Funded Hours at a private nursery

(43 Posts)
SarahJinx Thu 17-Jul-14 08:32:50

Hi. I'm hoping someone can can give me a bit of a steer on this please.

DS was three in May, so his free hours start in September. He attends a private nursery in a prep school, a full day is 8.30 - 3.30 and he goes twice a week, so fourteen hours. I expected to have to pay for lunch. I have just received the invoice for next term, they are charging us two hours every day. I've queried and the bursar has said that the maximum grant per day is five hours. Is that correct? And, if it isn't, what can I do about it?

Really appreciate any help.

HSMMaCM Thu 17-Jul-14 17:29:20

It is different everywhere, but if they offer their funded sessions in five hour blocks, then it's correct for them.

BikeRunSki Thu 17-Jul-14 17:34:07

^ this ^

BikeRunSki Thu 17-Jul-14 17:38:06

Although 5 hours seems a strange period for a funded session. 3 is more normal.

snozzlemaid Thu 17-Jul-14 21:18:51

Check with your local authority. Ours pay up to 10 hours a day so you could have 14 spread over 2 days here in Cornwall.

BellaOfTheBalls Thu 17-Jul-14 21:23:57

I think how the funded hours are taken varies by establishment. It might be by LEA. DS1's first preschool was open 5 hours a day, 4 days a week. You could only use all your funded hours there if you paid for the fourth day of the week. We then moved & his next nursery stated you had to do either 5 x 3 or 3 x 5 hour sessions. DS2's preschool you pick and choose whatever suits your needs!

Sarahkk46 Thu 17-Jul-14 23:14:48

15 hours are for nurseries that are term time only, 10 hours are for nurseries who are open throughout the year. It was explained to me that the hourly rate of a nursery is around �6-8 per hour but the government only pay around �3.40 so parents have to top up the difference

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Thu 17-Jul-14 23:50:04

Bike, my private nursery does 2.5 h in the morning and 2.5h in the afternoon, so making 5 h per day.

Only1scoop Thu 17-Jul-14 23:55:45

At our private nursery dd does 6 hours per day 3 days per week. We just pay the 3 hours per week during term time but obviously full amount in hols.

BackforGood Thu 17-Jul-14 23:58:14

Not exactly Sarahkk - the funding is Education funding, so for term time only, but can - and is - used at all the Nurseries that are open all year round. The 'norm' is the nursery is open all yr round, but the 'funded children' attend term time only, but I do understand there are some individual private arrangements made between Nurseries and parents who prefer to have a fixed amount going out each month, so they 'adjust the figures' accordingly.

BackforGood Thu 17-Jul-14 23:59:37

Also, although you are right about the 'per hour' payment usually being lower than the fees parents would pay (this amount varies between LAs) the Nursery are not allowed (legally) to ask for 'top up payments' from parents.

snozzlemaid Fri 18-Jul-14 07:48:38

In our area you can have the 15 hours over the 38 weeks or if you want it all year you can have 11 hours a week over 51 weeks.
And like BackforGood says they are not allowed to ask for top ups for the funded hours. I know that some do though.

SarahJinx Sat 19-Jul-14 11:27:52

Thanks all. Bursar says that sessions ARE three hourly, but because funded hour rates are so low they need parents to pay the extra bit to cover extras like snacks etc....

If we want him to stay there we have no choice, he can't just attended for the funded hours and they don't 'share' with other childcare facilities so we're going to waste five of our fifteen.

BackforGood Sat 19-Jul-14 11:44:20

Again - setting can split the 15 hours. This happens regularly.
It's this particular nursery that is not following the rules.
Of course - knowing they are breaking the rules is only useful to you if you have alternatives that work for you.

SoonToBeSix Sat 19-Jul-14 11:48:51

You don't need to waste them you could send him in for five hours in the other day , it is after all meant to be education for your ds not childcare for you.

