely she would come in under the financial threshold.

Mumof3xx Tue 03-Sep-13 18:14:22

By working that mother would be entitled to working and childcare tax credits .......

MrsDeVere Tue 03-Sep-13 18:16:22
froken Tue 03-Sep-13 18:17:11

I think it would be better if parents were given free play sessions for them and their toddler.

MrsDeVere Tue 03-Sep-13 18:18:00

Very easy to find that link OP

WilsonFrickett Tue 03-Sep-13 18:20:10

Oh OK, that makes more sense then, thanks MrsD and Mum

Sparklymommy Tue 03-Sep-13 18:29:08

I have four children. I am a married, SAHM and have been since before dc2. Dc3 was a handful. Under the health visiting team after his two year check up due to his excess energy and issues. Including the fact the little monkey wouldn't sleep, had no sense of personal danger and kept me so exhausted all the time that I genuinely didn't think either of us would make it to him starting school.

Other than fortnightly visits from the hv who gave useless advice we were not offered any valuable support even though I had dc4 and at the time NO ONE would have him for me. Our whole family would have greatly benefitted from those 15 hours but they were never offered. He eventually started preschool on his third birthday and I paid for it until he got the funding three months later. The improvement for everyone was almost instant.

I also am against free childcare being offered to families who are on benefits. Perhaps a better idea would be free play sessions with the parent to encourage socialisation. For both parent and child.

Altinkum Tue 03-Sep-13 18:37:39

OP, I'm sorry but you're incorrect.

The 2+ is a allocation based on the child's needs.

It called path finder plus.

My son got it (both me and his dad work ft) because he is socially and physically behind by his peers. Roughly by about a year.

These places aren't so the parents sit around getting "free childcare" it's to a benefit the *child in getting additional help that helps the child*

In order to get this you need to get you're health visitor to apply to cafcass.

Me23 Tue 03-Sep-13 18:42:49

I agree with notinthemiddle, the assumption that low icons families cannot educate their children is insulting as is the need to patrol them in this way- as another poster pointing out is a cheaper way to uncover those who are being abused as if child abuse doesn't touch higher income families.

I myself would have being entitled to this as a single parent on a low income a few years back when dd was little but I was also educated to degree level and quite capable of stimulating my child. Plus I returned to work part time when my daughter was 12 months old and did receive tax credits to help with childcare.

However my own circumstances aside, in general it is good to offer this to parents who cannot afford childcare. As many higher income families send their children to nursery for a few sessions a week to help their child develop and to give themselves a break tbh.

Fast forward to our current situation My son is 2.6 and my partner has been a sahd to him since he was 7 months he would have liked to be able to send him to nursery once or teice a week but finances will not allow it but we are also over the 16k to be entitled to free place. The government can't afford to give every child a place.

MinesAPintOfTea Tue 03-Sep-13 18:44:52

froken but there isn't an infrastructure of parent and child play songs like there is of conventional nurseries.

Also isn't supervising how parent and child interact more controlling than giving the patent a few hours break and the child different apps teaching them things in a different way?

Especially as its entirely voluntary.

LEMisdisappointed Tue 03-Sep-13 18:48:30

Wow princess, you sound delightful - are you really envious of someone who is on benefits? hmm

AmberLeaf Tue 03-Sep-13 18:48:37

I think I'd find parent and child play sessions way more insulting/patronising than 15 hrs a week nursery sessions.

One is educating/socialising my child, the other is casting aspersions on my parenting capabilities.

M1SSUNDERSTOOD Tue 03-Sep-13 18:48:51

In Scotland the funding is categorised from birth for family centres/nursery is prioritised for band 1 - social work referrals/child protection band 2- health needs/Additional support needs/ multiples, band 3 - anyone who has attained the age of 3 can be considered for a place who lives in the catchment area band 4 - as above except outwith catchment areas.

I got a place when DS turned 3 and I was able to use it for childcare as they put two 2.5 sessions together in one day and also had a meal session in middle. Meant Ds was there 9-3.30 with the meal break. They were provided with meal too free of charge but did have a discretionary top up option for the wrap around care at lunchtime. No one ever paid this. I was also lucky in that I had put names down from birth but not "lucky" enough to be admitted until band 3 kicked in.

twistyfeet Tue 03-Sep-13 18:59:14

cantsleep, have you been in contact with your children's disability team? dd was given 15 hours a week from 2 (so shoot me) because of her severe disabilities at the local sn school. She didnt sleep and screamed 18 hours a day ad I was ready to jump off a bridge. They provided transport too.
But it all had to be done via a SN social worker.

Loa Tue 03-Sep-13 19:01:01

I think it would be better if parents were given free play sessions for them and their toddler.

Not as useful if the parent has younger DC and needs time to focus on these DC, or catch up on sleep if the DC in the session doesn't sleep, or access help for them or their DC in this time when the DC aren’t around. All of which people I know who got these session from 2 did these activities did at some point.

From what I understand from sure start workers I know - the parents you'd want to turn up to the kind of session you propose don't - but are more willing to leave their DC by themselves though not always regularly.

Also the setting I know that gave sessions from 2 - is a children centre with attached nursury and it also did toddler sessions with accompanying staff, who would jump in and offer support and ideas, were free to people on benefits anyway.

homebakedflapjack Tue 03-Sep-13 19:03:21

I agree with the OP, and she hasn't said a word about the people - they are her friends. She's querying the system. That's allowed without being called "nasty" isn't it? confused

MissOtisRegretsMadam Tue 03-Sep-13 19:07:52

Hi I run a nursery room in a childrens centre that is exclusively for the 2 year olds receiving free 2 year old offer places.

I see it from both sides. I home visit every one of the 32 children before they start. It is a mixed bag. Some of the children have additional needs and due to their age are at the early stage of diagnosis and are their parents are often coming to terms with their child's needs so the free place is a lifeline for them as we can help get other agencies involved and help parents find support as well as a well deserved break.

Most of the children are referrals and are receiving family support for a variety of issues such as domestic violence, drug and alcohol, mental health issues. Some families are asylum seekers who can have a discretionary place as they are sometimes are not entitled to state benefits.

A few families are not being totally honest and are probably claiming to be single parents when they have a working partner but if they have the paperwork to say they can have a place then they get a place. They are committing benefit fraud and are risking being caught.

Most of the houses I often don't see any toys let alone books. Some children arrive to us at 2 never having said a single word. Some are starving at snack time. Lots come dressed in inappropriate clothes for the weather. Lots are poorly due to damp housing. After some home visits I feel that no children should have to live the way some of them do.

A lot of the parents have low levels of numeracy and literacy and are able to attend basic skill classes whilst their children attend their nursery place. Some go see the debt advisor, some attending counselling appointments or go to a sewing class to meet other parents who become friends.

I believe these free sessions make a difference to families that need it. There will always be some who technically meet the criteria but don't really need it but that's the same with all benefits I suppose.

Me and my dp work full time and get no help with childcare so I can see why people think its unfair. But I can honestly say the majority of children accessing the places really do need it and it does improve their outcomes.

DollyClothespeg Tue 03-Sep-13 19:08:49

Sounds stupid to me. You don't need to go to nursery at the age of two. Why can't you wait until the age of 3 when you know, everyone goes?! confused
I don't get the "disadvantaged kids need extra time at school." That actually sounds quite patronising and insulting to those on benefits to me.
"You're on income support so your child is disadvantaged being at home and needs to go to school quicker as you're obviously incapable of raising him/her properly and they're obviously going to fall apart and to pieces and have the social skills of a flea if they don't go a year early. hmm

Awomansworth Tue 03-Sep-13 19:12:39

I've no issue with the scheme in principle. I just don't get the argument that it's to socialise the child.

Surely there are just as many parents out there where one partner works but due to their income being low, can't afford costly hours for their under 3's. Do these children not need to socialise then.

My sisters neighbour has 3 under 3's (2d pregnancy was twins) her DH works two jobs just to pay their mortgage and other outgoings. He is out of the house for most of the day/evening plus week-end. She has no family to support her and is living on her nerves mainly.

I appreciate she isn't a LP, but can see how she would feel angry about not being deemed in need of this scheme, when she clearly is.

Sirzy Tue 03-Sep-13 19:14:40

The problem is there isn't the funding to provide the scheme for everyone so it is given to those deemed to have the greatest need. That means that someone will always miss out unfortunatly but that is no reason to not allow it for those who need it more.

generally it is about a lot more than just socialisation.

Crumbledwalnuts Tue 03-Sep-13 19:14:53

Dollyclothespeg, but it's true that workless households generally have a poorer education level. That's a generalisation and is obviously not true of every workless household. But the idea is, I'm sure, that if such children are brought on, then it benefits everyone. I'm sure that is what's behind it. No question.

twistyfeet Tue 03-Sep-13 19:14:55

Thankyou for that post MissOtis

BakeOLiteGirl Tue 03-Sep-13 19:15:08

I had one of these places for my son and I have to say it probably saved us both. It's bloody hard work being a single parent with a child with difficulties. This place probably stopped me going seriously mad and gave him space he needed.

Now things are good three years on and I run my own business. I can't for the life of me imagine why anyone would want to have my struggles just to get a few hours free childcare.

I was offered something similar for my second child but turned it down because at that point I felt there were other people who needed it more.

MissOtisRegretsMadam Tue 03-Sep-13 19:18:33

I agree sirzy. If you live in an area of low deprivation people who are not "needy" will get the places as they can
Qualify by having a low income that doesn't necessarily mean low parenting skill.

I work in an area of very high deprivation and most of the 84 places go to families where there is either family support, social services involvement or health needs so nearly all "needy" families.

MissOtisRegretsMadam Tue 03-Sep-13 19:20:57

Lovely post bake

2468Motorway Tue 03-Sep-13 19:30:35

I agree with bubbles.

It is because child care is so expensive that it can cause resentment. Silly though as only children in need get it. It's not because the mum would like some time off. Helping kids get on helps everyone in society so it's definately worth it.

The 'socialisation' argument is principally about the need to develop children's language skills really. Statistically*, children from deprived backgrounds are likely to start school with considerably less developed language skills than children from more affluent homes. This is a massive problem because it makes it very difficult for them to access the curriculum at all, and contributes to lower attainment throughout the education system.

So the government target educational provision for 2 year olds from deprived backgrounds (as determined by eligibility for certain benefits, because it's very difficult to develop more nuanced tools in social policy) and offer them free places in early years education. The idea is to develop these children's language skills so that they start school at less of a disadvantage than they might otherwise have. The hope is that this will mean that they leave the education system with far better outcomes because of this 'early intervention'.

This is also why children with disabilities are (sometimes) eligible for this kind of funding, although the aim will be to develop more than just language skills.

It has absolutely nothing to do with child care. And whether it is 'fair' or not is caught up in bigger questions about social justice than 'why are they getting something I'm not'.

*Note: the fact that this is based on statistics means that it is generally true, even if your DC were taking on the local university debate club at 4 / writing their own novels despite you being in the category being targeted. Individual cases do not disprove a statistical relationship.

Awomansworth Tue 03-Sep-13 20:02:34

I see the reasoning behind the scheme...

However there have been a number of people post on this thread stating their dc have qualified and they certainly don't sound like their dc would be disadvantaged in the language department. I get that they might be in the minority though.

I appreciate there will be always be a line in the sand whereby you qualify or don't, and I really don't have any issue with the scheme I was just pointing out that I could see how some would feel penalised when there was a clear case of need.

