Kids unlimited....(87 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'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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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 :-)
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.
My advice would be to avoid Kids Unlimited. My experience (only one branch admittedly) is that the staff are very young and inexperienced and do not engage particularly well with the children. Your child will be kept safe there but will not be nurtured emotionally or stimulated educationally. Also, simple things like wiping noses are not taken care of as well as they should be. The staff don't smile much and therefore neither do the children. The toys are shappy, damaged and grubby. Books are torn and do not get replaced. The initial impression I got is of a rather run-down and sad place.
I wholeheartedly agree with Ipsy1 - that is my experience of nurseries so far. I would say, if you have to use one and cannot arrange any other form of childcare then be very careful which you choose and try to avoid your child having to be there all day every day.
Are any of the above bad reviews related to the Epping KU? I am looking for a nursery for both DD's and am just about to sign up and register them to attend KU. Prices seem reasonable but did notice a few snotty noses on my second visit!?! Finding it hard to find anything that is better, this one is already 15-20 mins from home and am due back to work in may, anyone know of any better ones, I live in Broxbourne area and have to travel into city for work.
Hi i recently moved my children to the regents KU from a different nursery. I really like it so far. They have divided the baby room so that the litttle ones have more quiet areas and the older ones have more chance to explore. the new manager was really up front aout it, she said it didnt work before. I would rather put my child into a nursery where they deal with issues and are up front than a nursery that just lies to parents.
plus they just introduced free 2 months settling in, so any new children will find it easier.
Knowing what I do about KU nurseries with my professional hat on, I am not sure I would be comfortable sending any child of mine to any of the branches around here.
I have my child in a KU nursery up north.
I collect them at a different time each day.
I very happy with this particular branch of the nursery - and my child doesn't want to leave at the end of the day.
They have alot of things going on. They do KU active and have Christmas and summer fairs, and my child's work is displayed. My child comes home with alot of artwork. I havnt ever seen photocopied colouring sheets, and I look out for all these things as I work in education myself.
My child LOVES their keyworker.
I am happy with it, and dc is well settled there and always welcomed with a hug.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I visited KU in regents place. I was a bit worried when looking around as they were not that many toys for babies and few babies were crying with no one paying any attention.The carers looked bored as well. Has anyone tried this nursery before.
Hi Ipsy1. I understand that your experiences have caused you to have a negative view of KU, but I have worked for the company for around seven years now, and a lot of the things you say contrast with the actual ideals of the company. I understand that you have worked in the South, my experiences are in the North, but I supposed it depends on who is running the nursery, and if they comply with the company's rules. Here are a few things that don't match with what you have said:
1 Where I work, we have a bank of relief staff, who are employed by KU, and are familiar with children and parents. Relief staff are only used in emergencies.
2 The KU Clubs/Core Curriculum are regularly carried out (yoga, physical activities, cookery and gardening club, and baby sign) and parents are asked to join in whenever they are free.
3 Our staff always have planned activities, as well as key areas to observe regarding their key worker group. Planning is displayed for parents to see, and discussed regularly
4 We have child led and adult led activities going on from the moment the nursery opens until the moment that it closes. Our children don't all arrive and leave at once, and parents often pop in throughout the day to peep in on their child, to make sure that they are ok
5 There are many young staff, and I'm sure they oly get paid minimun wage, but this is unfortunatley common throughout businesses nowadays. The less experienced staff are always balanced out with more mature staff, to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Ratios are always maintained.
6 Finally - we are not allowed to photocopy pictures to colour in (this is a company rule accross the board)
I don't mean to disprove you, as what you say may well be true, but don't be put off the whole company. There are obviously things about my job that I complain about, as very few people love their work, but I can honestly say that excellent care and education is provided at my nursery, and the others that I have worked in up North.
I have been working as an early years cover staff in various nurseries across London, for more than 3 years dues to university commitments. I am 26 years old with a degree and working with young children is my passion. I have been working in the early years field for 9 years and I wish I could advice every parent in selecting a nursery. I have been SO SAD!! And disappointed at how those nurseries who claim to be providing high quality practice!!!! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE be very careful where you place your child particularly private nurseries , this includes kidsunlimited which I have worked in many times. I am not going into detail of what I have seen and experience, because its so appalling that I would put you off. I must say there are many nurseries that are great, however, the point is that no child should experience what I have seen in many nurseries, no matter how much the fees are!!!
These are some of the things you should question and watch out!! Nurseries that have
Many, young staff (16,17....) they pay them very low wages and normally charge parents very high fees. The highest I was told by a worker was £1000 for baby place kidsunlimited.
Regular agency staff (like myself, a stranger to you and to your child)
Tooooooooo materialistic: claim to do baby massage, learn foreign language, over the top decorations that make you go wowwww this must be good! (its your money they want!) Do you see children s work being displayed? or is it really just photocopy pictures that children just colour in or collage.
Know the ratio between staff and children e.g. a level 3 staff to 3 children under 2years.
Ask to see the planned activities
Collect your child sometimes earlier than the nursery anticipates ( what happens when you there)
Dont just collect your child and go home straight away, stay and look at the practice and environment and what your child enjoys!
My advice is free, I am here for the children!
wow i have never seen so many name changes in one thread to make out like kids unlimited is the best nursery chain out there
the lengths some places will go to because the service they offer is not good enough is just wow heres a thought improve your service and you wouldnt have to name change so many times to try and "prove" your nursery chain is the "best"
Hi, we are just about to enrole our daughter into a Kids Unlimited Nursery, and they are running a promotion where if you are recommended by someone who already uses the nursery that person gets £50 off their fees and we would get the joining fee waved. As we dont know anyone who is already enroled just wondered if anyone is interested, nothing dodgy just thought we could save someone £50. if interested just email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
cheers Nat x
I see from your other post that you work for Kids Unlimited dof2.
go and have a look at the new Kidsunlimited nursery in Esher, it certainly has a WOW factor and the team were lovely. "
@*dof2* - YummyMummy said:
"I find my daughter sobbing and left alone on her induction day. We even didnt start yet and they told me that I signed contract and Im obligated to give them 2 mnts notice. I think its absolutely terrible that they make you sign the contract and pay the sign in fee before you even try they nursery."
"Have you tried threats?
Tell them if they insist you pay you will write a letter saying how in your opinion they're terrible and that you'll post on Mumsnet and other forums and put off as many potential customers as possible."
In short I suggested she do what anybody should do when faced with bad service and that's not to just accept it but to make a fuss. Complain. Go to the newspapers. Tell everybody you know. Write to watchdog.
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