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funding for three year olds

(25 Posts)
Stoney666 Tue 05-Mar-13 14:31:52

Question:
Who does it and do u top it up? If so how? I've been advised to refuse as not cost effective for cm as illegal to top up ?

squinker45 Tue 05-Mar-13 14:51:16

My EY advisor said that you are not allowed to top up on those hours, however you can just up the charges for the rest of the time they are with you. If you only take them for funded hours this won't work so you would have to charge a lot for food or similar so as to not lose out.

Stoney666 Tue 05-Mar-13 14:56:33

But isn't putting Fees up
Or charging for meals topping up? Was my EY advisor that told me this was not allowed either

HSMMaCM Tue 05-Mar-13 15:37:34

There can be no costs associated with the free hours. Each LA also has their own policies, so ask to see a copy of them.

mindingalongtime Tue 05-Mar-13 16:33:25

It depends on where you are also, as to how much you gain or lose, some childminders where I am charge £7 an hour, but 15 minutes up the road it is £3.50 an hour, the funding is £5.50 an hour, so some gain, some lose, only one or two offer it where I live...... I wonder why!

Stoney666 Tue 05-Mar-13 16:38:36

Funding here is 3.50 I charge £6

mindingalongtime Tue 05-Mar-13 16:42:20

Many of the PVI's have withdrawn from the funded placed scheme here too, some charge huge sums for the wrap around and lunch time period, some say they can only take it over 3 days, ie, 5 hours each day which is their session.

squinker45 Tue 05-Mar-13 21:51:15

What is a PVI?

It is right that there can be no costs associated with the free hours, but putting fees up for wrap around is a business decision that it is your right to make, based on your outgoings and budget etc. As long as it is clear on the invoice that the free hours are charged at the LEA rate, you can charge what you like for food or for wrap around care, as these things are within your control and no one has any right to set your fees. Even if you have put prices up precisely because the rate is too low, it is justifiable as part of your business plan and not illegal or, in my view, wrong in any way.

CMs are not charities and shouldn't be made to subsidise the government. If they need to tick boxes and provide places where they are needed, EY officers shouldn't be advising cms in this way as it only encourages them not to bother with the scheme at all, which helps no one.

mindingalongtime Tue 05-Mar-13 22:34:48

PVI - private, voluntary and independent

Stoney666 Tue 05-Mar-13 22:51:10

Which is precisely what my EY advisor did. Told me the scheme wasn't really good for my business and I should basically tell clients I won't do it.
I have told the client, they were upset because wanted child to be with me for some of the funded hours. Oh well I've told them now hmm

Tanith Tue 05-Mar-13 23:41:42

I'm not sure if this is country-wide but, in Surrey, you can't disadvantage someone for claiming the free entitlement.
This means that, not only must you not charge a top up, you must not charge in advance (e.g. charge for the term, then refund the money you get from the council), or load fees onto meals or extra hours unless you do it for everyone regardless of whether they claim or not.

Charging extra for wrap-around care would be against the rules unless you would also charge that same rate for a child who was not claiming the free entitlement.

The Council aren't dictating your fees but you are expected to subsidise any shortfall and yes, I agree it's very unfair.

Tanith Tue 05-Mar-13 23:47:46

Forgot to add, here we are not allowed to put the LEA rate on the invoice. We are only allowed to show the free hours the parent has had.

The cynic in me reckons that's so parents don't realise we're subsidising them.

mindingalongtime Wed 06-Mar-13 11:06:13

"Charging extra forwrap*-*around care would be against the rules unless you would also charge that same rate for a child who was not claiming the free entitlement

None of my clients are on the same fee rate, some pay double rate for wrap around some pay nothing, all my clients fees are individual to their contract, and none know what the other is paying, so why ca you not charge differently?

Not contentious, just curious!

mindingalongtime Wed 06-Mar-13 11:08:26

Another gripe is that we have to wait 8 weeks for our money and are not allowed to charge the client full fee in the interim, some childminders cannot afford to do that, especially of they have 3 on early years funding, that amounts to over £300 a week for me, so short some £2500!

squinker45 Wed 06-Mar-13 14:21:00

Me too, some of my clients are on different fees for different reasons. I don't see how it's anyone's business, or how they would enforce such a rule.