Sirzy Tue 03-Sep-13 20:04:06

They may be disadvantaged in other ways. People shouldn't have to reveal their private lives just to stop people being jealous that they are getting a service provided to help their family.

There is good research evidence that children from low income families suffer disproportionately from language delay, and have considerably less well developed vocabularies than children from high income families (some research suggests poorer children are 16 months behind those from more affluent families by the time they get to school). It is a big problem and there are quite a lot of initiatives in place to address it (e.g. Every child a talker, as well as the funded early years places for 2 year olds).

The main difficulty is in explaining what the scheme is without alienating those it is aimed at. The end result is that you get resentment from those who don't qualify and confusion over what the purpose of the scheme is.

katese11 Tue 03-Sep-13 20:22:37

I have some sympathy with the OP, as someone else who would have to pay more in childcare than I was earning after I had dc2. It seemed mad to me that I had to pay in order to work, but other people didn't work and got free places. As it happened, I've been extremely lucky and got work I can do from home with kids around, but that's beside the point.

I just wonder why it's based on income, not needs - if a child needs to go to nursery, they should be offered a free place regardless of family income. And from your responses, I wonder if I've got the wrong end of the stick and it is assessed on needs, rather than just being given to anyone on benefits. I know my friend with a child with SEN was offered a free place and they are certainly not poor. So, is it a dual thing? Some places go to poorer families, some go to families of children with particular needs? Am genuinely interested to know.

Some places go to children with SN and some to poor children. This is based on need. It's just that the needs is assessed at population level rather than on an individual basis. As with everything else, it's cheaper to base it on something like whether you receive certain benefits than it is to screen everyone and determine need. Of course, the alternative would be to make it universal. But that's very expensive too.

katese11 Tue 03-Sep-13 20:31:23

Thanks, Arbitrary!

MrsDeVere Tue 03-Sep-13 21:03:53

My two dcs who used the scheme do not have SN.
In fact they are rather bright.
My OH and I are engaged and loving parents.
My DCs have plenty of toys.
Both my OH and I work (part time)

Why they qualified is no one's business but ours.

But they did. It has been a wonderful help to us.

Even without knowing anyone else's circumstances on this thread I know you would not wish to be in our position.

These threads come up a lot on MN and NM. What the hell is wrong with people?
So some people get an extra 15 hours for one year for their children. In fact by the end of 2014 it will be 2 in five families who qualify.

When my 3 other children were in nursery, no-one got anything. You don't catch me moaning that everyone gets 15hrs for their 3 year olds.

I think its great. I am glad that even the much better off among you get something that I had to work almost a whole week to pay for.

Stop bloody moaning and just be happy for people why can't you?

JoinYourPlayfellows Tue 03-Sep-13 21:19:20

"Stop bloody moaning and just be happy for people why can't you?"

I'm not sure it's really fair to demand that people be happy for people they see benefitting from something that would really benefit them but that they don't qualify for because they are too diligent.

The OP works herself. She obviously doesn't earn a lot if she has had to cut her hours and work evenings and weekends to avoid having to pay any childcare.

Of course it feels (and is) unfair that someone just like her who doesn't work can put their child into childcare and spend the child-free having some leisure time.

Designing a welfare system involves trade offs between offering useful services to those that need them and encouraging people to be self-reliant and hard-working.

The OP is on the sharp end of a scheme which is supposed to even out educational disadvantage.

The "early years education" on offer is indistinguishable from what working people use as childcare.

So that is obviously going to create a problem when those working people are having to work less because they can't afford childcare that people who don't work are getting for free.

That is an obviously problematic situation and insisting that people should be happy about it strikes me as quite bizarre.

Charlottehere Tue 03-Sep-13 21:20:40

I think it's fair if the child is in need ie not meeting milestones. However, why should a family on benefits automatically get it? confused

Charlottehere Tue 03-Sep-13 21:22:33

Nope I won't be happy about it.

Sirzy Tue 03-Sep-13 21:22:39

Its not a case of not getting it because you are too diligent, it is not getting it because you are lucky enough not to be in such a shit position.

I know one person who gets the free childcare for her 2 year old, given her life I wouldn't resent them a second of it.

PoshCat Tue 03-Sep-13 21:24:37

My DD qualified for 15 hours of free childcare from the age of 2 because she had (and still does have) severe speech delay and learning difficulties.

What a lucky, jammy bastard I am. hmm

WestieMamma Tue 03-Sep-13 21:26:00

I think it's fair if the child is in need ie not meeting milestones. However, why should a family on benefits automatically get it?

Because they are more likely to be isolated from their peers. No soft play. No baby/toddler swimming. No bus rides to the park. No afternoons annoying chatting to the waitress in the cafe. And so and so on.

Talkinpeace Tue 03-Sep-13 21:28:04

Turn it around.

The hours that those children are away from their feckless mothers they are being taught life skills like sharing, speaking clearly, waiting in turn, sitting still
so that when they start school with your DCs they are not disruptive in the classroom.

Would you rather any issues were identified at age 2 or wait till age 4 when you are trying to get your kids up the reading levels in the same room?

MrsDeVere Tue 03-Sep-13 21:29:02

What do you mean 'too diligent'?
Do you really think that is why some people work and other don't or some people qualify and other's don't?

What a blinkered way of looking at life.

How sad.

AND as I keep saying it is not just about benefits. It will be even LESS so by the end of 2014. A family's income will have to be under around 16k to qualify if there are no other issues.

Perhaps that means they are not diligent enough to earn more money?

Charlottehere Tue 03-Sep-13 21:29:45

westiemama I know what your saying, however we can't afford baby swimming lessons, baby signing etc but we don't get fuck all anything. I have 4 children, very little support and dh works long hours.

Theincidental Tue 03-Sep-13 21:31:03

In my whole district there are 20 places for this scheme. I had to jump through endless fucking hoops to get my son one of those places. As a single parent with no support locally and no free childcare opportunities it's pretty essential for me... And I work part time whilst he's at nursery.

My son is thriving, has friends, has a brilliant educational start.

It's my understanding that this is to be rolled out to everyone with a child aged 2-3 in due course.

I'm sorry if you are feeling left out OP but you really have no idea how hard it is being on your own 24/7 and not being able to give your child even a little bit of nursery time or play group access because you can't afford it.

And before anyone jumps on me for not planning financially before I had a child; I didn't have a choice.

I love son dearly and I will fight for him to have every opportunity he can and if anyone thinks 11 hours a week to work is a luxury, then you must be fricking joking.

WestieMamma Tue 03-Sep-13 21:31:11

I'm a jammy bastard too. I've been told by my HV that my son will get some provision from when he's 1. This is because I'm autistic and struggle with verbal communication and they don't want him to be held back by it. I'm very willing to give this place to anyone who wants it so long as they take the autism too. Any takers?

Talkinpeace Tue 03-Sep-13 21:35:32

There is a thread on AIBU about Jon Venables and people were lamenting the fact that early interventions had not sorted his situation out before he took out his issues on James Bulger.

The sort of scheme that OP is complaining about is exactly what Jon Venables did not get.

Make your minds up ladies.

Sirzy Tue 03-Sep-13 21:38:06

But Charlotte. There are people an awful lot worse off than you, people for whom being able to not go swimming with their child is the last of their worries. Life may be hard for you but you can gurantee that for those who get this extra support it is a hell of a lot harder.

MrsDeVere Tue 03-Sep-13 21:38:07

Given the way older parent are spoken to on MN if they dare mention what it was like when their children were young,

I wonder how those in receipt of the 3 year funding would feel if we all started a thread along the lines of 'AIBU to think its NOT FAIR that all these mums get free places for their children when we didn't get anything like that for our kids? WHY SHOULD THEY?'

Quite rightly we would get told that we should be pleased that things were made that much easier for parents now.

What is the difference with this?

It is one academic year that people get. It doesn't include the holidays. It is 15 hours.

Yet those in comfortable positions still moan about it. Why? Because they haven't got it, they might not even want it, but they don't want anyone else to have it either.

Solopower1 Tue 03-Sep-13 21:38:40

It sounds like a very good scheme to me. I wish it could be extended to anyone who wants it. But just because not everyone gets it doesn't mean that some shouldn't get it, iyswim.

candycoatedwaterdrops Tue 03-Sep-13 21:39:48

I bet if the OP's children were eligible, she wouldn't be querying the scheme. hmm

JoinYourPlayfellows Tue 03-Sep-13 21:42:09

"Do you really think that is why some people work and other don't or some people qualify and other's don't?"

Um, no I don't think that, so not sure why you put the "really" in there.

You've just entirely invented what you imagine I think.

I used the word "diligent" because the OP works.

She lives the kind of life our society claims to value - she works hard and tries to support her family without resort to benefits.

Of course it smarts if she sees other people who don't work (for whatever reason) getting help that she could really do with but can't get BECAUSE SHE WORKS.

It seems to her (quite rightly in this case) that working is putting her at a disadvantage.

And far from thinking that there are people who don't work because it is not worth it financially for them to bother, I know for a fact that there are people who make that choice. I'm related to some of them.

And TBH I don't think there is anything particularly problematic morally about choosing not to work if you can claim benefits that leave you better off.

Acknowledging that a benefits system can lead to unfair outcomes doesn't in any way imply a criticism of the existence of such a system or of the people who use it (pretty much all of us in one way or another).

expatinscotland Tue 03-Sep-13 21:42:31

'I have 4 children, very little support and dh works long hours.'

This is why a lot of people limit their families.


JoinYourPlayfellows Tue 03-Sep-13 21:44:20

"Yet those in comfortable positions still moan about it."


It's not (generally) people in comfortable positions who moan about this kind of thing.

It's people who are struggling (such as the OP) and for whom it would really help.

MissOtisRegretsMadam Tue 03-Sep-13 21:45:20

Another thing to add. One home visit I went on the child was in the early stages of being assessed for autism also mum was a lone parent with 3 other children one being a young baby. Anyway the house was beautiful... Massive tv corner sofa, electrical gadgets etc. It had all being bought from bright house and doorstep lenders whatever it's called before her partner walked out and left her... She looked as if she had it all to an outsider but she had loan sharks and debt collectors knocking on her door everyday.

Charlottehere Tue 03-Sep-13 21:45:25

Haha expat.....or have loads of kids and claim benefits and get free childcare. grin stepping away from thread.

LimitedEditionLady Tue 03-Sep-13 21:46:29

It is so the child can go to nursery and be introduced to a early education setting and interact with others.Its nit available in every part of the country.These kids ate classed as disadvantaged due to the lower income so yes perhaos their parents dont work ir work very few hours but how can this not be a good thing for these children?Its not so the parents can have a free babysitter,its for the childs interest.I bet not every family does take this offer but i bet it has helped in a lot of situations.I work part time partly so my ds can go nursery because I think it is a really good thing for him so is it not a great thing to give kids who wouldnt have this chance the opportunity.Its not something to feel you have suffered misjusticed about.

LimitedEditionLady Tue 03-Sep-13 21:46:49


MrsDeVere Tue 03-Sep-13 21:46:56

The op has a job and so does her OH. She has a year to cover before she gets free childcare for her twins.

When I had my DD and DS1 I worked full time to pay for their childminder and nursery and my OH's wages paid for everything else.

But we had to do that for years, not A year.

expatinscotland Tue 03-Sep-13 21:47:08

'Haha expat.....or have loads of kids and claim benefits and get free childcare. grin stepping away from thread.'

