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Is it usual to pay for childcare in advance?

(22 Posts)
ChancetoDance Thu 02-Jan-14 19:27:37

And to pay for booked sessions whether or not the child attends?

I am administrator for a school run breakfast and afterschool club and we have terrible trouble getting paid.

The main objections are:

- That we ask for payment weekly in advance. i.e if your child is attending any sessions next week you need to have paid by the Monday of that week. This seems to cause problems because CTC is paid in arrears?

- If a child is off sick, so not at school or the club, parents don't expect to pay

We ask for payment in advance because experience shows that if we don't we very often don't get paid at all. It's been a real eye-opener to me, just how many parents don't pay their way with school things.

The sickness is because the club is full - if a place is booked it can't be offered to another child whether or not the child attends.

The childcare costs are very reasonable and the club is run on a very tight budget to keep it as cheap as possible for parents.

Are we being unreasonable with these conditions? The way some parents speak to me when trying to implement them has made me question it.

RudolphLovesoftplay Thu 02-Jan-14 19:37:59

Our schools breakfast/after school club operates this way. What it means for us is because there are no ad-hoc sessions available, my DS takes up a "full time" space that he doesn't actually need. He only goes 3 days a week but they aren't regular days, hence we have to pay for 2 days we don't use. I don't actually mind as it means he def has a place, but the club has a massive waiting list and his 2 days would be snapped up by someone else if only the club could be more flexible.

Dunno if that actually helps??!! Sorry

ChancetoDance Thu 02-Jan-14 19:51:19

We do allow part-timers actually and will accommodate ad hoc if spaces are available but they usually aren't.

Yes, it's helpful. I thought it was normal and presumably the way any alternative (childminder/out of school nursery?) would operate too.

Totally normal to pay in advance and if child not there as you can't offer that space elsewhere.

lilyaldrin Thu 02-Jan-14 19:54:00

Normal is monthly, in full, in advance ime. Some childminders might allow ad-hoc arrangements or payments in arrears.

WidowWadman Thu 02-Jan-14 19:57:08

Our after school club doesn't charge if session is cancelled with 5 days notice, I find that really generous, as our nursery expects 2 months' notice and you can't cancel single sessions. I think it's totally reasonable to charge in advance and for sessions not attended as you have to pay the staff no matter if the kid is there or not.

Hoppinggreen Fri 03-Jan-14 10:05:32

I don't use ours but I understand its monthly in advance.
They can accommodate ad hoc sessions if there is space.

fivesacrowd Fri 03-Jan-14 18:21:02

I'm a cm, paid monthly in advance. Most parents totally fine with it and know that if their child is off for any reason they still pay. One parent was always late paying and it turned out that if her dd was invited for play dates after school or if gran was willing to do pick up she would try not to pay me for those days - didn't seem to get the concept of her dd taking up a space whether she came or not. I get all parents to sign scma contract at start so that they know the rules (also offer adhoc care if I have space and that's always paid on the day). There will always be parents trying to take the mick - the trick is to weed them out before you take them on. Personally I hate the business side of cm but I'm getting tougher with experience.

Twinklestarstwinklestars Sat 04-Jan-14 08:47:27

I'm a cm and charge in advance for all booked hours, if I end up being sick/closed for any other reason I refund it at the end of the month.

Bakerof3pudsxx Sat 04-Jan-14 08:48:43

Paid in advance is normal

As is paying if child does not use the day

They are still taking up a space

wannabestressfree Sat 04-Jan-14 09:01:48

Our school breakfast club and after school clubs charge for the term about a week into the term. You then have until the end of the month to pay (to allow for payday). If they don't receive payment your child is not given the option of after school clubs of their choice next term.

I think it's very fair

Zamboni Sat 04-Jan-14 09:07:21

My nursery charged like this. Booked sessions all charged and must be paid for in advance. No exception for holidays/sickness of child/bank holidays.

WidowWadman Sat 04-Jan-14 09:12:18

Zamboni neither after-school club nor nursery charge for bank holidays/times they are closed here, and I don't think that'd be fair. Charging for times when they're open and the child doesn't attend is something entirely different.

