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30 hours free childcare

(57 Posts)
trowelmonkey1 Thu 20-Apr-17 17:19:02

We've just had a letter from DS nursery about the 30 hours free childcare we'll get from September. We currently pay £626 per month for a full time nursery place, which includes a discount for the 15 free hours we are entitled to. Due to a "revised" pricing structure, the monthly price for a full time nursery place that includes the 30 free hours will be £636 confused. So in effect, we are having to pay an additional £10 pm to receive an extra 15 free hours hmm

I'm curious to know what people's opinions are on this? I'm very British and don't like to complain. I also know that I should be grateful for any assistance in nursery fees. However, it's seem utterly illogical that something that is supposed to be free will actually end up costing us more money.

I am going to raise it with nursery, but I'm not sure what it wil achieve. From what I understand the whole 30 hours free childcare has been poorly thought out by the government and it is vastly underfunded.

Squirmy65ghyg Thu 20-Apr-17 17:31:14

That's... What?! So it isn't free at all?

BreezyThursday Thu 20-Apr-17 17:32:47

How many hours in total each week? I work that out as about £10 an hour?!!

CassandraAusten Thu 20-Apr-17 17:33:31

Hang on. Your DS's hours will not actually be changing as he's already full time? But you will be paying more for nothing?? Or have I misunderstood?

tinypop4 Thu 20-Apr-17 17:33:42

Huh? So have they doubled the fees or something?

aaaaargghhhhelpme Thu 20-Apr-17 17:34:11

Our old nursery charged for meals to make their money back. The 15 hour 'free' not actually being this amazing benefit.

Agree with pp. let us know the hours etc and we can work it out. Sounds utterly wrong to be charged more!

Bluetacic Thu 20-Apr-17 17:35:57

Basically they have increased their prices? So you will be getting the free 30 hours and the paid hours have increased in price?

honeysucklejasmine Thu 20-Apr-17 17:38:30

Isn't this because the money the government give nurseries to fund this is far below what it actually costs to run a nursery? So they have to make their non free hours more expensive?

cellorama Thu 20-Apr-17 17:39:45

There have been major issues with this policy - basically the government made this promise without actually asking the nurseries if they could cope with spike in demand, or without giving the nurseries enough funds to make it work. See for background:

The resultant financial issues may be what's behind the OP's "revised pricing structure".

KanielOutis Thu 20-Apr-17 17:40:06

Our nursery charged for meals and charged per hour top up rather than a discounted day rate when the 15 hours kicked in so we didn't get a discount. Nurseries have to make their money. The savings don't start to come until the children go to school.

BreezyThursday Thu 20-Apr-17 17:46:29

Let's say, simplistically, your kid is at nursery 45 hours a week: Being charged the same amount for 15 hours (if 30 free) as 30 hours (when 15 free) is basically a doubling of price. That's absurd.

ExplodedCloud Thu 20-Apr-17 17:51:18

The nurseries have no choice but to cover their funding gap or close.

DeleteOrDecay Thu 20-Apr-17 17:56:57

That's ridiculous! I don't blame the nurseries though, I blame the government who clearly didn't think this scheme through before implementing it.

trowelmonkey1 Thu 20-Apr-17 17:57:01

He attends 8-4.30 Monday to Friday, but he could be there from 7.30-6 if needed and it wouldn't cost us any more money. The current cost per week for full time care is £200 and this includes a small discount off 5x the day rate because he attends five days a week. We pay fees for 51 weeks a year as the nursery is closed for the Christmas holidays.

They've increased the day rate, added a meal charge, scrapped the small discount for attending five days a week and we now have to pay for 52 weeks a year. Although they haven't clarified if they will actually be open for the full 52 weeks.

Just to be clear - I don't blame the nursery. The scheme is underfunded and I don't think they are deliberately trying to swindle us out of more money. I've seen what they do and I know the staff work bloody hard!

JassyRadlett Thu 20-Apr-17 18:03:46

That is bizarre though.

Our nursery has just sent through the fee structure for the new hours. 15 hours funding is about £300/month cheaper for 3-5 days a week, they've structured it so 30 hours will be nearly double that. They've been very transparent about how much they get from the Govt and how they structure their fees to pass it on.

harderandharder2breathe Thu 20-Apr-17 18:35:20

That does sound bizarre, but if they're doing all those small things I suppose it adds up, and are they charging for the entire day and you only use some of it? (A full day but not the maximum they can offer?)

Its entirely the governments fault for forcing through the policy to appeal to the "squeezed middle" without any thought as to whether nurseries can do it for the money they're getting (they can't)

questioncurious Thu 20-Apr-17 18:43:24

I believe nurseries can offer the free hours at any times they're open. For example they could offer hours first thing in the morning and late afternoon leaving a part of the day in the middle that everyone would need that'd have to be paid for. DS's nursery has made if so everyone will have to pay for an hour in the morning by not starting the free hours till 9am. This is nothing though compared to your situation OP. Try writing to your MP.

rollonthesummer Thu 20-Apr-17 18:49:03

The nurseries have no choice but to cover their funding gap or close.

Yep, that's it.

The 3 hours was never going to work-childcare providers were very vocal about it at the time, but many people didn't listen and just assumed they'd be getting a massive discount on their bill.

TooStressyForMyOwnGood Thu 20-Apr-17 18:52:42

As PP say, I'm afraid this is the reality of a 30 funded hour policy. Some people will actually end up worse off.

Nurseries may well increase their fees to make up for the funding shortfall. It is rubbish for all concerned.

HRHTiggyD Thu 20-Apr-17 19:28:33

The nurseries will be losing money on those 30 "free" hours. They have to make it back somehow.

wowsaidtheowl Thu 20-Apr-17 19:29:00

Nurseries don't have to offer the 30 hrs though. They can just carry on with 15 hrs if they'd prefer. If it doesn't work financially for them, why offer it?! I own a pre-school and it doesn't work for us so we're sticking with the 15 hrs only. We do have a few full time kids.

Bizzysocks Thu 20-Apr-17 19:34:35

I don't understand this. From my understanding the nursery will receive £4.88 times 30 hours during term time, I understand that the £4.88 may not cover all the nursery's costs for the 30hours and parents will have to pay a top up. But a nursery not passing on any of the additional 15 hours funding they are receiving from the government to the parent seems wrong.

It's as if they have thought op can afford around £630 a month let's fudge the figures to keep her paying that and we will pocket the extra from the government.

HRHTiggyD Thu 20-Apr-17 19:36:18

The ones who will be offering it will tend to be the ones that pay the least for staff, have the cheapest menu, have the lowest budget for resources and equipment, and spend the least on their premises. In other words, the 30 "free" hours will be a sign of lack of quality.

HRHTiggyD Thu 20-Apr-17 19:37:39

Nurseries are not allowed to charge a top up Blizzy. That's the key failure of the system.

wowsaidtheowl Thu 20-Apr-17 19:39:56

You can't top up but you can charge for anything over the 15/30 hrs so most pre-schools make a morning session 3hrs 15mins. You can charge for extras such as dance, music etc and for staff over the minimum ratios.

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