Sure! Definitely. And those baby singing and swimming lessons you were on about.

katese11 Tue 03-Sep-13 21:47:17

I'm not angry at anyone, it just seemed a bit odd to me that I couldn't work when I wanted to because of childcare costs. Is that really something to be told off about? I certainly wasn't judging anyone's individual circumstances.

In my circumstances, I didn't have a 2yo, but I did have a 3yo who had his part-time place (2.5hrs every afternoon - not enough to work). To top him up to full-time would have cost me £100 p/week, plus childcare for my baby. Didn't earn enough to cover it so couldn't go back to work. I was just wondering if it'd make more sense to let people like me have the extra hours so we could earn enough to pay taxes? Isn't that hoe healthy economies work? As it is, I don't pay tax cause I don't earn enough....the whole system seems a bit backwards. Childcare for working mothers should be an investment into future economy building, no? I know I am way oversimplifying btw

MrsDeVere Tue 03-Sep-13 21:47:34

Or get a job charlotte.

hazeyjane Tue 03-Sep-13 21:48:09

Yay me

I can't go back to work because my ds has such bad separation anxiety that I go to preschool with him. He is completely non verbal, has delayed understanding, has lots of sensory issues, has no real interest in other children, has low muscle tone, recurring pneumonia, aspirates food and reflux into his lungs, he has seizures......

He got 2 year funding.Yay.Me.

MrsDeVere Tue 03-Sep-13 21:49:03

Hang on

you already get free hours but you want to have the free hours of someone else too?


Because you think you are the only one who wants to work?

Sirzy Tue 03-Sep-13 21:49:04

But its not about allowing parents to work. It is about supporting children who are more 'at risk'. I don't understand why people struggle to understand that?

Charlottehere Tue 03-Sep-13 21:51:16

Right can't stay away.hmm mrsdevere so let's get this right, I should get a job even though dh works full time and I would no finically help with that but people on benefits should not get a job but free childcare. hmm

Such an entitled view

Charlottehere Tue 03-Sep-13 21:52:25

Sadly some scrounges people want it all ways. Over and out

BakeOLiteGirl Tue 03-Sep-13 21:52:35

This is such a sad thread. I live in a fairly deprived area and the type of people who get these places really do need it. I think it's also really hard to imagine the isolation being at home alone 24 hours a day with a child if you have not experienced it. It's not all about having the children gone for some leisure time. It can be a lifeline in so many ways.

Sirzy Tue 03-Sep-13 21:52:47

Charlotte, there it isn't MrsDeVere with the entitled view. That would actually be you!

MrsDeVere Tue 03-Sep-13 21:53:14

joinyourplayfellows if the OP is working and has children she is very likely to be in receipt of benefits.

And you seem to be ignoring (as do many others) that these hours are NOT only for those that do not work.

Like my family for example and many of the families who I refer to this service.

The idea that these hours are only for feckless mothers who don't give a toss about their kids and want to shove them 'in care' may be an attractive one to many but it is rubbish.

expatinscotland Tue 03-Sep-13 21:53:50

We didn't get 2-year-old funding because everything went tits up when DS was 3. Damn! So no one else should get it, either [stamps foot].

JoinYourPlayfellows Tue 03-Sep-13 21:53:59

"It is about supporting children who are more 'at risk'. I don't understand why people struggle to understand that?"

People don't struggle to understand that.

Any more than they struggle to understand that school doesn't exist to provide free childcare.

And yet somehow when children start school childcare bills fall dramatically.

People can understand that the scheme is to provide early years education and still still think that their kid deserves the same access to early years education as the kid next door whose parents don't work.

If putting your child at greater risk (as perceived by the people who make these decisions) gets them extra education, then people at the margins are going to have opinions about that.

MrsDeVere Tue 03-Sep-13 21:54:57

Charlotte you are the one bitching about not being able to afford special lessons for your four kids and your poor husband working long hours.

One solution would be for you to get a job surely?

How is that me being entitled confused

Yes, it has absolutely nothing to do with childcare and supporting people in to work. That's a completely separate issue.

katese11 Tue 03-Sep-13 21:56:33

It just seems a crazy system, that's all I'm saying. As it is I'm working from home every evening (and cough really should be working now, not on Mumsnet) because I didn't have childcare. That's just how it worked out - I look after my kids, during the day, work when they're asleep, get little free time or sleep.

I'm not complaining about anything or saying that I personally am owed anything - just saying that if more investment was put into childcare, more people would be able to work and there would be more taxes paid, which would create more money for things like childcare.

Am I really talking crazy talk?!

Theincidental Tue 03-Sep-13 21:56:44


I get the funding and I work in a shite low paid job because I want to keep a foothold on the career ladder and earn even though it only benefits me by £60 a month to do so. That £60 is my food shopping for the month and without the two hour funding I wouldn't even get that.

Before I had a child I had a shit hot job and then I lost it because it was impossible to do as a lone parent.

I honestly don't get why people begrudge others so much.

I am working to change my child's future and he is thriving in nursery. How, how is that a bad thing?

Sirzy Tue 03-Sep-13 21:57:13

Join, the obviously do struggle to understand it. All peoples complaining screams of is "what about me" without giving thought to why people are getting that extra help.

candycoatedwaterdrops Tue 03-Sep-13 21:57:21

I'm worried about some people's eye sight. sad

LimitedEditionLady Tue 03-Sep-13 21:58:22

The fact of the matter is this is how life works here,if you can afford to pay for it you have to pay for it.If everyone got free hours from two you would only end up paying for it through some other means,tax etc.I couldve been a SAHM with a bit of a struggle and ds wouldve not gone to nursery but I wanted to give him that time with children and following EYFS because I think it will give him a structure.Yes its hard paying fees out and not earning much of a wage but Im looking forward to when at three he will get the hours free and I will be very grateful for that because to me thats fabulous.I will also continue to be grateful for his free schooling and that he has that opportunity when thousands across the world get fuck all.Every kid deserves the best start.

WestieMamma Tue 03-Sep-13 21:58:40

Sadly some scrounges people want it all ways.

I'm not a scrounger sad

<takes goat and leaves>

JoinYourPlayfellows Tue 03-Sep-13 22:00:19

"The idea that these hours are only for feckless mothers who don't give a toss about their kids and want to shove them 'in care' may be an attractive one to many but it is rubbish."


I certainly have never said anything of the kind, and that doesn't even come close to what I think about this.

I just don't think it's that hard to understand why the OP might be pissed off that she can't access free childcare that her neighbours can get, even though she needs childcare and they don't.

To the point where she has had to cut her work hours.

So her family is losing out financially, her kids are going without, because of a combination of high childcare costs and low wages.

It looks to her (with some justification) as though there is money there to help with childcare but that she can't access it because she has a job.

It's sort of weird that you are insisting that she have sympathy for other families in difficult situations while you appear to have none whatsoever for her.

JoinYourPlayfellows Tue 03-Sep-13 22:02:24


It is indistinguishably from free childcare.

It's free.

It is childcare.

The fact that it is offered for other purposes doesn't change that.

People who can spot the similarity between two identical things aren't stupid.

hettienne Tue 03-Sep-13 22:03:53

All children get 15 hours of early education from 3.
Disadvantaged children get 15 hours of early education from 2.

One extra year of education for disadvantaged children to help close the gap between disadvantaged and more advantaged children.

I really can't believe anyone would begrudge small children this confused

Sirzy Tue 03-Sep-13 22:04:14

But the op doesn't even know why this woman is getting the help. All she knows is that the mum has apparently told someone else it is to do with the benefits she is on. I wouldn't be surprised if the real situation was much more complex than that, but it's much easier to judge the situation based on gossip than consider perhaps they really need the support they are getting.

katese11 Tue 03-Sep-13 22:04:36

*It is indistinguishably from free childcare.

It's free.

It is childcare.*

Thanks! I thought I was the only one who saw that...

The free childcare aspects of it are simply a byproduct. Same as when the children's centre offers a free crèche so people will attend parenting classes.

jessieagain Tue 03-Sep-13 22:06:16

I haven't read the whole thread but I just wanted to say that people shouldn't really be speculating and then passing judegment on other people's lives and financial situations.

Do you really have the full facts about their situations? hmm

My ds (2 years) goes to nursery 2 days a week and I don't work. People who don't know us might speculate that I'm a non working single parents as dp works away often.

But we actually pay for his nursery as he benefits from it socially (and I'm actually looking for work, although that process is a little slow at present confused )

I think in cases like this it is best to mind your own business, do what you can to help your dc and try not to compare your situation with others.

Or are we going to start gnashing teeth because the feckless get free childcare so they can attend parenting classes too? Ooh, the luxury.

brdgrl Tue 03-Sep-13 22:06:24

1. It's not childcare.
2. There is a mountain of verifiable scientific research to back up the idea of early childhood intervention - both the need for it and the effectiveness of it.
3. Thinking that it would be nice if your child would qualify, so that you could have a bit more free time as a SAHM is not the same thing as your child being in need.
4. People living on low incomes are not all the same. They are not scroungers, or lacking in 'diligence', nor are they all immigrants or irresponsible breeders. They are people living on low incomes. If you would prefer life on that side of the fence, it is surprisingly easy to attain, you know. Just apply yourself with a bit more diligence.

MrsDeVere Tue 03-Sep-13 22:07:07

And its weird that you keep ignoring the fact that people CAN get the hours if they are working.

katese11 Tue 03-Sep-13 22:07:36

OK, here's an alternate scenario and I'll try and separate this from my earlier posts (i.e. the whole crazy wanting to go to work thing).

What about children who have potential needs that are only picked up at nursery, which they start at 3? Because of the length of time these things take (assessments etc), it means they're starting school without a firm diagnosis and support. Would children like that have benefited from an earlier start in education?

Sirzy Tue 03-Sep-13 22:09:48

Kate - the children who get this will have severe additional needs and in most cases that will be picked up younger.

It's not going to be available (yet) to all children with additional needs.

Salbertina Tue 03-Sep-13 22:10:15

Yabu, their kids need it and can benefit hugely.

MrsDeVere Tue 03-Sep-13 22:11:11

kate one of the criteria for a 2 year place is developmental delay regardless of income.

So I don't think you need to worry about that.

You can get 'free childcare' if your child's SN are sufficient that you qualify for respite. It is childcare (in the sense that someone else looks after your kids for you) and it is free, so in this regard it is also indistinguishable from free childcare. Many people in this situation do not work (for a range of complex reasons) too.

Is this also unfair?

Xmasbaby11 Tue 03-Sep-13 22:12:20

OP, I sympathise. I can't imagine how you cope with working at home around twins. I think the childcare costs in this country are shocking and it is hardest for people on a medium income who .

I don't think OP is annoyed with the family in question - just the system. Some people may feel they need help despite not being technically disadvantaged.

MrsDeVere Tue 03-Sep-13 22:12:38

sirzy children with developmental delay can access the places. They don't need to have servere SN.

LimitedEditionLady Tue 03-Sep-13 22:13:12

Its not classed as free childcare!its not for the parents,its not with the intention of helping the parents it is to offer a child in a low income family access to education.Most children will have 9- 12 oclock places in a nursery.This time is for learning.Maybe people think that the only reason the parents take the kids to their free place is to offload their kids?Is that right?
I know a girl who got a place and it took an hour to get there and walk back home.She did it though,walked there and home and again at the end of three hours.Hardly a rest is it.

MissOtisRegretsMadam Tue 03-Sep-13 22:14:56

Yes katese they can and do. By oct half term last year I had done 11 SALT referrals. We can also ask for a pre 5 assessment teacher to come and observe a child too if we have concerns.

