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Please tell me this can't be right!

(43 Posts)
perfectpeach Fri 11-Jul-14 10:22:22

My three year old is at a childminder 4 full days a week. I have apprehensions about sending him to the local school nursery in September as he is very sensitive and it is large, noisy and boisterous. The childminder said she is unwilling for him to have his free 15 hours with her as he will get better socialisation at the nursery. So against my better judgment I have enrolled him at the local nursery.

She has said she will still charge me for full days even when he is at the nursery as she will be taking him and collecting him and she won't be taking on another child and she will be free to collect him should he get poorly and it will keep his place with her open in the school holidays.

I am annoyed because even though he will be getting free hours, I won't be saving any money. I am a single, self employed mother. I would be better off on benefits but I don't want to give up work. It just galls me as I don't want him to be in the nursery anyway, given a choice. I am only sending him because of the childminder not giving me a choice. If she is going to keep his place open and charge me full price for the privilege then why can't he be with her full time and have his free hours with her and we will be better off? It's a saving of £50 a week which is a huge amount for me, it's the difference between eating cheap, but filling, rubbish or a diet that has fresh fruit, veg and meat in it. It means the difference between risking a food bank if work hasn't gone well, or me actually being able to buy food. I could go on to income support and be better off but I don't want to be on benefits, I want to work, and work will become more profitable in time, I am still getting established.

Is this standard practice for childminders? Because if it is I will lump it, if it isn't I will tell her I am going to look for alternative childcare.

Thanks

Absolutely standard if they are picking up and dropping off. Does shelf fertile free hours as a CM? Not all of them do.

You don't have to send your child anywhere you don't want to.

Patrickstarisabadbellend Fri 11-Jul-14 10:25:35

That doesn't sound right at all.

*does she offer that's should be, sorry

Thurlow Fri 11-Jul-14 10:30:00

Hmm. This is a difficult one. I'm not a CM but I use one and I have to say I was sort of expecting that I would have to continue to pay her when DD starts doing those free sessions as nursery, because it's not like the CM can do anything else with those few short hours. And I know most CM's don't take the free hours themselves as I believe it works out less money than the rate the parents might pay?

It's interesting that she is saying that she thinks he should go to nursery, but she might be right - only you can trust your judgement there on that one.

It's hard for you but I can see where the CM is coming from re her monthly income. A saving of £50 for you would presumably be a loss of £50 for her.

What does your contract say?

Itsfab Fri 11-Jul-14 10:44:04

Why are you letting a CM dictate to you? Fine for her to say she doesn't want to look after him any more but to say he must go somewhere else is out of order. I suspect she fancies some free money. I would be removing him and finding the right person to look after him.

I moved my daughter from a play school and nursery because I didn't like how things were going.

perfectpeach Fri 11-Jul-14 11:11:53

She doesn't offer free hours for three year olds, but she didn't make that clear when I interviewed her. She either mislead me or changed her mind after my ds started with her

First of all she said she was told by another CM that if he had his free hours with her she would have to be inspected more often by OFSTED and she didn't want that. I researched it and found it to be wrong and told her that the cm who told her that was mistaken and she turned round and said she didn't want to have him full time come September anyway as she wouldn't be able to meet all his socialisation needs and he would be better off in nursery.

I live in a village and can't afford a car yet. There's only one private nursery in the village which is where he was but they were ripping me off which is why I removed him and put him with a childminder. Because of public transport here being dire, looking for childcare outside the village while not having a car is not an option, so to a certain extent I am at the mercy of the childminder and what she dictates because my options are limited right now

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 11-Jul-14 11:21:11

Paying while the child is at nursery is absolutely standard, as it should be. She can't be expected to take a pay cut because you choose to send your child somewhere else for three hours a day.

The childminder not taking the funded hours is also very common. It's more hassle, more paperwork and less money.

The childminder insisting he go to nursery is not normal practice. However, you're not actually any worse off financially as the nursery hours are free. She may be right that nursery will be good for him. Are you planning to home school? If not, nursery is a good preparation for a noisy reception class.

Your childminder is also self-employed and also needs to earn money to buy food.

addictedtosugar Fri 11-Jul-14 11:22:27

Yes, sorry. It is standard practice round here for kids who do a 3 hour session every day for the pre school.

We have managed to secure a place which is half day on a wednesday, and then all day thurs and fri. So we can cancel the place on a thurs and fri, and just need the breakfast club and after school sessions. Wednesday I need to pay the full day AND take him at lunchtime (nursery will only do morning and afternoon school runs, hence we can't use a 5 day a week arrangement).

