The crisis in Early Years Childcare today

(17 Posts)
Katymac Tue 06-Oct-15 15:47:03

Early Years Education is funded by local councils, they pay an hourly rate to providers (including nurseries, daycare, playgroups and childminders). Often this hourly rate is less than the amount we charge non-funded children.

In my case it is 22% less - even allowing for a flexibility supplement (I open before 9 and after 3) and my Early Years Professional Status (a level 7 qualification). We are not allowed to charge more for the hours children attend outside of their funded hours and we have to accept children who just want 3 hours a day.

There are new ‘challenges’ on the horizon:

•a minimum wage heading towards £10
•a compulsory pension payment
•the new 30 hours people are so looking forward to (rumour suggests the second 15 hours are at a much lower rate than the already reduced first 15)

So, how do the government expect providers to expand to enable all the people eligible to use their 30 hours at a provider of their choice, when some areas are already unable to supply the 15 hours for every child that wants it and in other areas the providers have to choose between running at a loss or closing.

DesertorDessert Tue 06-Oct-15 18:30:25

It's absolutely ridiculous. Something will have to give, and since ratios are fixed, it will be the planning and training. Or the rest of the hours will have to be at a MUCH higher cost, meaning those who need FT will end up subdising PT places.

Although, if the additional 15 are for families where both work, they might well need full days?

Unworkable. The government needs to think harder about how to reduce the headline cost of childcare, without screwing the providers. Maybe they should talk to some of you about the difficulties faced, rather than putting in a knee jerk reaction to general moans about cost of childcare (which is high, but not becasue the pockets of the carers are being heavily lined)

Good luck in keeping your business profitable, Katy

HSMMaCM Tue 06-Oct-15 19:31:20

I have just about managed to provide the 15 hours, because I really wanted to offer the parents choice. Every single one of them chose to leave their child with me, rather than go to a pre school or nursery school. I have already warned the parents of younger children that I may not be able to offer the 30 hours.

DH and I both work with the children and it's our only income. The rate we are paid for the current 15 hours is only just over 50% of our normal rate. We simply can't afford this kind of cut in income. Some of our children only come for 20 or 30 hours a week.

TiggyD Tue 06-Oct-15 19:35:13

I think the time will come when nurseries will have to leave the "free" hours scheme altogether. It's a cap on income. The only option you have is to reduce outgoings, but with the minimum wage...there's just not enough to cut.

glenthebattleostrich Tue 06-Oct-15 19:48:02

I know quite a few childminders who already have withdrawn or plan to when the current child who is funded leaves. They certainly won't be offering the 30 hours, its completely unaffordable. It is a complete joke. I know one childminder who has given up because on the audit week when she had to give the hours the 2 children who are funded were off sick so she didn't get paid for the term. It was the final straw.

I've said all along, it should be a subsidy paid to parents to use, like tax credits. The childminder provides a copy of their register when requested but it is all the parents responsibility. After all, why should my other parents subsidize the free hours? If I offered them (which I refuse to do) I'd have to significantly increase my hourly rate across the board to compensate.

Or alternatively I could cut out the outings, stop replacing damaged and broken toys, not go on training courses (apart from the legal minimum), stop the arts and crafts, give up on sand / messy play and feed the kids rubbish quality food.

Katymac Tue 06-Oct-15 21:33:28

It seems to me to be a very quiet crisis; I wonder if parents will be on the boards here in Sept 2017 saying "I can't find anywhere that will take the 30 hours for my child"

HSMMaCM Tue 06-Oct-15 21:57:10

I really don't think parents realise that the government aren't paying for it. Just like they aren't paying for the school meals. I have tried to explain to my parents, but they are astounded that we don't just reclaim our costs from the government.

Katymac Tue 06-Oct-15 22:08:37

I didn't realise they weren't paying for school meals sad

I just see less & less choice for parents & 'children farms' in the future

HSMMaCM Tue 06-Oct-15 23:07:54

They are paying for school meals, but nowhere near the actual cost. Just the same as the free pre school education. Totally broken some of my local primary schools.

LieselVonTwat Wed 07-Oct-15 14:53:47

Can I ask, those of you who have posted, which areas of the country you're in? Because I get the distinct impression the impact of these policies varies by region. I'm in Manchester, and virtually all of our primary schools have a nursery that offered full time places already the academic year a child turns 4. That's been council policy for ages. Demand seems to broadly match supply, and the preschool aged children who aren't in full time placements at nursery schools are mainly not there because the parents don't want them to be. Land is also cheaper here so providers don't face the same costs as they do in eg London. I'm in an area where a higher than average percentage of children get free hours at 2, to the extent that a couple of nurseries have actually opened up in the past couple of years mainly to cater to the free hours. The nursery my child attends primarily has children on funded places: I know this because of seeing how empty it is during the school holidays. And yet they appear to be making ends meet, at least for the 15 hours. It's pretty good, great Ofsted and more importantly the kids are happy there and thriving. So I don't know that it will necessarily have much impact where I live.

However the same clearly isn't true in other areas. I know from reading various threads that in some areas of the south east, it's effectively inaccessible to some people. I think realistically the price of land is going to be a huge variable.

HSMMaCM Wed 07-Oct-15 15:08:07

I'm Berkshire.

Katymac Wed 07-Oct-15 15:30:51

Is that a full time funded place at Nurseries or 15 hours plus a top up?

Mainly it's an issue here for day care so early til late rather than 9-3 (which is widely available but nigh on impossible to do mixed days due to the distances involved - rural Norfolk)

LieselVonTwat Wed 07-Oct-15 15:38:46

Was that to me katy? My child does the 15 funded hours and we pay a little on top for food and a couple of sessions in the holidays. The council gives schools the funding to offer full time school nursery place (which is 9-3.30ish during term) if they want, or to just offer 15 hours and use the extra elsewhere in the school budget. Nearly all of them do the full time place.

Katymac Wed 07-Oct-15 16:13:29

Thank that's fascinating - mind you it could close me down if they do that here

LieselVonTwat Wed 07-Oct-15 16:23:51

Yeah I can imagine. Some of the private nurseries do offer wraparound care for preschool year children who are doing 9-3ish at the school nurseries though, so there's that market, and the school holidays too of course. Same with the CMs.

Katymac Wed 07-Oct-15 16:27:08

Yes but I can't afford to only have children until 9, after 3 & in the holidays; I'd go bust so fast!!

Plus the distances are so far I'd need several mini buses/large cars & goodness knows how many car seats

LieselVonTwat Wed 07-Oct-15 18:31:47

Oh sure, I just meant in my area that's how it works. The school nurseries were there before the private ones, so the private ones sprang up to meet existing demand. There's never been a large base of people wanting full time private nursery care for that age group, iyswim. Can quite see that the opposite would be the case if the private nurseries came before the preschools and school nurseries. We're also an urban area: your point about distances makes me realise this isn't just about a south-east v rest of country divide, it's urban v rural too.

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