LimitedEditionLady Tue 03-Sep-13 22:15:39

Shouldnt hv pick up on SN if there are pointers to indicate it?If a parent doesnt notice anything then how will anyone else?

katese11 Tue 03-Sep-13 22:16:00

Sirzy, you may have guessed that I'm talking about one of my dc here! (Again, separate from the working issue) He is being assessed for autism now, but because he wasn't in formal education till 3 and he's a summer baby (so only had 3 terms at preschool) it wasn't picked up until late on, and that means he's starting primary school without a diagnosis.

But he is a borderline case, so doesn't have severe additional needs. So, I'm guessing he wouldn't have had the extra time anyway from the info in your post (didn't realise before...tbh haven't thought about it that much. But this thread got me wondering) He was with a childminder back when I only had him and so could afford to go to work, but she wasn't an expert in SEN and so didn't pick it up.

Again, just a thought. I forget sometimes that MN isn't the ideal place to think out loud without fear of attack...

katese11 Tue 03-Sep-13 22:16:56

Oh, and he had language delay but hvs etc assured me it was just because of the childminder using a 2nd language to him.

hazeyjane Tue 03-Sep-13 22:17:27

Has had an initial assessment or an identified need for a planned programme of intensive intervention e.g. a life-threatening or life limiting illness to a child and/or significant developmental delay (child)

This is the qualifying criteria, in our area, wrt additional needs.

The child has to have significant delay this would be noticed before 2.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 03-Sep-13 22:20:22

I was reading about this last night and found it absolutely disgusting the way the report made out that because families are on low incomes their children will fare worse than those with higher earnings. An example was given that at 2.5 a difference can be seen and that extra resources were to be given to those on lower income, eventually making it widespread for all 2.5 year olds.
It is also to include adopted and looked after children, I'm sure there was another group but didn't take too much notice as doesn't concern me.

LimitedEditionLady Tue 03-Sep-13 22:20:35

My nephew went to nursery and they tried to say he had SEN when he didnt.Difficult isnt it.

MrsDeVere Tue 03-Sep-13 22:20:43

Your son would have qualified for a place.

If he had delays.

There is no guarantee that his ASD would have been picked up if he had started nursery at 2 or 1 or 6mths.

If your son is on the mild end of the spectrum it would be difficult to get a firm dx at 2. It is possible but not always the case.

Most children we dx with ASD go to nursery on a two year placement as a result of that dx rather than being sent to us by the nursery.

MissOtisRegretsMadam Tue 03-Sep-13 22:22:53

Sometimes health visitors don't pick up on it though as they don't spend much time with the child. I phoned a hv and she had never seen the child awake as whenever she visited the child was napping (one of our concerns was the amount the child was sler

hettienne Tue 03-Sep-13 22:22:53

morethan - why is it disgusting? There is a clear link between socio-economic disadvantage and educational underachievement, so why not try to address this with early intervention?

katese11 Tue 03-Sep-13 22:23:15

LimitedEditionLady I know what you mean - I'm not 100% convinced he has SEN, but nursery saw enough to concern them.

I just feel if we'd had more time on this, working with nursery before he had to leave for school things would have been so much smoother. Being assessed in the summer hols between nursery and school is not ideal!

MissOtisRegretsMadam Tue 03-Sep-13 22:23:59

Sorry! Sleeping!

When you see a child everyday you notice more and speak to the parents more too.

MrsDeVere Tue 03-Sep-13 22:24:06

significant delay is open to interpretation, particularly in very young children.

I am able to make referrals for children who have global delay. This may mean that they are slightly behind in all aspects of their development but are not classed as severely disabled.

In fact the children who are severely disabled tend to take up placements at the local special schools because of the nursing support they can offer.

A lot of the children with places for development delay would not particularly stand out in a room full of 2-3 year olds.

katese11 Tue 03-Sep-13 22:25:42

I didn't particularly want to bring his assessment up, as it's so up in the air and uncertain....but there seemed to be people here who might know something about it, so worth an ask!

Chunderella Tue 03-Sep-13 22:30:45

Though I'm a strong supporter of the free hours programme, I think some of the pasting OP has been getting is rather unfair. At least one of the people dishing it out is, to my recollection, financially quite comfortable and could stand to put themselves in the shoes of someone less fortunate just as much as OP could. Of course someone who would like to work and can't do so because of childcare is going to covet 15 free hours. And it is free childcare, it's disingenuous to the point of stupidity to dispute this. While that isn't the intention behind the policy, it is very obviously one of the effects. It involves children being in a childcare setting, looked after by early years professionals, at no charge to the parent. Which makes it free childcare. Clearly if OP were able to access it, she would be able to benefit from the free childcare aspect of the programme and her life would be better than it is now. She'd be a saint not to be jealous.

Oh, and for the people claiming that the policy rewards fecklessness, you have no idea. The truly feckless can't be arsed to access it despite their entitlement: I have a family member whose 2 year old DC desperately needs the free hours and is entitled to them, but she can't be fucked getting up in the morning to do the drop off.

JoinYourPlayfellows Tue 03-Sep-13 22:48:34

"And its weird that you keep ignoring the fact that people CAN get the hours if they are working."

I'm not ignoring that fact at all.

I have said nothing at all about my own thoughts about the scheme.

Someone else seems to imagine that I think it is unfair in some way that this childcare is offered to people who are deemed to need it, which is not the case at all.

The point I am making is that it could SEEM unfair to someone who was unable to work because they couldn't afford childcare.

Particularly if the person they know in receipt of this childcare was not working.

IMO it really, really matters that our benefits system is seen to be as fair as possible.

Creating a situation where it can be perceived that if you don't work you get more help with childcare, is very far from ideal if we care about (and I very much do) maintaining public support for social insurance and the welfare state.

It is silly, not to mention incredibly patronising, to keep insisting that it is not childcare. If the OP got those hours, she could afford to work more.

I doubt she would care very much whether it was given as childcare or early years intervention. If she could pay her bills more easily at the end of the month, it would be fine whichever it was.

I'm surprised, and saddened, by the complete lack of sympathy for a woman who has had to cut her work hours because she can't afford childcare.

I would have thought most women would consider that to be a pretty shitty situation.

And it does raise questions about what childcare is being made available and what we can do to provide more support for working mothers in low wage jobs.

Or indeed all families with childcare needs, of any kind.

Being that families with children have been repeatedly the ones losing out during this period of elective "austerity".

JoinYourPlayfellows Tue 03-Sep-13 22:50:09

Thanks, Chunder, that's pretty much what I was trying to say.

Chunderella Tue 03-Sep-13 22:52:12

Also, free nursery hours for 3 year olds is by no means a new thing. I know it wasn't a national scheme until quite recently, but my own local authority provided this back in the 80s. I was a beneficiary, which is one of the reasons I support both the universal entitlement for 3 year olds and the provision for some 2 year olds.

williaminajetfighter Tue 03-Sep-13 22:53:36

As one poster stated up the thread, what really is the difference between 'early education' and child are when it comes to a 2 year old? Most child care providers will have targets and programs that they work to. Truly how different is it?

It sounds however like a real nanny state interventionist scheme to catch problems early. So honestly OP nothing to be jealous of. A life involving multiple consultations with an HV or involvement with Sws or SServices is something to be avoided and not something to be envious of.

That said inequity in support and service provision can always be a tough one to swallow. Hard work and doing a good job of raising your kids is its own reward. You won't get a pat on the back from the state.

LimitedEditionLady Tue 03-Sep-13 23:02:07

Its not intended as childcare is it though!!!!that is the only way to express that its not to give the parents free time it is to give the child the opportunity!!

ReallyTired Tue 03-Sep-13 23:06:37

With the cut backs in the health visitng service in my area, a lot of developmental problems have not been spotted. Sometimes parents don't realise that their child has delayed speech because they know so little about child development.

I suspect the govenment wants to find a cost effective way of getting children under the radar of the nanny state. It is not feasible for health visitors to visit families every week. A nursery has a long term relationship with a family and is better placed to spot developmental problems.

givemeaboost Tue 03-Sep-13 23:18:06

I often wonder about this subject-I am on the fence with it- I can see the advantages to the child who is disadvantaged, but also the cost to government.

I qualified for 15hrs since 2, but dd didn't start using it till a few months before her 3rd birthday, Im not in work, shes my last baby, I don't really want to hand her over to someone else for 15hrs a wk-especially as shes due to start school at 4.1! even now she only goes 6 hrs.

I do sometimes wonder if me using not even half the entitlement means theres more in the pot for others....

LimitedEditionLady Tue 03-Sep-13 23:19:28

I think if the gov could theyd do it free from two

OctopusWrangler Tue 03-Sep-13 23:32:52

I will use those 15 hours when my youngest turns two. I will use it to study my arse off, so I can get a qualification so that I can then pay tax to hopefully pay toward another two year old getting a boost.

TakingThePea Tue 03-Sep-13 23:40:17

Some 2-year-olds in England may also be entitled to free early education.
You must be getting one of the following:
Income Support
income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
the guaranteed element of State Pension CreditChild Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit) and have an annual income not over £16,190
the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
Children looked after by a local council are also entitled to a place.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 03-Sep-13 23:47:32

So it is the same criterion used for FSM, it is not for all low income families as the lowest earners on WTC won't be eligible.
I totally agree with the scheme though, but once again hate the assumption that anybody in these categories automatically needs support.

brdgrl Wed 04-Sep-13 00:00:31

know a girl who got a place and it took an hour to get there and walk back home.She did it though,walked there and home and again at the end of three hours.Hardly a rest is it.
I have two jobs, which between them both add up to just under 40 hours/week. My DH works from home part-time and is a full-time postgraduate student. I work some days, and make up my 'missing' hours on evenings and weekends, so that I can look after DD.
She has a funded nursery place. It takes me a full hour (by two buses) to get to DD's. Then I go and sit in the public library for two hours and work. Then I go back for her, and take the hour trip home, or if it is a day I go to work in the afternoon, my DH makes the hour trip in to get her and then takes her back home.
So no, not a rest, and not childcare.

I totally agree with the scheme though, but once again hate the assumption that anybody in these categories automatically needs support.
Not at all. This is not a mandatory programme, it is an option, and families that don't require it don't have to take it up.

BornThisCrazy Wed 04-Sep-13 00:19:37

We live in an area which is classed as one of deprivation. Dh was made redundant when I was pg with dc2, he has since been able to find a pt low paid job but we do not qualify for wtc. He is desperately looking for a ft job or one with more hours atleast but its so hard.

Due to our circumstances, dc1 was offered a nursery place at 2 years old, he started a week before his 3rd birthday. I have seen a very shy, anxious child gain so much more confidence and contentment since starting nursery and spending time with peers his own age. No play group or outing I took him on really helped socially the way nursery has.

I know very few people in the area we moved to, so felt completely isolated on top of battling suspected pnd after dc2, and my other anxiety issues. The nursery place was a lifeline for me, despite being a bit of a walk with two kids in tow. But I feel ds has been the one to really benefit from it. He is not disadvantaged in the stereotypical sense of being shoved in front of the telly all day and not interacted with. He is a very bright child who could recognise numbers, colours, a huge variety of flowers, birds and animals and some letters at the age of 2. But I cannot argue with statistics which prove as many pp have cited already, about children from poorer backgrounds inability to be on par educationally and have the same life opportunities as other children have from more comfortable lifestyles.