Does the school nursery offer a 2.5 day arrangement?

justabigdisco Fri 11-Jul-14 11:27:06

The free hours are not for childcare, they are for early years education. So it is fair enough that your CM doesn't offer the free hours (mine doesn't either despite working with the EYFS).

HoorayHenri Fri 11-Jul-14 11:44:04

Many CMs don't offer the 15 hrs. As a PP said they are for early years education, not childcare, and the CM is paid for them at an hourly rate usually much less than what the parent pays. As far as I know the CM also needs an additional level of training to qualify as a provider of those 15 hours (mine doesn't have it, and made that clear).

What is odd to me, though, is that she is insisting he go to pre-school if you'd rather he didn't. You are paying her come what may, so my view would be it is up to you whether he stays with her or you choose for him to go to pre-school. You should decide what his 'socialisation' needs are.

My choice for my DCs is that they get used to a school-like environment, but if I didn't like the options available I would be stunned if the CM 'forced' me!

luckylou Fri 11-Jul-14 11:58:45

As others have said, charging full fee while a child is at part-time nursery is standard practice.

Your childminder wouldn't be able to fill those 3 hours; and if she was able to, she wouldn't be able to have your child during school holidays or on inset days for those 3 hours.

It's only recently that all childminders with an Ofsted rating of good or outstanding have been able to offer the free hours as a matter of course. My co-childminder and I jumped through hoops to get the right to do so, in a process that took a few months (and included a visit and report from a qualified early years teacher, even though we are both qualified and experienced early years teachers ourselves).

The process was completed in summer 2013, and we became only the second and third childminders in our borough to offer the 15 hour entitlement.

So it's very unlikely that your childminder either misled you or changed her mind.

Yes, not getting the free hours means you lose money. Offering it would mean your childminder lost income. Only a proportion of the childminder's hourly rate is reimbursed, unless s/he were to charge an extremely low rate.

Having now been through the whole process for two children in our care, we have decided that we will no longer be offering the free hours. It's turned out to be a lot of trouble and extra admin, and it means we are currently subsidising the families of two children to the tune of £18.15 each for 39 weeks a year - a total of £1,415.70 a year.

Your childminder is not in a position to insist your child goes to nursery, though. Your options are to go ahead with the nursery place, or to tell her that no, you want him to be with her during those hours.

perfectpeach Fri 11-Jul-14 12:08:34

Thanks luckylou that sheds a lot of light on it

However when I went to talk to her when looking for a childminder I said come September I would like my son to stay with her and she didn't say anything. It then came up in conversation after I signed him up with her and she said ok and then later on she found problems and then said she wasn't happy to have him

I would want my childcare provider to actually want to have my son so I wouldn't tell her she had to have him if she doesn't want to have him those hours, so my option is to take the place at the nursery or find another childminder or another public/private nursery that I don't have misgivings about, but any option other than taking the place at the nursery is going to cause logistical issues as I don't have a car

Going to have a long think about everything

PenelopeGarciasCrazyHair Fri 11-Jul-14 13:06:16

Most likely your CM didn't know about the ins and outs of the 15 hours when you spoke to her, she probably thought it would be (as you imagined) a simple switch, with you saving £50 and her being reimbursed for those hours by the government.

Once she realised she was losing money for the same amount of childcare, plus all the extra admin and checks that are needed, she changed her mind, but not in a malicious way, just in a kind of "well now I know the details, that isn't really going to work for me" kind of way.

She could get another child who isn't entitled to the 15 hours and continue earning the same money, so as a self-employed business owner, that would be her best course of action.

To me it would seem best all round for your DS to enjoy the experience of nursery, for you to be no worse off financially and for your CM to continue to earn the same amount, while taking responsibility for dropping and collecting DS and being there during holidays and inset days etc, as others have said.

If you don't have any other options I'd be careful about peeing her off over this, as it is really only a couple of hours, during which your DS will still be well looked after and happy. Think of it like her taking him to a toddler group, she is still responsible for him, but she gets to go off and have a coffee and a chat while he plays with other children and then she will pick him up and take care of him again.

BlinkingHeck Fri 11-Jul-14 13:25:43

Could your son do 2 full days at nursery and 2 full days at CM?
There may be a small amount payable to nursery maybe for lunch cover as I'm sure nursery / pre school have to offer sessions e.g am and pm. Then lunch is sometimes charged separately.

