In the summer my daughter was booked in to attend pre-school one day a week, starting September.
I received an invoice at the start of the term, for the first half of the term, and I paid it.
I left her for 3 hours the first 2 sessions - she was fine.
Third session I get a call after about 2 hours - she was very upset. I collected her.
I started going in with her and she would barely leave my side. I tried this every week for the remaining weeks of the half term - staying for an hour and a half each time. Hoping she'd settle after getting to know the kids and staff. She never did.
(Perhaps the problem was partly it was just the one day a week, so too big a gap between sessions. She goes to toddler groups most days and is happy to scoot off with the rest of the kids like a loony. But obviously isn't ready yet to be left.)
Anyway, I have decided to stop, and try again next year. I don't need to have her in pre-school I just figured it might be a good way to slowly build up to school. But there's plenty of time. She's only 2.
I told pre-school and they've told me they want paying in full for the remaining weeks to the end of term. It's £100s of pounds. They have sent me an invoice.
OH now informs me that that we may have signed something saying we'd give them 6 weeks notice if we want to stop the sessions - so I guess we're stuck.
I understand that they've had to provision staff etc etc because of assumptions of numbers. But I think it's a bit harsh to expect me to pay - at least in full.
Sorry OP there is usually always a notice period to end your child's place, or reduce hours. You're new to this so unfortunately learnt the hard way. You could discuss with them perhaps reducing the fees to 3 or 4 weeks. They have no obligation but may do it out of goodwill if they want you to try their preschool again one day.
if you are paying for pre-school, are you also intending to go private for schooling? If so please be very careful to check the small print there too so you aren't taken by surprise. They seem to need a term's notice to leave which in some cases means giving notice by the end of the previous term, not just the day before the new term.
To be honest I think you might have found she settled if you had given her more of a chance. Most children would cling to their parents if they stayed at nursery. I'm surprised you were allowed to stay for 1.5 hours every week. The staff should have encouraged you to try leaving her.
You took a place that another child may have been able to take up. Their whole costing will have been done on the basis of x children attending - not x-1. If it is a state pre-school there are still charges to pay especially if the OP isn't entitled to free hours.
Thus you will have to pay the entire amount. However I would ask them to agree that if they manage to fill the place with another child whether they'd be prepared to refund you.
Surprised you're even asking tbh - that's the contract. It's not even an unfair contract to begin with.
I agree with the PP about one day a week not working well for many kids. When mine went to nursery at 12 months, I asked if I should do a day a week for a month first. The very experienced room lead said it was pointless, she'd be settled in by day 4 of her first 4 day week far better than odd days.
So don't worry that this bodes badly for when she has to start!
Our nursery doesn't allow 1 day per week for this reason, 2 half days they do allow. Kids don't get time to get used to it doing only one day. You can still send her for the remainder of the sessions you've paid for.
As everyone has said, you signed a contract and have to adhere to it. Lesson learned . I suppose you could look at it that you'd already allocated that money so it's not as though you've got extra costs, it's just that you're not able to take advantage of all of what you thought you were buying.
Regarding building up to school, there is still plenty of time. 2 is still very young. I dont think my children would have been ready to separate at that point but they all started nursery when they were 3 and were all ready to start school when they did. You get a funded place worth 15 hours from the term after your child's 3rd birthday so you get 3 to 5 terms of nursery for free depending on when her birthday is, which is plenty for building up to school. I also think they benefit more from it as 3 or 4 year olds - the preschool room tends to have more activities and more of a learning culture than the toddler room which seems more like a daycare centre.