We are poor now. It is a tough truth to swallow. We will most likely never own our own home, we will never be able to afford luxurious holidays or dine in fine restaurants. Just about get by with careful planning but manage to feed dc well with good nutritious food. To give you some insight of the sort of families being helped by this scheme, a few months ago it was financially very tough for us, and I made sure to put £1 away separately in my purse every week for dc's fruit and juice nursery fund incase it got spent. One fucking pound OP. No naice toddler groups, or swimming lessons for babies or horse riding lessons in this house. I appreciate many parents struggle emotionally with young babies and toddlers but having this constant worry is soul destroying. Anyway let me know if anyone would like to swap places with entitled ol' me and my dc.

Here 2 year olds get 2 hours free a week if you are on income support unless you are in a flying start area in which case its more.

I got the 2 hours and until recently I got a whole days free private nursery place. The latter was paid for by a charity.

Sorry for having a disabled elder child who runs me ragged op. The free nursery place was for my youngest so I could concenrate more on ds and the other dc not because I wanted to sit on my arse all day smoking and watching my big telly. I nearly went under without this respite and im so glad I had it.

Sick of these types of threads now

Meglet Wed 04-Sep-13 07:21:11

Just when you think you've heard it all. People are getting their knickers in a twist because a small child, in potentially vulnerable group, is receiving some extra support.

FamiliesShareGerms Wed 04-Sep-13 07:27:44

I know Meglet, it's sad isn't it.

LeGavrOrf Wed 04-Sep-13 07:34:35

Christ at this thread.

Some of the opinions are bloody frightening,

I had no idea that such a scheme existed. And I am really pleased that it does. The fact that the government has implemented an initiative, based on solid research, which could enable an element of equal opportunity for those children deemed as in need of it is bloody heartening in my view.

I think it is extraordinary that people could be so churlish about the fact that single parents could access this extra support for their child.

My dd is 17 now and when she was a baby the maternity leave was 18 weeks at the statutory rate, 6 weeks had to be taken prior to birth so I went back to work FT when she was 3 months, I had to or I would have lost my job. I don't begrudge mothers today who can take 9 months off at the same rate of pay. I wouldn't resent anyone taking advantage of a positive change in legislation. Especially this extra benefit for the poorest in society.

I work for central government and see countless millions being spaffed on completely nonsensical schemes with little or no worth. I am glad that someone, somewhere agreed that this would be a good use of taxpayers money.

LeGavrOrf Wed 04-Sep-13 07:37:41

The absolute gall of someone complaining that she cannot afford baby signing lessons and resents that people on the absolute breadline are getting some extra money absolutely disgusts me, frankly.

JakeBullet Wed 04-Sep-13 07:41:36

There is good reason to give some vulnerable two year olds some free nursery provision. It has nothing to do with "free childcare" and everything to do with helping the two year olds in question have a chance of reaching Reception on a more level playing field with their more fortunate peers.

Hope that info is useful to those who feel they are missing out in some way.

hettienne Wed 04-Sep-13 08:07:18

I am a provider of the funded hours - we offer 3 hour sessions, 4 or 5 mornings a week. Children go home for lunch. You would be hard pressed to use that time as childcare to work! It's for the benefit of disadvantaged children, most of whom aren't going to get the opportunities to go to baby sign or tumble tots or often even someone to read stories to them otherwise.

MissOtisRegretsMadam Wed 04-Sep-13 08:08:15

Of the children I cared for this past year many of them finished the year within the development band best fit for there age range 22-36 months. Many of them started well below there age band 8-20 months. The biggest leaps in progress were in language and personal, social and emotional development and understanding of the world. But forgetting all that "assessment" stuff it's the little achievements that really count.

Confidence to approach an adult and ask for help... Trying to hang their coat on a peg.... Increased eye contact... Enjoying a book...outdoor play...preparing their own snack... Trying new foods....being sung to.

These small things will be done routinely at home by lots of parents regardless of their income and social status but believe me there is plenty who do not. The children who attend from homes where parents interact positively with their children are great role models for those children who don't get much interaction at home. Children pick up language best from other children during play.

MissOtisRegretsMadam Wed 04-Sep-13 08:11:27

Their not there! Gosh my grammar is terrible! I blame trying to type with false nails quickly on an iphone.

candycoatedwaterdrops Wed 04-Sep-13 08:14:20

Only on MN do people bleat on about how unfair and unjust the education system is for children aged 4+ (which it is!) but disagree with a scheme that is trying to address some of the inequalities. grin

froken Wed 04-Sep-13 08:15:31

I would have qualified for the free places if they had been an option in the 80s. My mum was a single mum with 2 children and my dad had severe mental health issues.

My mum had loads of friends ( who were single mums) we had the most amazing childhood. We went out at least once a day. We went camping for bike rides, we went to the beach and made bonfires to cook sausages on, we climbed mountains and made dens in the woods. At home we played games, we made a slide down the stairs out of our mattresses, we made hammocks out of blankets for tge cats, we "parachuted" from the chest of draws with sheets.

There were always lots of kids around and also different mums. We'd join in discussions with our parents. The single mums I grew up around are some of the most articulate interesting people I know. They all had degrees.

We ( the children of single parents) used to feel sorry for our 2 parent friends. We had no tv or computer so our lives were full of adventure, creative play and communication. We had the most amazing spontaneous holidays, we pack up a tent and go and camp by the river the night before school or go to the beach and swim in the sea when it was a warm evening.

Without exception the children I grew up with ( around 14/15 kids) have taken degrees and most of us are dotted around tge world.

I think that saying that a child with a single mum needs extra early years education is very offensive. Just because someone is a lone parent or unemployed does not mean they don't talk or play with their children. In my experience it is tge opposite.

MissOtisRegretsMadam Wed 04-Sep-13 08:25:21

Quite right froken most of the families I work with are 2 parent families.

7 years ago I was a single mum to my daughter when I started work at the childrens centre I still work at. As I was studying and working part time I would have
Qualified for a place in the nursery room I was working. It would have reduced my childcare fees if the 2 year old hours had been deducted but I was already receiving tax credits which covered 90 percent of my childcare fees anyway.

Another flawed argument about it being 'free childcare' if you qualify for the place chances are you would be getting most of your childcare costs paid by tax credits anyway.

My ds turns 2 soon and it would be wonderful if I got
15 hours knocked off my weekly childcare bill but there really is families out there who need these places so much more than me.

amonagrout Wed 04-Sep-13 08:40:11

YANBU. It is absolutely ridiculous. Why assume that the children of people who do not get income support are any less disadvantaged than the children of those on benefits? We really struggle with both in work and have to pay in full for childcare because we have the "privilege" (getting up at 6am in the rain and not getting home till gone 7pm) of working long hours for the same take home pay as my neighbour who chose to have 4 kids, lives in a big, low rent council house with a garden while we are stuck privately renting, they get free school meals and the youngest is getting free 15 hours at 2 years old because she is on benefits. Work hard and you will get on in life = what a crock of shit!

Sirzy Wed 04-Sep-13 08:45:38

It isn't assuming anything, it had been proven that statistically the children who are eligible for such support are more likely to struggle than their peers. Of course there are exceptions to any rule but statistically that is the case which is why they are offered support.

Salbertina Wed 04-Sep-13 08:50:33

I sympathise, but problem for working parents is that this is absolutely not about freeing you up to work or making it more economically viable or being "fair".

It is solely about the kids from non-working homes- all the research shows that they do so much worse at school from the get-go: even upon entry they are less likely to be toilet-trained, able to sit quietly even answer to or recognise their own name! Agree it seems unfair but those kids need all the help they can get outside of their home-setting to compensate for shortfalls within it.

Chunderella Wed 04-Sep-13 08:52:42

Brdgrl I can see that your DDs free hours don't afford you any rest at all, but they amount to free childcare. You get two hours to work while your DD is looked after, free of charge. I don't begrudge you this, I'm very glad you get it. Clearly the scheme is benefitting your family in more ways than one: this is a good thing, and just shows what good value for money it is. But if a child is looked after in a childcare setting, by childcare workers, with no charge, it's free childcare! This is hardly something to run away from or deny. It is a GOOD side effect to a scheme primarily designed for the child's benefit.

My dh has been recently out of work for 11 months, in that time i was offered a free 2 day placement for my then 2yo dd, but i felt unable to accept it as neither of us were in work and she would starting at 3 anyway. I was rather annoyed that working people were not given the same oppurtunity as surely workers need these placements much more than i did.

Now dh has started work we are not entitled anymore which i find ludicrious! But dd will be starting her 3yo free placement soon.

I just don't see why this is something given away to the unemployed when they have time on their hands to take their children to toddler group to socalise them, when a working family has to pay for the privaledge.

Moxiegirl Wed 04-Sep-13 09:07:55

My nearly 3yo is getting 15 hours free a term early as we were referred by ss- not due to bad parenting and we don't qualify under low income rules but we have two troubled teens and I think they look at the whole family and try and help.
It's not always low income.

Charlottehere Wed 04-Sep-13 09:11:55

I admire pumpkinsweeties view on this.

Charlottehere Wed 04-Sep-13 09:13:34

I am absolutely not moaning about my DS not going to baby classes because we can't afford them because a lot are crap and overpriced.

baddriver Wed 04-Sep-13 09:17:18

I think it is fantastic that free early years education is available to so many children.

Try not to feel too hard done by if your child doesn't qualify, they will at 3. Trust me, as someone who works with poor families, these children need those places - and it can be the making of them.

Be proud to live in a society which looks out for its most vulnerable, and have faith that you will manage.

Bonsoir Wed 04-Sep-13 09:18:49

The OP has my sympathy. This is yet another example of government failure to grasp the reality of family economics.

JoinYourPlayfellows Wed 04-Sep-13 09:24:08

"we offer 3 hour sessions, 4 or 5 mornings a week. Children go home for lunch. You would be hard pressed to use that time as childcare to work!"


No you wouldn't.

It would reduce your childcare costs by 15 hours per week.

My 3 year old starts nursery school next week. My childcare costs are going down considerably, despite the fact that I'm not just going to be working for the 2.5 hours a day she is at nursery.

JoinYourPlayfellows Wed 04-Sep-13 09:25:24

"Try not to feel too hard done by if your child doesn't qualify, they will at 3. Trust me, as someone who works with poor families, these children need those places - and it can be the making of them."

Well said, baddriver smile

Mumof3xx Wed 04-Sep-13 09:26:11

Some settings do not allow top ups, they only open 9-12 and 1-4

brdgrl Wed 04-Sep-13 09:26:13

Chunderella, It is not childcare. She is in education.
Parents of older children should not view their child's time at primary school as childcare either.
Yes, I can work for two hours while she is at nursery. What I do while she is there is irrelevant. It's a service for her, not for me.
Where people are moaning because they'd like free childcare because they feel that they should be entitled to more child-free time - how selfish - it's not about them, it is about their child.

Lambsie Wed 04-Sep-13 09:26:30

It is not there for childcare. It is (for those who don't care about other peoples children) a way of reducing the chance of those children causing a disruption to your childs education later on.

Sirzy Wed 04-Sep-13 09:26:56

Join - great if someone can actually afford the childcare to work beyond that 15 hours.

That said it doesn't change the fact that its still nothing to do with free childcare, it's about giving children the best start possible. Why is that so hard for you to understand?

Arnie123 Wed 04-Sep-13 09:28:10

I employ a lot of cleaners who work under 16 hours and so retain part of their income. I have never seen one of them partying it up on some benefits bonanza. In addition my husband was on income support when I met him as he is blind so cannot do a manual job due to health and safety and does not have the academic ability to get a desk job. Has it never occurred to you that not everyone on benefits is lazy? What would happen to you if your ihusband left you and you became disabled? Stop bashing people on benefits or if you are so bloody jealous quit your job and go on the rock and roll yourself and see how easy it is to cope...not.

