Kids unlimited....(88 Posts)
Hiya. Has anybody had any experience with this branch of nursery? They just rang me and said they have some sessions available. Have been to visit and it looks nice....well expensive though!!
Any opinions on it?
I have children at KU Wandsworth and have had experience in all rooms over the past 3 years.
I had no concerns with my eldest while they were in the previous room but since they have moved up they have not progressed and is unsettled, which makes it difficult for me and my husband at drop offs. My eldests current room is not hygenic and doesnt seem to offer age appropriate resources. I expected the older room to provide more stimulating activites. There has also been a big staff turnover recently and for the amount of money i pay i expect to at least recognise most faces (and i dont).
My youngest was very young when they started, just like most mothers i had a strict routine of which both my child and i were able to follow accordingly, however, over the last month their key person has changed their routine dramatcially, it's very difficult for me who then has to deal with an over tired/hungry baby at night .
Overall i think you should think carefully about what you expect from a nursery and if KU meets that.
I worked at ku wandsworth a couple years ago and i wouldbt recommend it at all! I was there when the parents werent and especially the baby rooms.... the children were left to do what they wanted. all a show! I used to run around trying to entertain all the children cause no one could be bothered. in the end i felt so down with the atmosphere i had to leave. To be honest it could be completely different.now. i would be so interested to know who has left :-)
My 17 month old is at KU at Esher and loves it there. It is managed very well (my impression of it) which I believe is the key to a good nursery. It is clean, the staff can speak and write correctly, and the kids seem to have a varied day schedule. My other daughter's nursery had 4 different managers in 3 years, and numerous staff coming and going!
My husband and I have been very impressed with the nursery, and obviously don't want to leave our daughter there, but I have to work and all you can do is be the happiest you can be when leaving them.
Unfair contract terms
In case this helps anyone, I got into this situation with KidsUnlimited but it ended with them ceasing to pursue me for the money. After a few settling in sessions, it became clear this was the wrong choice and my son was in too much distress, so I pulled him out. There was a 2 month notice period. I'd signed for 4 days per week so I received a bill for about 2000 pounds for a place that wasn't going to be used. Although I had failed to fulfill my contractual obligations there are various pieces of consumer protection regulations that were on my side. Several practices by this company could be considered unfair. These are basically a) requiring parents to sign a contract to even reserve a place, b) not offering a trial period before you are tied in for 2 months, c) a punitive cancellation fee of 2 months rather than the industry standard of 1 months fees. I looked into these points in detail and got legal advice. As I understand it the following arguments apply:
a) "Requiring contracts to be signed to reserve a place" - requiring contracts to be signed rather than reserving a place with some suitably sized deposit could potentially be considered an offence under the misleading omissions section of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. You have to be careful quoting this though as it is criminal law and whether or not they are breaking any law can only be decided by a judge in court after a case is put forward by Trading Standards, as I understand it. The argument is that requiring customers to sign at the enquiry stage is much too onerous, and by not offering to secure a place before full commitment, the company are potentially misleading customers into making a decision to sign the contract they might not otherwise have made. Because there is no way to reserve a place without signing, the pressure to sign is increased because you might fear you might lose your place to another child.
b) "Not offering a trial period" - Similarly, under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, not offering a trial period could be considered an offence under the misleading omissions section, although this could only be decided in court by a judge. Not offering a trial period does not respect the parents' legitimate interest of ensuring that the setting is a good match for their child which can arguably only be ascertained by the parents after the care has commenced. If it turns out to be the wrong choice, you're already fully committed and expected to pay up. This is not the industry standard practice. The National Child Minding Associating recommends a two to four week settling in period and that during this period it should be possible to end the contract without the usual notice period since it is perfectly normal for it to take a while for the relationship between the child, childminder and parents to settle down.
c) "punitive cancellation fee" - If they took you to a civil court (or you took them) this is the bit of legislation you would need to rely on. It is a piece of civil law called the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations 1999. In particular, any term which demands that a consumer pay a disproportionately high sum in compensation when they fail to fulfill their obligations could potentially be regarded as unfair. As the 2 month fee can be extremely large, it could potentially be regarded as a deterrent and as such is a "disguised penalty" under these regulations. As such, it would be unenforceable in court. This interpretation is more likely given that contracts must be signed to even reserve a place, which means that the 2 month fee could be regarded as a huge deposit, which is lost if the place is not taken up. Also, the nursery has a duty to mitigate losses. In the daycare sector where a large company accepts new customers on a regular basis and many nurseries have waiting lists, it is unlikely that they can justify a sum of this magnitude in court. You can demand a justification of their losses bearing in mind their duty to mitigate
You can write a letter to head office explaining your position, but try to sound reasonable and tell them a settlement you would be happy with. You can tell them you will forward the contract to Trading Standards/take legal action if the issue is not resolved. It is a good idea to tell Trading Standards anyway so that they are aware people are unhappy with the trading practices of this company. If they get enough complaints they might take action against them. In your letter, give them two weeks to reply. They have a 28 day complaints procedure so you might not hear back within this time frame. Hopefully it doesn't go any further but if the issue is not resolved to your satisfaction, I was told it is better to take them to court first where you rely on point c). It never reached this final stage for me.
By the way, here is an article about another similar case ("Charged for a nursery place that never materialised", Money, Guardian) about someone who signed the contract and then didn't take up the place at KidsUnlimited.
Good luck if you're in this situation!
I am looking to start up a nursery in the same area of Kids Unlimited Millshouses.
I am just doing a bit of market research and wondered what parents wanted from childcare in the area???
I would appreciate any comments you had to give!
I visited my local KU (Hulme) & it was my least favourite of the 5 nurseries I visited. It seemed a bit grubby, a lot of staff were introduced to me as relief staff, normally at our Didsbury nursery, usually in a different room etc (so I felt there was a lack of consistency) & it was the only nursery where the manager was there, but delegated showing us round to someone else.
Kids looked perfectly happy though ( to give it some balance) & they rang me for feedback afterwards where I told them the above - all credit to them for that.
Oh and the staff were all very young, forgot to add that. The nursery we ended up going with had a high proportion of much more mature staff & a very low staff turnover. And they talked about love & care. KU just talked about activities - I'll go with the love & care every day of the week.
KU have had a change of ownership. They are now part of Bright Horizons (who over the past few years also brough Teddies and Casterbridge). Read more about sale of KU to Bright Horizons.
So I would expect there to be some changes over the next few months.
Will be interesting to see what differences parents and children notice.
That's interesting. We have a Bright Horizons near here but I was put off by the tag line "family solutions" as that implies your children are problems.
I'm a degree qualified practitioner and as part of my degree training I had to spend time in another nursery other than the one I worked in and can say I was appalled by KU in Chineham. The toys were dirty, one member of staff swore in front of the children! The planning of activities weren't age and stage appropriate which was only limited to the mornings session. The staff did not engage with the children, the children lacked attention and stimulation. The area manager told me that some of the staff didn't know how to feed a bottle to a baby and need to be told when they walk in the room, you would think this would be part of the training before they are left unattended with somebody's baby. One child held another child's head under water and the staff just sat there. Agency staff were left on their own in a room. It's still under the same management. Safe to say I complained about their practices and would not go back to the shoddy environment and certainly would not sent my child there.
Over rated , they think about offset not about kids - best would be if parents stay and look after their own children and still pay for it . Management is poor and to be fair I don't find them as good as 2-3 years ago - If I would have choice today I would not put my kid to their nursery
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