Zamboni Sat 04-Jan-14 09:17:30

I know, the bank holiday thing irks me especially as DC only attend on Mondays and Fridays but it's a supply and demand thing here.

ScarletButterfly Sat 04-Jan-14 09:20:47

Both the nursery my DD attended and now the breakfast and after school clubs she goes to is paid in arrears. I get an invoice at the end of the month with how many sessions she has attended during that month, and a week to settle the bill or she isn't allowed to attend until it's paid. But I did find this very strange. It's helpful as I have a timetable that changes a lot, however I was expecting to have to book her in for a full time place and just pay for it, despite it not being used.

minderjinx Sat 04-Jan-14 09:24:03

Plenty of private nurseries do charge year round, including bank holidays when they are closed. I know mine did, and for parents' holiday and any other child absences. I actually think that's fair enough, as they still need to pay their staff on bank holidays, and at that time I got paid for bank holidays myself.

But I think it is true to say that before and after school clubs are generally open only when the local school is, and only charge for days they are open. Ours charges half a term in advance.

Mikkii Sat 04-Jan-14 09:29:04

Our after school club invoices at start of month, payment due by 14th of month. Ad hoc sessions (if available) payable on the day.

If you don't attend booked sessions you still pay, e.g. For sickness. The only exception is end of term when school finishes at 12.30, we have a choice of not using (or paying) or a double session at twice normal rate.

Nursery we still pay for bank holidays, even when closed. DD2 only does Monday and Friday so I feel unfairly penalised.

thenicknameiwantedisgone Sat 04-Jan-14 09:38:27

Our breakfast and out of school club charges in arrears. In the middle of the month you book the dates for the next calendar month. Any dates cancelled with 24hrs notice are not charged.

At the end of the month you get an invoice for the month just finished with charges for the sessions the child attended only (or cancelled with less than 24hr notice). You then have until 10th of the following month to pay.

I paid my old childminder monthly in advance but the current one prefers me to pay at the end of the month. DS only goes ad hoc sessions though (over 8 so doesn't count for ratios) and an average of 5 days a month, so at least if I pay at the end of the month we know it's the right amount.

FamiliesShareGerms Sat 04-Jan-14 09:41:53

Our breakfast club is paid in advance and only allows "credit" to be carried over for second and subsequent days of sickness where they have been properly informed, which I think is a decent compromise and allows the space to be freed for - and paid for by - ad hoc requests

Mosschops30 Sat 04-Jan-14 09:43:21

Sounds perfectly reasonable.

Ds1 after school club charges a month in advance and of course you don't get money back if he doesn't attend or is sick. The only time this is different is if school is closed for snow or inset.

Similarly ds2 childminder charges a month in advance, the only time you don't pay for sessions is if she is sick, however she is very flexible and we have a good relationship so we normally sort something out

NotCitrus Sat 04-Jan-14 09:49:01

Our after school club you have to pay at least 3 days before the first session, and at least a month in advance - cancellations are subject to £20 admin fee which is more than cost of a session. It's run by a charity. There's spaces for ad hoc extra children (you can sign up to be eligible for that for a fee)

The school run breakfast club and offer ad hoc childcare - you can pay in advance or drop your kid off with £2. Unfortunately it only starts at 8:30 which isn't much help to most working parents. The nearby school claimed to offer the same system but has had to restrict it as they ran out of space - don't know how they sort that.

Nursery is supposed to be payment in advance but is generally near the end of the month once vouchers etc have gone in.

NotCitrus Sat 04-Jan-14 09:49:30

Our after school club you have to pay at least 3 days before the first session, and at least a month in advance - cancellations are subject to £20 admin fee which is more than cost of a session. It's run by a charity. There's spaces for ad hoc extra children (you can sign up to be eligible for that for a fee)

The school run breakfast club and offer ad hoc childcare - you can pay in advance or drop your kid off with £2. Unfortunately it only starts at 8:30 which isn't much help to most working parents. The nearby school claimed to offer the same system but has had to restrict it as they ran out of space - don't know how they sort that.

Nursery is supposed to be payment in advance but is generally near the end of the month once vouchers etc have gone in.

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