Charlottehere Wed 04-Sep-13 09:30:54

Bred girl, howconvienent

JoinYourPlayfellows Wed 04-Sep-13 09:35:24

"That said it doesn't change the fact that its still nothing to do with free childcare, it's about giving children the best start possible. Why is that so hard for you to understand?"


Yes, it has NOTHING to do with free childcare.

Oh, apart from the fact that it is childcare.

And it is free.

Other than that, it has NOTHING to do with free childcare.

Why is it so hard for you to understand that people you disagree with are not stupid?

The fact that the government has seen fit to offer free childcare as an early years intervention doesn't change the reality of what that intervention is - CHILDCARE. FOR FREE.

It's far easier to support this scheme when you aren't insisting that people ignore the reality as they see it, and accept your definition of reality.

Bonsoir Wed 04-Sep-13 09:35:52

It isn't a good idea to offer families on benefits a lot of services that the working poor cannot afford.

Charlottehere Wed 04-Sep-13 09:37:04

Agree with join

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 04-Sep-13 09:38:16

agree bonsoir

JoinYourPlayfellows Wed 04-Sep-13 09:39:21

"It isn't a good idea to offer families on benefits a lot of services that the working poor cannot afford."


Which is not to say that I don't think it is a good idea to offer those services.

Just that if you do, you need to make sure that the working poor can access them too.

MissOtisRegretsMadam Wed 04-Sep-13 09:41:23

The working poor can access it though... As long as that earn below a certain amount.

Sirzy Wed 04-Sep-13 09:41:30

It is a service to help children who are struggling, as part of that service children are left in the care of others.

Someone made a good comparison yesterday - are you against children who get respite care for free? That's free childcare and something not everyone can access so surely that is as bad by the logic of some on here?

brdgrl Wed 04-Sep-13 09:42:10

Education is not childcare. Ask your child's teachers.

I agree with join, the working poor ie those on mw or working part-time hours are nearly as poor or even poorer than those on benefits. Their children deserve the same services and they should be accessable to anyone below a certain threshold.

Charlottehere Wed 04-Sep-13 09:43:23

Call a spade, a spade.

brdgrl Wed 04-Sep-13 09:46:17

Call a spade, a spade.

If I did that here, I would probably have my post reported.

Mumof3xx Wed 04-Sep-13 09:47:28

The working poor will be able to recieved this in 2014 if they earn under 16,000

Sirzy Wed 04-Sep-13 09:47:37

grin brd - my thoughts exactly!

brdgrl Wed 04-Sep-13 09:48:05

the working poor ie those on mw or working part-time hours are nearly as poor or even poorer than those on benefits. Their children deserve the same services and they should be accessable to anyone below a certain threshold.
pumpkin, they ARE.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Wed 04-Sep-13 09:49:25

The working poor can access it though:

^"You must be getting one of the following:

Income Support
income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
Child Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit) and have an annual income not over £16,190
the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
Children looked after by a local council are also entitled to a place."^

It is early years education. Not a babysitting service. The fact that many working parents choose a form of childcare that incorporates early years education (nursery) is beside the point. That is not the purpose of this service; many nurseries have used the free EY provision for over 3's to their advantage to make nursery a more affordable choice for working parents, but again; that was not the purpose of the EY provision.

If this government want to twist it into a service that is there to help support working parents (as they seems to want to do sometimes) then they will probably need to amend the qualifying points so that only children of working parents can access it. As it stands, the EY provision was not intended for this use.

And all the anecdotes about how great individual single parents or unemployed parents are do not change the fact that statistically children of single parent households or workless household have poorer life outcomes and are more likely to be at a lower developmental/achievement level to their peers when they start school.

OddBoots Wed 04-Sep-13 09:52:32

An increasing number of working poor will be able to access 2-year education next September:

From September 2014, a two-year-old will be eligible if they meet any one of the following criteria:

They meet the eligibility criteria also used for free school meals;
Their families receive Working Tax credits and have annual gross earnings of no more than £16,190 per year;
They have a current statement of SEN or an Education, Health and Care plan;
They attract Disability Living Allowance;
They are looked after by the LA;
They have left care through special guardianship or an adoption or residence order.

Chunderella Wed 04-Sep-13 09:52:36

The fact is brdgrl that your DD is in a childcare provision, with childcare workers, gratis. That makes it free childcare. It doesn't make it only or primarily free childcare, but it makes it childcare and free. I'm frankly unconvinced by these attempts to make absolute distinctions between childcare and education anyway. The fact that childcare providers have to follow a curriculum makes it very clear which way this particular wind is blowing. And of course what you do with the time is relevant: it is evidence that the scheme is helping your family in more than one way, making it even better value for money.

Having said that, this thread is yet more evidence of the ludicrous childcare system we have in this country. It's ridiculous that we pay so much that people who want to work can't. It's fairly easy for me to be magnanimous, as I benefitted from free nursery provision myself and don't pay for childcare now. Clearly others who don't have the latter advantage in particular are suffering. It's no great shock that they get upset about not being able to benefit from this scheme. Particularly when some of them are bound to be as disadvantaged as some who benefit. The broad brush approach, which I can see has to be used, clearly leaves out many who the hours could really help. Equally there are some who would fall under the criteria whose need is not particularly great- which would've been true of my family if the 15 hours scheme had existed in the 80s.

No they aren't because working tax credits devoids them from recieving it.

moustachio Wed 04-Sep-13 09:57:21

I wish defenders of this free childcare could look on my Facebook page and read the gloating hoard of mums who are planning to go to weatherspoons/ have alone time with their partner who has come out of prison and have more children /laze about now their various offspring are in nursery.

I wish my DS could have some free hours. My dh works, I am ACTIVELY searching for work. Every time I have an interview it costs me £45 a day for a childminder - which I cannot afford.

I look at my life, hard working dp, having to live with parents as we can't afford to rent anymore, having no money or help. Then my friends on benefits who have all this free time, support and their own flats. I also invite those who say life isn't cushty on benefits to come and spend an afternoon with my group of friends.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Wed 04-Sep-13 09:59:25

But moustachio with mum's like that, surely those children need all the help they can get? I doubt those mums were taking them all to playgroups and swimming and music classes and soft play and a variety of other educational opportunities prior to them getting the free hours.

MissOtisRegretsMadam Wed 04-Sep-13 10:00:31

pumpkin lots of the children I look after have a parent working so they are accessing it.

One of the conditions of the place is that parents will attend stay and play sessions throughout the term or attend a course of some kind as part of parental involvement in their child's learning.

Mumof3xx Wed 04-Sep-13 10:01:09

It's not the kids faults if there parents would rather spend money and time in the pub and don't work for whatever reason

In most cases the two year funding is given primarily to help the child

brdgrl Wed 04-Sep-13 10:03:11

Oh, Hopalong, it's not about the children. It's about the adults, dontcha know...

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Wed 04-Sep-13 10:08:39

Indeed. I'm blaming Nick Clegg/Call Me Fucking Dave (for everything generally) and their crappy rhetoric about helping working parents. They have co-opted a service that was not designed to help working parents, but to ensure disadvantaged children were given help, into their own pro working parents policy. This is one of the lesser reasons that I think they're a bunch of pricks.

baddriver Wed 04-Sep-13 10:09:17

Seriously moustachio, would you want to trade places with those women?

Clearly you have values and standards that these women do not. That is probably due to your upbringing, a credit to your family.

The women you speak of have no such values; that is nothing to envy. I feel sorry for their children.

BornThisCrazy Wed 04-Sep-13 10:11:59

This service does help the working poor! Dh is on minimum wage, and due to his hours we are entitled. In fact a large proportion of the parents in dc's nursery class (before summer) do work in lowly paid jobs. Because of the little money we earn, it is topped up with CTC.

I think a lot of people are resentful and bitter about people on benefits fullstop...being under the impression that we are all scroungers deliberately doing little or no work and playing the system. It couldn't be further from the truth in my family's case, and many others that I know now through the nursery.
We qualify for this service because of the CTC. If we did not get this we could not survive. Literally. It is not something to be envious of believe me.

JoinYourPlayfellows Wed 04-Sep-13 10:13:25

"I wish defenders of this free childcare could look on my Facebook page and read the gloating hoard of mums who are planning to go to weatherspoons/ have alone time with their partner who has come out of prison and have more children /laze about now their various offspring are in nursery."

One of the purposes of this scheme is to get toddlers to spend less time with awful parents like this.

That's how you increase their chances of not being totally fucked by the time they are 4 (4! shock) in terms of ever being able to catch up with their peers.

These parents you are talking about still go to Wetherspoons even if their toddlers are with them. They still spend "alone time" with their partner while their child is neglected.

Whether or not 15 hours per week of childcare can bridge the gap, I have my doubts. But it is cases such as the ones you mention where this kind of intervention can help outcomes for the child.

JakeBullet Wed 04-Sep-13 10:14:19

mustachio, perhaps their kids need a break from that kind of life so that they start school with the skills you have been able to give your children. Perhaps their parents wont bother...who knows.

Personally I'd be more in favour of intensive parenting support in the home but of course that would be costlier than this.

I know little about the programme, I wouldn't have been eligible for it even if it existed when DS was two....but then I could afford to pay for the childcare he had.

We had a similar system in place funded by charities and which paid for the most vulnerable children to have a nursery placement at 2. But there was also provision for families who needed short term support but couldn't afford to pay for childcare.....I was able to get a 2 year old placed for a term...10 hours a week as her Mum had twin babies. It gave everyone a break....I wish there was provision for this in the new scheme.

I also met other children whose parents had chaotic lives and who benefitted greatly from early nursery placement....out of the chaos of home sad

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 04-Sep-13 10:15:24

"One of the purposes of this scheme is to get toddlers to spend less time with awful parents like this.

That's how you increase their chances of not being totally fucked by the time they are 4"

Yes, I'll put a few knobs on this. V true. That's why we all have to pay for it, because if the next generation are better people, then we all benefit.

Chunderella Wed 04-Sep-13 10:22:04

The thing with intensive parenting support in the home is that lots of people see it as intrusion, and there'd probably be a stigma. With free nursery hours, that's not a problem. The free childcare aspect of the scheme is actually hugely important in this respect, because it acts as a carrot for some of the parents whose DC most need it. Someone who really doesn't give a shit is much more likely to engage if they perceive there's something in it for them.

JakeBullet Wed 04-Sep-13 10:23:38

It is taking the most vulnerable families and offering support but not all children in low income families will be vulnerable...there are fantastic parents out there on all levels of income.

Unfortunately a significant minority of very poor families will be in that position because of poor choices.....not all families by any means as the majority of low income families will be effective and nurturing. But fact is that a number of families struggling will have other issues and their children need support.
Without screening every single family which would be extremely costly, it is hard to know which children are the vulnerable ones in many cases. I imagine that this is the most cost effective way of identifying and supporting the children who need it.

This scheme is nothing to do with the parents and all about trying to meet the needs of vulnerable children.

moustachio Wed 04-Sep-13 10:23:40

They aren't bad parents though - lazy with no drive to come off benefits yes, but bad parents? I don't think they are.

To them, it is 'free childcare' and is encouraging them to have more children and be irresponsible young people. Surely a better solution would be compulsory family workshops for those on income support etc.

