15 hours free nursery places, how does this work?

(18 Posts)
dozensofpichu Wed 15-Aug-12 16:11:00

Sure this has been done before but can anyone advise my confused friend as I am out of touch with this! Her DD, 3 yo, attends a day nursery, 8-1 on a Wed, 1-6 on Fri. This fits around her work. The nursery have told her to claim the 15 hours she must change hours to 5x3 hour sessions. Can they do this? ATM she pays £30 for each day, they are saying she will still have to pay £21 per day, they will only allow her to use 3 hours of funding on a wed, and 3 on fri. This only equates to £9 off each day? Is the funding £3 ph and you have to top up ordinarily? Is this correct, that even though she uses 10 hours a week she can only use 6 hours of funding. I hope this makes sense!

frustratedpants Wed 15-Aug-12 16:14:43

I'm not sure if they can, but IME (2dcs) our nurserys have always been flexible and I've used all 15hrs in 2.5 days at times.

dozensofpichu Wed 15-Aug-12 16:18:45

Yes this is why I am confused, as my DS (admittedly a few years ago) went 2.5 days, using the 15 hours. We had to pay for 1 hour for the lunch hour, but morning then afternoon sessions were funded. My son was at a pre-school type setting though, whereas perhaps day nurseries that are open all year don't have the same rules.

You have to use it in five separate sessions (for example five mornings, or 2.5 days using 6 hours each day on the full days and paying for the rest at the nursery's hourly rate).
And remind her it if for term time only, in the holidays she will ahve to pay full-price again.

LIZS Wed 15-Aug-12 16:22:40

Depends how the LA and nursery implement the scheme, but yes it could have to fit into 3 hour "sessions" however they are defined. ie they may be 9am-12pm or 1pm-4pm so in theory if someone was just using 5 of these "sessions" they would n't have to pay but your friend would only be using 2 of them. They cannot charge top up fees for those hours but can for lunch and additional hours outside the sessions.

pingulingo Wed 15-Aug-12 16:33:39

To give the nursery the benefit of the doubt they may be confused by the terms of the funding. But the funding framework agreement that they sign states:

" The minimum that parents can expect in any LA is:
• five periods of 3 hours or
• three periods of 5 hours each week. "

and

"the full 15 hours over no fewer than three days (maximum 12.5 hours over two days) "

However, these 15 hours a week funding is based on term time hours, if your friend is at a private nursery, they may extend the free hours to cover the whole year at about 10.3 hours a week for the whole year. She needs to speak to her local authority, because she is "stretching her hours" it may be that they have additional rules around this or they can remind the nursery of what they signed up to when they took on the free funding (which is not compulsory that nurseries offer - so if they choose to take it, they need to abide by its rules!).

Sirzy Wed 15-Aug-12 16:38:29

The nursery DS is going to said that the hours had to be over 3 days to claim the full 15 hours, if it was 2 days they could only claim 12.5

dozensofpichu Wed 15-Aug-12 16:40:22

Ok, so have I understood this right?
funding is for 5x sessions upto 15 hours, so she's only using 1x morning and 1x afternoon= 6 funded hours.
She is charged for lunch on both days.
It looks like they are charging a top still though if only deducting £9 from the £30 cost of session with the 3 hours funded.
It applies to term time only.

How can she find out about preschools in her area? The type attached to the local primary or one that feeds to it?

dozensofpichu Wed 15-Aug-12 16:42:44

She asked for 3 periods of 5 hours and was told it doesn't work like that, pingulingo

perhaps she needs to ask for a copy of their terms then.

But it looks like she asked for two periods of five hours and that isn't an option because it has to be over three days.

dozensofpichu Wed 15-Aug-12 16:51:21

she currently does two periods of 5 hours but in light of funding she approached them for additional 5 hours and they said no!

Also the "three periods of five hours" is in a local authority setting not a private nursery so that might make a difference?

Sirzy Wed 15-Aug-12 16:54:14

They would say no because it's not as simple as 15 hours in nursery = free funding.

Mandy21 Wed 15-Aug-12 16:54:18

I think (IMO) that there are private nurseries that don't apply the guidelines as they should, still charge top ups etc as they rely on the fact that in every other aspect, parents are pleased with the care their children receive and won't report the nursery to the local council.

pingulingo Wed 15-Aug-12 16:56:09

I think she definately needs to speak to the LA and find out what the nursery agreed to when they accepted the funding. The LA pay the funding and can confirm what is allowed in her area - and if the nursery has the space to offer her a place if she is paying privately, but not if she is wanting funded hours then they could be breaking their funding agreement - there is quite a bit they sign up to which in summary says that children of funded places are not to be disadvantaged. Which again, your friend should highlight to her LA.

LIZS Wed 15-Aug-12 17:12:07

The setting don't get funding for 100% of the fees they would normally charge the parent. It could be she simply left it too late to ask for the extra hours and staff ratios meant they can't accomodate her dd for another day.

It doesn't matter if the nursery is maintained (LA) or private the rules are the same for all. The framework for delivering the free entitlement is changing in September so the 15 hrs can now be taken over two days. However each local authority "brokers" its own deal for providers to agree too which will have regard to the governments framework of what "must" be provided and what "should" be offered.

OP it sounds a bit odd I would suggest your friend contacts family information service to check her authority rules, as basically if a child does 10hrs over 2 days then she should get full 10 hrs free at your authoritys rate at point of delivery (£3?) this seems quite low to me, my LA is £3.32 and I know its one of the lowest, not heard of any lower than this. Also ask your friend to check if she paid a deposit or registration fee as this is not allowed if only accessing nursery for the free entitlement, the nursery should also offer the option of taking a packed lunch rather than charging for food.

Rubirosa Thu 16-Aug-12 20:47:22

The nursery can set any sessions they want.

At my nursery for instance, we only offer 5x mornings or 5x afternoons funded. So, if someone wanted 3 full days they would get 3x3 hours free and then have to pay for lunch and afternoon sessions on those days.

In your friends case she would be offered Mon-Fri 9-12 funded, then she would have to pay for 8am-9am and 12pm-1pm on a Wednesday and the whole 1-6 session on a Friday.

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