5.50 would be brill, round here the rate is 3.25. I understand that the LEA sets the rate - the government gives them a load of cash and they can spend it however they like. Sounds totally mad, how can they ever keep track of how much money equates to how many hours of free childcare? no wonder it's all gone to the dogs!

Stoney666 Wed 06-Mar-13 15:26:55

Spoke to a cm buddy who says they all take funding and adjust fees accordingly
I'm not sure what to do now?
not to keen in waiting ages for the government money part though

Tanith Wed 06-Mar-13 20:53:25

It's because you could be seen to prejudice a parent for claiming the free entitlement. Do you not have an up-front hourly rate? That's the rate that must be free for the funded hours: I appreciate you would make changes to individual contracts. What you can't do is say "Here is a parent claiming for the free entitlement, so I'll double the fee for the hours I can charge for."

The idea of the free entitlement is that a parent can take up that free session and not be charged at all for it. You could make it unattainable for someone who couldn't afford to pay if you top up, charge in advance etc. etc.

You're preaching to the converted, by the way. It is completely unfair to the provider. It's even more unfair when you consider that, rather than fund it properly and pay a decent rate, my LEA prefers to waste money on a ridiculously expensive and time consuming Quality Initiative that all accredited providers must have angry

Stoney666 Wed 06-Mar-13 20:58:04

thank you grin I had a good chat with parents. They fully understand and will use Pre school which I will do taking and picking up

squinker45 Wed 06-Mar-13 22:34:37

Hmm if the idea is that the parent who couldn't afford to pay should not be charged at all then that is a very very good thing - the government should pay what we charge in that case. I am a parent who cannot afford to subsidise other parents childcare costs unfortunately.

I charge a daily rate which isn't different if you use less hours - how would that work under Surrey rules I wonder? Even if parents use all of their 6 hours of free entitlement in a day they would still have to pay for the rest of the day, which adds up to a fixed fee.

bigpaws Thu 07-Mar-13 05:29:31

I have been accredited since January. I can honestly say it was the right decision for me. I am able to reduce childcare costs for my parents by giving them funded hours.

However, I am fortunate enough to get funded a higher rate than the hourly rate I charge. Only talking 18p an hour, but at least I'm not out of pocket. I wouldn't do it if I was at a loss.

Stoney666 Thu 07-Mar-13 06:32:22

the thing is they will now still have to pay me full rate while child is at preschool so they have gained nothing. it's madness

HSMMaCM Thu 07-Mar-13 07:45:26

I charge a daily rate. I charge a different daily rate for funded children.

HSMMaCM Thu 07-Mar-13 07:46:38

Stoney - my parents used to pay for a full day when their children were at pre school too.

Tanith Thu 07-Mar-13 11:32:00

I don't know how it works for a daily rate - we charge hourly - but I'm sure they'll have worked that one out, too!

When Surrey increased the free entitlement to 3 hours, they didn't increase the funding as well, so we effectively took a cut. They've increased it by a small amount now, but still not matching our fees so we do lose out.
I'm determined my parents are going to access their free entitlement, or I would have pulled out before now.

It does make me angry that we're not allowed to indicate how much we're subsidising it so the Government can pretend it's all paid for by them (they're quick enough to claim that childcare is too expensive - they are by and large the problem!!).

And I'm furious at having to spend hours of my precious free time producing reams of paperwork and evidence yet again (Quality First, my degree, NVQ 3 - how many more times!!) for this money-wasting Quality Initiative to prove yet again that I can do my job angryangry

Sorry. A world away from the OP, I know sad

minderjinx Thu 07-Mar-13 14:07:45

Totally agree with you Tanith. I am in the same boat, quite cross about being expected to jump yet more hoops for the "privilege" of yet more paperwork for funding which is below my current rate and barely covers my expenses, much less providing a wage. I will do the additional training and get the quality certification for my own satisfaction, but cannot see me offering 3YO funded places any time soon. The LA needs to get real!

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