It will be cheaper for you.

Frontier Fri 11-Jul-14 13:29:14

I don't think it's unusual for her to charge for the hours at pre-school and on the basis of what's been said above it's not surprising that she can't/won't cover the free hours but I would be very uncomfortable leaving my child with someone who keeps changing her story ( lying) about the reasons she can't have him. She certainly shouldn't be dictating to you about whether he should go to nursery. She may be right but it's still your decision.

It sounds like she quite fancies 15 hours paid time off per week - which is what any childminder who has a pre-schooler who's taking the free hours would get, but she should be prepared to work for those hours if that's what you want.

Is she otherwise very good?

HSMMaCM Fri 11-Jul-14 13:31:06

Many CMs charge for time children are at preschool. A few offer the free hours.

What worries me is if she is saying she doesn't want him for those hours. In my mind that makes her unavailable to work those hours, so why should she be paid.

Are you sure it's not just that she doesn't want to register to provide funded places and would happily have him full time? You wouldn't be losing any money as you're paying for a full time spce anyway.

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 11-Jul-14 13:32:43

as others have said its perfectly normal for a cm to charge while at preschool as they are under 5 and therefore cant use the 3hr space to get another child as impossible to find someone who wants childcare 9-12

they are on call if your child is ill/bangs head etc

many cms dont accept the 15hrs as often it is a lower hourly rate so they will be out of pocket

obv she has no right to say you must use vouchers at the nursery, if you do want to, i would if the nursery is open all day use them for one/two days there and then cm for other days

iwantavuvezela Fri 11-Jul-14 13:36:44

I think the hours provision for children has changed, and you can now take your 15 hours over 2 full days rather than spread out over 5 days. Could you look into that, then you could keep your childminder but for less days?
Or th nursery should accept the hours and deduct something off...

luckylou Fri 11-Jul-14 13:46:13

The nursery the OP has enrolled her son at is the local school nursery, not a day nursery. There's no flexibility of hours at a local authority school nursery; the place is either morning five days a week or afternoon five days a week.

And they've always been free...

Jinxxx Fri 11-Jul-14 13:51:02

Similarly to LuckyLou, I jumped through hoops to "qualify" in the eyes of our LA to offer funded places for three year olds. Since then, the council has frozen and later reduced the already low rate payable to childminders for this service, to the point that offering a place really does mean working for a pittance which barely covers expenses. Added to this, I would be paid for these hours several weeks in arrears, only be paid 38 weeks per year, and be expected to personally bear the risk that my claim for reimbursement might be turned down for reasons outside my control, including the parent not actually being eligible or fraudulently claiming too many hours. I am not prepared to offer places on those terms.

So, I would understand completely if your CM has decided not to offer the "free" hours. Free to parent means half paid by government and half paid by childminder!

I don't know this particular child, but I think a lot of parents are brainwashed into putting their children into preschool too early. I only put my own children into preschool to get to know some potential classmates for a single term, and that was plenty. Along with any CM worth their salt, I was capable of teaching them to read, write, count etc at home, and to give them plenty of opportunities for social interaction at groups and so on, as well as loads of outings and outdoor activity. I have done the same for minded children of likeminded parents. The ridiculous fiasco that is funded places makes it very difficult for parents to have this choice as it seems the government is intent on forcing children into schools, however badly that suits their individual needs or their families'.

PhoebeMcPeePee Fri 11-Jul-14 14:35:51

It's definitely standard practise to charge for the 3 hours if a parent chooses to use them at a nursery during their childminding hours however, I would go back to cm and ask her to confirm that if you decide not to bother with the funded place anymore that she is willing & able to have your child. If she's not then you absolutely shouldn't be paying for a place that isn't available & she's being extremely cheeky but ultimately if you don't like you may just have to look elsewhere for childcare.

bbkl Fri 11-Jul-14 15:34:34

Can you find out a bit more from her about why she thinks your son would be better off at the nursery? It may be that she'll have no other child his age, or that she's noticed at the groups they go to that no other children his age attend because they are all at nursery. This certainly happened to us and as a result my 3 year old got much less out of the groups (mostly non-verbal toddlers) than she would have done if more three year olds had been there. In the end she went to nursery so she could socialise!

BlinkingHeck Fri 11-Jul-14 18:24:09

Lucky - some school nurseries take children full days and some even allow parents to pay for additional hours.

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