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Sat 19-Jul-14 11:49:56

I'm pretty sure the 15 hours belong to you so the setting couldn't stop you using 5 elsewhere, but you'd need to arrange it.

SoonToBeSix Sat 19-Jul-14 11:51:15

Sorry my post sounded rude reading it back I didn't meAnt it that way I was just trying to give the facts. It usa pain if the nursery can't be flexible but they aren't actually breaking any rules it is up to individual nurseries if they want to split the 15 hours over three days.

unlucky83 Sat 19-Jul-14 12:16:35

In Scotland so might be a bit different - but I do the funding for a pre-school group. (And its changing from Sept - cos of 600hrs - 40 mins more a day)
We have to sign a really detailed contract....there are lots of rules we have to follow - and slight differences between different councils.
Children are (were) funded for 5 x 2.5hr sessions per week - they had to have a break of at least 1hr between the educational (funded) sessions and no more than 2 sessions per day - so a child in for a whole day would be eligible for one morning and one afternoon session.
Some councils won't do splits between providers - so you have to use all your funding with one group.
Our council will allow splits but only of 3:2 sessions - so you can have 3 sessions with one and 2 with another provider. But they won't fund just one session at a provider - you can't do a 4:1 split (so if you use 4 sessions for 2 full days with one provider you lose the 5th session)...
And it is only in term time!
Usual for full time nurseries here they charge you the full amount and refund all the funding they receive directly to you.

And it is paid per term - there is a cut off a couple of weeks into the term and after that you can't move the funding to someone else - original provider gets it even if you leave the day after that week - you can't transfer it to someone else mid-term have to wait till the next term...

In theory you could take your child to just the funded periods - and it should be completely free.

The best thing for you to do is ask your local council directly ...the Nursery should give you the number - or phone and ask to speak to early years education...

SarahJinx Sat 19-Jul-14 13:12:05

Thanks, that's what I'm trying to decipher really backforgood if they are making up rules. It's a funny old place, an independent prep school, the nursery is a feeder nursery into the school so they tend to do what they want.

I realise that the funding is for education, not for us thanks, but hate when I feel like I'm being made to pay for stuff that should be free and just want to determine if they are 'allowed' to do what they're doing. I'll talk to the lea I think.

It isn't their policy to share funding either, so I either rethink his attendance (I'm on mat leave so don't really want him attending more), or accept that we'll waste the hours.

SarahJinx Sat 19-Jul-14 13:15:07

Trouble is, I think if I rock the boat by asking about splitting funding etc they'll just ask us to leave and I'm not sure of that's what I want.

SoonToBeSix Sat 19-Jul-14 13:43:49

I am not sure that you are allowed to "waste" the hours the nursery has to keep a strict registrar for the lea or the don't get paid.

SoonToBeSix Sat 19-Jul-14 13:44:27

They can't ask you to leave .

unlucky83 Sat 19-Jul-14 14:15:38

You need to find out the rules from the council before you decide anything ...it is a minefield! Asking for clarification directly is not rocking the boat!
Like I said in our case it is the council who have decided how long a session is etc - and how/if those can be split - and also some councils don't allow splitting at all...

SarahJinx Sat 19-Jul-14 19:33:43

That's my plan unlucky just to find out what's what, before deciding what to do.

I have had clarity from the nursery owners, they've made themselves and their policies pretty clear, of the 14 hours per week that he attends, only 10 will be funded. They wont share the hours so that's it. Those hours equate to around £350 for the term.

That's their position, they may well be able to do that, I'll see what the LEA say, my point is also that if they aren't, what to do with that information.

SarahJinx Sat 19-Jul-14 20:43:48

That's my plan unlucky just to find out what's what, before deciding what to do.

I have had clarity from the nursery owners, they've made themselves and their policies pretty clear, of the 14 hours per week that he attends, only 10 will be funded. They wont share the hours so that's it. Those hours equate to around £350 for the term.

That's their position, they may well be able to do that, I'll see what the LEA say, my point is also that if they aren't, what to do with that information.

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