Hi, my daughter turns 3 in July, so from September we are looking at nursery places. my son attend our local nursery for one school day a week when he was 3 (now 6). We however only received partial funding, standard school day fee was £43.60 we paid £21.00. with it approaching time for my daughter i want to know if i was nieve, is the funding supposed to be fully funded as it is for 15 playgroup hours? can nurseries choose to be different. we loved the standard of this nursery so would rather know for sure. thanks x
My daughter attends two nurseries. One allows you to claim as many hours as you attend. The other, a much more expensive private day nursery, will only allow you to claim 5 hours per day even though they are open from 8-6. They do not offer the option of attending just for funded hours so I have to pay the difference - about £40 per day!!!!!!!
There is an added complication in that the 15 free hours only covers a certain number of weeks per year (roughly school term times), so if a setting is open for 50 weeks per year, they will charge you for additional weeks over and above the school terms.
I think you have to talk to the individual nurseries.
Rockdoctor - I don't think nurseries are allowed to do that. If they offer the funded hours, you must be able to attend just the funded hours, free of all top ups. The only additional thing they are allowed to charge for is lunch. You could try speaking to the early years funding department at the local authority to see what they say.
Op, my dd now 3.5 attends a private nursery. She does 3 days (6 hours per day) the nursery just charge the extra 3 hours per week. That's how we use the 15 hours. They are incredibly flex and we are very grateful
Ds goes to a nursery that is part of a large chain. they have presumably used lawyers to work out how to get around the rules about not being allowed to charge extra so effectively we do have to pay extra on top of the government funding. I think in areas with a shortage of nursery places this is probably inevitable.
I think private nurseries can choose to charge what they like as a top-up. The minimum they have to do is offset some of their hours with funded hours (in our case 5 per day). Unfortunately, in the South East they can get away with this and with charging upwards of £60 per day for childcare - the main reason I am not at work - but that is another story. We have another nursery that refuses to allow children to split their hours between settings (I am pretty sure this is against the rules but who is going to question it when they have a waiting list as long as your arm?).
Rockdoctor - if a setting chooses to offer the funded hours, then children have to be able to access those hours completely free. Nurseries are simply not allowed to say "Our hourly rate is £10, we receive £4 per hour from the local authority, so we are going to charge you £6 per hour for the 15 hours". Equally, they are not allowed to say "our 15 hours are free, but we will charge you £20 per hour for any additional hours". (Or any other unreasonable amount).
The trouble is that private nurseries say that the local authority doesn't pay enough for the 15 hours. I know this is a problem but it makes me so cross when settings accept the terms and conditions of offering the funding, but then completely flout the rules.
The funded 15 hours were introduced to ensure that all children were able to access early education. The underhand practises that go on in some nurseries mean that families on lower incomes are unable to use the funded hours as they are unable to afford the top-ups.