I'm in a weird situation that as a young parent I went on to university. I received support open to anyone. They went on to get free houses and fall into a life where they just have another baby once the older ones go to school. I have very close friends in this situation, whom I am friends with based on their character, not their poor life choices and laziness.

They all have very little in their lives other than their children (no careers), so alot of their time is dedicated to their children. Its a stupid assumption that they need these hours more than someone like me. My DS will go into full time nursery when I work. It would be great if he could have a few hours a week to learn to socialise now.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Wed 04-Sep-13 10:31:14

Those friends of your are going to be well and truly fucked when the new rules around benefits and the universal credit etc come in. and eventually they wont be able to just keep on having babies. They will be stuck where they are. The vast majority of people are just doing whatever it takes to get by, but there are people who milk the system (because a section of people will always do that regardless of what system we are talking about). There's nothing to be jealous of there.

And surely laziness is a character trait?

JoinYourPlayfellows Wed 04-Sep-13 10:33:29

*They aren't bad parents though - lazy with no drive to come off benefits yes, but bad parents? I don't think they are.

To them, it is 'free childcare' and is encouraging them to have more children and be irresponsible young people.*

Yes, it is easy to see that a scheme like this would provide those incentives all right.

Presumably that is what the OP is seeing too. Someone who is delighted to be getting free childcare that she doesn't perceive as being in any greater need than she is.

These are two of the problems with any benefits system -

1 it's very hard to target benefits exactly where they are needed, so as Chunder pointed out, at the edges there will be people who need it who aren't getting it and people who are getting it who don't need it

2 the availability of the benefits can create incentives for people to do things that are not necessarily advantageous to either society or (arguably) themselves

It's a very tricky balance to strike.

And I think it's important to listen to the views of people who feel aggrieved by the availability of this provision, because in many cases their perspectives are illuminating in terms of what is going on on the ground.

But the parents I mentioned in my last post do exist. And giving their children 15 hours of free childcare can help them to spend time in a nurturing environment that they otherwise wouldn't ever see until it was too late.

baddriver Wed 04-Sep-13 10:33:46

moustachio you are but one and perhaps do not understand that there are simply hundreds of thousands of children whose parents do not share your values or ethics. No one has taught them simple decency.

Educating the child from a very young age can have an enormous (positive) impact on their future and instil in them the decency that perhaps they can never learn from their parents.

I can understand your frustration but I think you do not appreciate that virtuous behaviour is simply not in the frame in many households, it has been absent for generations and it is only through education that things can change.

So your children are already privileged simply by being raised in a family which grasps the concept of personal responsibility.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Wed 04-Sep-13 10:36:52

I would also question whether they are good parents; surely part of parenting is about setting an example for your child. Actively choosing not to work and simply having more children as a means to get the things they want, is not setting a good example. I'm not saying they have to work, but children learn by what they see and not working and relying on help through choice is not something I would like children to see as an option.

brdgrl Wed 04-Sep-13 10:42:24

I'm confused, moustachio. You seem to be saying that they are bad citizens (you use words like irresponsible, laziness, poor life choices), and yet they are good parents (and therefore in no more need than anyone else).

JoinYourPlayfellows Wed 04-Sep-13 10:47:08

"You seem to be saying that they are bad citizens (you use words like irresponsible, laziness, poor life choices), and yet they are good parents (and therefore in no more need than anyone else)."

There's nothing remotely contradictory about being a bad citizen and a good parent.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Wed 04-Sep-13 10:48:52

Except part of being a good parent is teaching your child to be a good citizen...

Sirzy Wed 04-Sep-13 10:50:10

15 hours a week term time only an incentive to have more childen? Really?

brdgrl Wed 04-Sep-13 10:52:22

Part of being a good citizen is helping others to be good parents. Part of being a good parent is being a good citizen and protecting the society that your child will grow up in.


JoinYourPlayfellows Wed 04-Sep-13 10:56:04

"Except part of being a good parent is teaching your child to be a good citizen..."

As you define it.

But I'm sure there are plenty of good parents who don't feel any loyalty whatsoever to the state they live in.

You can be compassionate and not think you should have to work a minimum wage job with no job security or satisfaction when there are other options.

JoinYourPlayfellows Wed 04-Sep-13 10:57:52

"15 hours a week term time only an incentive to have more childen? Really?"

Do you ever get bored of the passive aggressive questions? grin

Who said the 15 hours a week was the ONLY incentive to have more children?

Answer: NOBODY

But go on, give us another one of your little posers! grin

Hint: Anything that makes parenting easier/cheaper is an incentive to have more children.

Sirzy Wed 04-Sep-13 11:03:01

Join I am just laughing at the frankly stupid comments some people who are against this are coming out with. They seem determined to completely miss the reasoning and use it as yet another benefit bashing thread

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Wed 04-Sep-13 11:03:33

So you can feel no loyalty to your state while also expecting it to subsidise your life 100%?

Sirzy Wed 04-Sep-13 11:04:54

And I suggest you read the posts yourself as it says exactly that. That is is free childcare and encouraging them to have more children.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Wed 04-Sep-13 11:06:03

I honestly don't think that many people choose not to work, perhaps there are pockets of people in some areas who do think like this, I don't know. It shits on everyone else who are doing what they can to get by in shit circumstances. I would rather people didn't have to work MW with no job security and crap conditions. But the alternative to that is to just not work?

OctopusPete8 Wed 04-Sep-13 11:06:34

Children who get free playgroup/nursery setting are usually vulnerable children. It was mentioned about a child who came to my kids PG it was an initiative to help the child,.

JakeBullet Wed 04-Sep-13 11:07:02

Thing is that I can understand the OP's frustration, early trials of this scheme DID include short term support for families like the OP who wouldn't have ordinarily qualified.

It will be good if it includes low income working families as I gather it will.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Wed 04-Sep-13 11:07:15

It was not meant as free childcare. Some parents are just shit. They just are. Those children need every bit of support and intervention we can give so that they don't grow up to be a shit as their parents.

moustachio Wed 04-Sep-13 11:08:50

My two issues are that it isnt going to the right people for a start.

Seondly, taking a child for 15 hours is not helping a family that does need help. Resources would be better spent giving parent/families education and information that will help them for the rest of their lives. There are too many external factors outside of 15houra nursery for it to make a lifelong difference.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Wed 04-Sep-13 11:09:34

Sorry, pressed send too soon. Some parents are not shit but are living in less than ideal circumstances and those children need as much help as we can give to ensure they actually get the outcomes their parents hope for them.

When your children are struggling at school because half their class did not have access to any early years education and the school can't fund the support to make up for how behind those kids are and so your children are suffering, then I imagine you will care slightly more.

Sirzy Wed 04-Sep-13 11:09:57

Exactly hopalong.

Of course the vast majority of families who get this support aren't shit parents, they are parents and families who for a whole host of reasons are having a shit time and this can help those children not be at a disadvantage because of that, or at least reduce the gap between them and their peers upon starting school

K8Middleton Wed 04-Sep-13 11:17:26

moustachio how do you know that? You have made two very sweeping statements not backed up by evidence.

There is good, valid and robust research behind this initiative that has been linked to in the thread which refutes all your points.

baddriver Wed 04-Sep-13 11:17:54

moustachio as strange as it may seem, the free early years programme was approved on the basis of research. Your assertions rather pale by comparison.

I think you have been bitten by the green eyed monster and really, your energy could be better spent.

moustachio Wed 04-Sep-13 11:27:43

Well like I said bad driver & k8middleton come and see how my friends and their children react. I haven't read a lot of research on it. My science direct subscription had ended now I've dinished

moustachio Wed 04-Sep-13 11:27:57

*finished uni.

MissOtisRegretsMadam Wed 04-Sep-13 11:28:22

There is also lots of children in very chaotic homes whose parents are entitled to this place who will not bring their children. They are classed as hard to reach families whose children probably need it more than anyone. The only time we get those children in is if its part of the child protection plan but even then their attendance is not great.

cory Wed 04-Sep-13 11:41:40

"Seondly, taking a child for 15 hours is not helping a family that does need help. Resources would be better spent giving parent/families education and information that will help them for the rest of their lives. There are too many external factors outside of 15houra nursery for it to make a lifelong difference."

It's not about helping the family; it's about helping the child.

Reception teachers are increasingly reporting that children arrive at school not knowing how a book is held or that you read from the left to right in English. They have never been read a story, they have never learnt to sit still and listen to an adult, they have never been taught basic self care like how to dress themselves. These are skills that can perfectly well be taught by a good nursery on 15 hours a week.

But if they are not taught, then the whole class will be disrupted and held back, including all the children of parents who have meticulously prepared their children in all possible ways.

Of course the government can't know exactly which children are going to need this extra teaching so it will necessarily be a case of offering it to the groups most likely to contain the largest number of such children.

And benefits is one way to to: the group on income benefit is statistically most likely to contain parents who are ill or stressed or depressed or very badly educated themselve or have learning difficulties or MH issues.

And again, these parents are statistically most likely to struggle with teaching their children all the necessary skills at home.

K8Middleton Wed 04-Sep-13 11:45:27

So no evidence then Moustachio. Thought so.

Chunderella Wed 04-Sep-13 12:03:51

There are also children who need the hours at nursery who will not be helped by making parents go to courses, or educating them, or any other less effective, more expensive alternative anyone comes up with to avoid giving parents a secondary benefit. For example, the poster upthread who is autistic and finds communication difficult. Exactly how are parenting classes going to help there? They don't make people's autism evaporate!

I don't understand why it is relevant for people to know the ins and outs of someone's life, just because they have 15 hours funding for nursery?

Is it somehow anyone else's business how people's parenting skills are, what they do with the 2.5 hours a day that their child is at nursery, what type of house they live in, why they are not working, why they don't earn "enough" money?

All this speculation about whether people are single parents, what their home life is like, whether their children have additional needs is very distasteful.

It seems as though some people think because some people are entitled to receive benefits, additional help and support, that means they are somehow entitled to question all aspects of their lives. I don't see why that is.

There is a scheme in existence that provides nursery funding for 3 year olds, for everyone I think.

So does everyone who takes that up need to be questioned as to why they are doing it, why they don't pay for their own childcare, what they are doing with their free time, why they are not working, why they aren't working more hours?

JoinYourPlayfellows Wed 04-Sep-13 12:22:19

"any other less effective, more expensive alternative anyone comes up with to avoid giving parents a secondary benefit."


Yes, it's incredible the bizarre things that get suggested just to make sure that poor people who need support don't get any enjoyment at all out of their benefits.

One of the advantages of offering free childcare IS the secondary benefit.

For some families that means that people who need a break get some time to themselves.

For others it means that feckless parents see the chance to get rid of their kids for a few hours and jump at the chance to go to the pub.

These parents wouldn't show up to parenting classes in a blind fit. Or let someone come into their home to show them how to look after their kids.

The "secondary benefit" to them is the thing that makes it possible to get the children into the programme.

And you know what?

It's OK that people get things that are nice for them as benefits.

We don't have to pretend that it is not a nice perq to get 15 hours of free childcare a week.

It is important to recognise that it will create perception problems amongst people who can't qualify if they are struggling to pay for childcare so they can work.

As far as possible, we should be trying to ensure that nobody is ever in that situation.

PrincessScrumpy Wed 04-Sep-13 14:09:09

tantrums actually I think it is relevant why people get these things as this thread has shown - people who are not aware they are entitled to this support have discovered that they can access it. Without understanding benefits people are regularly missing out on extra support. I think we should be open about these things. If a child has sen and gets support at 2 because a hv told the parents then I don't see why the parents would keep that secret - another parent in a similar position may not have had a good hv and may not know what help is out there.

