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to think this is a joke re nurseries.

(118 Posts)
bloodynurseries Thu 25-Jul-13 21:14:43

Am SAHM to 2 year old DS and 3.5 year old DD.

Soon after DD turned 3 we decided to send her to nursery 2 mornings a week, to get her ready for school and help her socialise with other children.

We applied for the 2 state nurseries near us, both of whom wrote back within a couple of months to say they did not have a place to offer us with no indication that we would be kept on a waiting list. There are no other council nurseries particularly near us and travel is an issue so decided to apply for a private nursery, the thinking being that we would pay the fees and they would be paid back at the end of term.

So we got a place, 2 mornings a week, at a really lovely local private nursery.

It was too good to be true sadly. DD went today for settling in day and manager mentioned that a 'session' counts as 3 hours and as their sessions are 5 hours long we would have to pay for 2 hours ourselves so 4 hours a week. It's an expensive nursery and this is going to amount to nearly £200 per month. We cannot in any way justify paying this and it had not occurred to me that there would be any cost involved.

I hope I don't get flamed for being entitled, I'm not, but our local council website clearly states that every 3 year old is entitled to 5 free sessions a week at nursery. Our dd is now 3.5 and unless we take her to a nursery out of town (looking like the only option) or pay money we don't have she isn't going to get a nursery place before she goes to school. Feel so upset about this and would appreciate any advice.

NumTumDeDum Thu 25-Jul-13 21:18:15

Contact the council and ask them for help to find a place. Unless you live somewhere very rural there must be more than two providers. They'll have a list.

bloodynurseries Thu 25-Jul-13 21:20:31

there are other providers but have older dcs to drop off and pick up plus need to take youngest ds with me so he would end up stuck on a bus or train for 2 hours every day....

Turniptwirl Thu 25-Jul-13 21:20:59

I'm surprised the private nursery don't offer 3.5 hour sessions given this is what is funded, I'm sure you're not the only parent in this situation.

ricecakesrule Thu 25-Jul-13 21:21:03

Sorry can't help with what to do from here but I do know most state nurseries run a waiting list system, my 2yo ds is down to start in sept 2014 for the free 15 hours as are his contemporaries. I think in some areas babies are put on the list at birth. It's one of those 'subject to availability' things I think. I would imagine if you spoke to the council about it they would find you a place but it may well be out of town.

OddBoots Thu 25-Jul-13 21:21:19

Have you looked on ofsted to see if there are any pre-schools (listed as childcare on non-domestic premises) that you may not be aware of?

If not then you might have to ask about a waiting list at the LA nurseries but I am afraid it is quite normal for them to have long lists if you don't apply early.

needaholidaynow Thu 25-Jul-13 21:21:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ImNotBloody14 Thu 25-Jul-13 21:22:37

I think alot of nurseries ( private) seem to be doing this in a way to make money from the 'free' places they offer because they dont get their full rate from the govt for the funded place and so lose out.

OddBoots Thu 25-Jul-13 21:22:48

Turniptwirl , the private nurseries often don't offer that because the government funding doesn't cover their costs so they lose money for each place and would soon go bust.

ImNotBloody14 Thu 25-Jul-13 21:22:59

Sorry- not to make money- to make up the lost money

MaryKatharine Thu 25-Jul-13 21:24:29

This is fairly standard I'm afraid. The money the private nurseries get doesn't quite cover what they would charge so you almost always pay a top up. I've never known anyone just get 15 hours in a private nursery without paying a top up.

Did you apply for your state nursery by the closing date in the autumn before the sept entry? Just wondering whether you were late in applying and that's why they are full.

Day nurseries aren't really geared towards children/parents who require a couple of hours a day a couple of times a week. They exist to provide childcare for working agents who need full days 3-5 days a week. Can you join a waiting list? When does your dd start school? If not until next year then maybe some places will be freed up by those children who will start school this September. Alternatively, what about seeking out a local childminder who already has another 3yr old on the books to encourage the socialisation aspect.

ImNotBloody14 Thu 25-Jul-13 21:24:37

Also op- some childminders now offer the free 15 hours. You could try some local ones.

grumpalumpgrumped Thu 25-Jul-13 21:24:47

Most nurseries do this, it is against the code of practice and they are not allowed to do it. Speak to your lea. I sympathise with why nurseries do it, I run one! But they have to follow the rules.

Are there not any pre-school/playgroups? As if its a 52 week nursery place the funding will only cover 38 weeks

ThisWayForCrazy Thu 25-Jul-13 21:25:05

It's very normal for this to be the case at a private nursery. When my son gets his free hours in September I will have to pay for the 2 hours a day wraparound care.

Your council should be able to help you find a fully funded place.

CharlotteBronteSaurus Thu 25-Jul-13 21:25:34

I am fairly certain that the private nursery is not supposed to do this if they claim early years funding.

certainly my DD's private nursery offers fully funded places for 3+s. The nursery is of course open longer than the 3hrs funded, but the funded children are simply collected earlier.

Themobstersknife Thu 25-Jul-13 21:25:39

Private nurseries are notoriously cheeky about getting money from people trying to claim their free hours. £200 sounds an awful lot for 16 hours a month. Are you sure that is right? For pre schoolers where the ratios are lower, I would expect £200 to buy between 4 and 5 days worth of care a month? Num's suggestion is good but out of town might be your only option. Both my girls went to nursery and the older one has just finished at pre school before starting reception in September so I am not anti nurseries but they don't really need to go to nursery to get them ready for school.

ThisWayForCrazy Thu 25-Jul-13 21:26:35

Grump, why are they not allowed to do it? What are the rules? If there sessions are 5 hours and the finding is only for 3 then there is a shortfall?

maddening Thu 25-Jul-13 21:26:46

when I was looking I was pointed to my county council website - it includes all preschools including local run ones (not private but not LA either) check it out you might be surprised :-)

RandomMess Thu 25-Jul-13 21:28:01

As grumpalump says it is illegal, you would actually be entitled to go and collect your dc at the end of the free number of hours and they wouldn't be allowed to charge you for the rest of the session. Certainly where I live the funding does not even cover the costs of a charitable status pre-school let alone a profit making one - the government is deluded.

softlysoftly Thu 25-Jul-13 21:28:29

Do you / could you get childcare help through tax credits?

grumpalumpgrumped Thu 25-Jul-13 21:29:29

We have to offer a fully funded place I.e only the session if we have space. Its a bug bear of nurseries but the thought process is that in order to access a free place parents must not be made to pay a top up, either as a shortfall or as additional hours or compulsory charges for snacks etc

ImNotBloody14 Thu 25-Jul-13 21:29:38

Alternatively op - if their sesions are 5 hours then couldnt you just have her in for 3 session which would equal her 15 hours without having to pay any top up?

maja00 Thu 25-Jul-13 21:30:10

The private nursery is not allowed to do that - if they provide the free hours, they have to be free without requiring you to pay top-ups. Lots of nurseries do this to make their money back if their fees are usually higher than the funding though. I would call the council and tell them.

ThisWayForCrazy - they have to offer 15 hours free, so could offer 3x5 hour sessions.

MaryKatharine Thu 25-Jul-13 21:30:43

A lot of them do it by pro rata which many parents actually find helpful. The funding is only for 38wks a year so by doing it pro rata it means that parents pay a small top up every week rather than pay the full rates for the extra 3mths (14wks) of the year that state schools would be closed.

BobbinUp Thu 25-Jul-13 21:30:55

I used to have three five hour sessions to add up to the 15. Could you not do that? Do you need the cover five days a week?

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