Anyway, the lady in my original thread seems to be a brilliant mummy which is why I didn't understand but like many have said I don't know the full story and I don't begrudge her the support.

I guess it'sseparate thread that I think parents of multiples should get more support but didn't realise the issues until it affected me.

Sirzy Wed 04-Sep-13 14:11:31

It is relevant to know the criteria in general but not details of why each individual gets that support. That is often going to be something very personal and they shouldnt have to tell every Tom, Dick and Harry that just to stop them judging (and they would probably be judged anyway!)

It is very relevant that everyone understands the criteria to receive the general.

It is certainly not right or relevant to pick apart and speculate on someone elses personal circumstances, to discuss the type of home they live in etc because you are somehow jealous that you have to wait a whole 12 months for your free child care.

Like I say, shall we speculate as to why you need these 15 hours and what you are going to do with it?

candycoatedwaterdrops Wed 04-Sep-13 15:04:11

This has turned into yet another benefits bashing thread on which we watch people embarrass themselves trying to convince the world that schemes to help children are really just encouraging people to have more offspring

Although i said earlier about working people should be allowed the same scheme i don't condone benefit bashing and general intrusions into what people do for those 2.5 hours.
I have been on each side and it's ok but not brilliant, it's a phalicy that those on full benefits live the life of riley.

And i don't see how these scheme gives any incentive to have more children as after all, it is just 2.5 hrs break. The rest of the time the parent has to look after and care for that child aswell as deal with tantrums.

candycoatedwaterdrops Wed 04-Sep-13 16:52:23

pumpkin but the children of working people are entitled to the free hours. There had to be a cut off point though.

LimitedEditionLady Wed 04-Sep-13 18:08:02

Thank you for posting that brdgrl.Unless people live next to nursery or can somehow afford a car on a low income its not much time is it.A lot of parents will make a genuine effort to get their child there.

LimitedEditionLady Wed 04-Sep-13 18:12:25

When my son gets his fifteen hours shall i justify that to everyone?
Well ill probably be going work if they will give me some more hours,or i may find myself a college course that fits in with it or i may just clean my home and prepare dinner.So does anyone have a criticism of what im going to do when he gets fifteen hours at three?

ReallyTired Wed 04-Sep-13 18:14:02

You can force parents to attend parenting classes unless their parenting is extremely bad. In my area a lot of the parents had no interest in parenting classes, singing sessions at the children's centre, baby massage or what ever takes a middle class parent's fancy.

However the take up of free nursery places is good. Personally I don't think that any two year old needs 15 hours a week if its for education purposes. I would prefer that most low-income-family two year olds were given 6 hours a week and prehaps children with special needs/ social problems have the full 15.

dysfunctionallynormal Wed 04-Sep-13 18:25:24

Maybe because they deserve a break too and thechild needs to learn social skills and have exposure to new environments.

That's the thing limited no one gives a toss what anyone does with their time when they turn 3.

It's just when somehow has the sheer audacity to get those 15 hours a year earlier that people think they have the right to dissect their lives.

LimitedEditionLady Wed 04-Sep-13 18:30:38

Im all for the free hours for the kids but not for the parents to have a break.If your partners earns well and you are a sahm or a sahd you dont get a break.Its not a break when my ds goes to nursery,i go to work.This is my point its not for a break for parents.

Sokmonsta Wed 04-Sep-13 19:00:10

Ask your HV. With twins you may become eligible for some funding if they have capacity. I've been told to ask when my dts turn 2, purely because there are two of them and our local services recognise the impact this can have in generally getting out and about and socialising two small children, as well as giving parents a short break from the demands of two small children.

Sirzy Wed 04-Sep-13 19:04:21

Sometimes though it will provide a much needed break for the parents. If you are struggling with a child with additional needs and have no support beyond the nursery and the 15 hours then yes the parents deserve it for a break. Even if thats just to clean without disruption, or catch up on sleep because their child never sleeps.

LimitedEditionLady Wed 04-Sep-13 19:07:38

Im not referring to parents with SEN there sorry.Of course thats different,im sure its very different.

Sirzy Wed 04-Sep-13 19:08:43

Even without SEN though often the issues that mean the child is eligible will impact upon the parents too.

LimitedEditionLady Wed 04-Sep-13 19:14:27

Well i still maintain that it is for the child.The parents arent what its meant for,Im not going to change my thoughts on that,I dont know of every home situation so i will stick by that i agree its good for the children.

LimitedEditionLady Wed 04-Sep-13 19:16:53

The op wasnt talking about SEN i doubt she would say parents of a child with additional needs dont deserve a break too.

Sirzy Wed 04-Sep-13 19:18:06

Yes it is for the child without doubt, but the posters that have been judging what the parents do during that time are being unfair.

and the OP has admitted she doesn't really know the circumstances

LimitedEditionLady Wed 04-Sep-13 19:20:10

I know they are i expressed the same?

SlobAtHome Wed 04-Sep-13 19:22:51

Holy crap, I was on income support for being a lone parent. You're telling me I could have had 15 hours free from the age of 2? sad

Instead of being sat at home all day long, totally alone, with a small child, completely depressed and struggling? damn sad Wish I had known. My mental health only started getting better once I got the break of DS at preschool.

SlobAtHome Wed 04-Sep-13 19:23:53

DS and I both suffered from my mental health issues. We both needed the break, and it's only since working that I am completely ok.

OddBoots Wed 04-Sep-13 19:25:11

SlobAtHome some areas had pilot projects but this has only come in for most of the country now, it's a fairly new thing.

LimitedEditionLady Wed 04-Sep-13 19:43:19

Yeah you wouldve qualified with mh issues and on income support

diaimchlo Wed 04-Sep-13 20:37:43

When will people stop stereotyping????? Every time I see a thread on MN where an OP says they are not 'benefit bashing' you can guarantee it happens, maybe not by the OP but the stereotypers come out in droves.


Phineyj Wed 04-Sep-13 21:56:28

Yes it is for the children but the side effect is, it gives the parents a break. I can see that might be annoying if you are struggling and don't qualify.

YANBU for feeling that way but YABU because if there wasn't such a policy the DC probably wouldn't go and there would be knock on problems later.

sashh Thu 05-Sep-13 05:42:42

I would be interested to understand the reasoning too!

Because children from disadvantages families have been entering school totally unprepared and a year developmentally behind your little darling(s).

So it is for your benefit too, so the nasty children from the council estate don't drag your children down in reception.

<generalising, not all deprived children live on council estates or have feckless parents>

LimitedEditionLady Thu 05-Sep-13 17:55:15

Thats a bit harsh,the nasty kids from the council dragging your kids down?whats wrong with kids from.council estates?im from a council estate.I was not a nasty child or had feckless parents.My parents brought me up very well thanks,i was by far never behind in any way.Dont say things like that.That is very narrow minded and offensive.

brdgrl Thu 05-Sep-13 18:16:27

Limited, if I may speak up for sashh - I believe she was being sarcastic - it is a very nasty attitude, one that underlies the sort of benefit bashing seen on this thread and many others, and one (I think) that she was responding to, not endorsing.

LimitedEditionLady Thu 05-Sep-13 18:31:51

Dont like seeing that at all.That really gets my goat.

alemci Thu 05-Sep-13 18:39:01

YANBU - it would irritate me too. If they don't work, why do they need to get free childcare when working parents have to pay for it.

I do understand that it is to socialise their dc Perhaps if the parent had to do some sort of voluntary task whilst their dc were cared for in nursery then it would seem fairer.

alot of working parents are struggling to pay for childcare so it doesn't seem right.

hettienne Thu 05-Sep-13 18:55:16

Disadvantaged children are getting one extra year of 15 hours early education alemci, to help them catch up with their more advantaged peers. It's not about the parents.

Sirzy Thu 05-Sep-13 19:00:37

Alemic - try reading the thread!

alemci Thu 05-Sep-13 19:21:26

I can't read it all but I do still agree with ops take on it.

ooh I take your point about helping the dc catch up.

Chunderella Thu 05-Sep-13 20:19:03

Alemci can you see that some of the DC who qualify do so because they have parents who are ill, or disabled, or have SEN or are looking after a sibling who has problems? So the parents having to do a voluntary task wouldn't necessarily be possible. And that some of the parents work, so they wouldn't be available anyway?

alemci Thu 05-Sep-13 20:33:43

yes I can and it is a good thing in those scenarios chunderella smile

morethanpotatoprints Thu 05-Sep-13 20:48:55

OP, you have a job, savings and can afford to cut down your hours and still pay the bills.
The free 15 hours is for education for those children worse off than yours.
It is not free childcare and only available to the disadvantaged in some way.
Why not thank your lucky ass that you are not entitled to the free 15 hours, rather than moaning about the unfairness of it all.

TwasBrillig Fri 06-Sep-13 16:25:32

I've recently found out we qualify (husband was in a good job, recently made redundant). Its a bit odd but I suspect I'll take it up as its offered. I have ill health and don't have a support network so it will be well appreciated, even though that wasn't treason we're eligible.

I'm not sure if it will benefit my daughter any more than being with me but I think it will it will help me get some voluntary experience so I canhopefully go back to work.

It does seem off we're eligible for it, and it doesn't get taken off us when husband returns to work (hopefully).

TwasBrillig Fri 06-Sep-13 16:26:02

Off? Odd that we're eligible.

nikaia60 Mon 02-Dec-13 15:23:47

princess - on the plus side she's only getting 'lovely me time' because the gov deems her parenting lacking. think of that each time she gloats!! At least you have the satisfaction that you brought your children up yourself

Blimey, what a terrible, horribly judgmental thing to say. It makes me feel really sad that people like the woman that posted that buy into these false stereotypes - we're either middle class supermums doing a fantastic job, or we're feckless chavs sitting at home on benefits doing a shit job at parenting.

I now qualify for free early education for my 2 year old daughter. Earlier this year my husband left me, with two children under 4, neither of whom sleep properly - so I get between 2 and 4 hours sleep a night. I used to run my own business part time but have had to stop trading as I am barely functioning at the moment, and will therefore go onto Income Support and my daughter will get a free nursery place. This will give me some very much needed time to myself (I will be using my 'lovely me time' to catch up on sleep so that I can be in the right place mentally to be the mum I want to be - not to go shopping, get my nails done or watch TV) Life is pretty tough right now, but I know other people have a harder time so I'm not trying to tell my big sob story. Just want to point out that those people who qualify for this funding do so because they - and their dc's - need extra support. NOT because they have been deemed to be a crap parent!!
By the way dreamingofsun, you're not actually Katie Hopkins, are you?

MrsMook Mon 02-Dec-13 15:37:30

My friend has been told that she'll be eligable for the free hours at 2. It will be a great help to her as being a wheelchair user, getting around with a young toddler is logisticly hard. That "me" time will make simple functions like appointments and shopping much simpler.

Another friend had it for her 2 year old due to her anxiety and aggrophobia issues.

pianodoodle Mon 02-Dec-13 15:50:46

We barely scrape by on my p/t hours and DH's f/t, but don't qualify for the 15 hours until DD is 3.

Frankly I'm glad! I imagine if we were in the situation of qualifying for that extra year we'd be in a much worse place than we are now, and I don't envy anyone who is.

I hope they take full advantage and their kids enjoy nursery.

TheBigJessie Mon 02-Dec-13 15:54:28


nikaia60 Mon 02-Dec-13 16:09:36

Pretty appropriate really given my sleep situation!

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