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to think that the phrase "free nursery education for all 3-4 year olds" is a tad misleading.

(52 Posts)
KembleTwins Mon 17-Aug-09 09:34:05

My DTs have just turned 3. They currently attend a nursery 2 mornings per week, which DH and I pay for. Now that they are 3, they are entitled to 15 hours free nursery education (so I thought. BTW it's 15 hours where we live, I know it's 12 1/2 in other areas) So we bumped up their nursery hours to 3 mornings - a total of 12 3/4 hours. HOWEVER, I now understand that the free bit is only 3 hours per day, up to a cost of £3.25 an hour (changes from LEA to LEA, I think) which means that it's not free at all. We also get the pre-tax voucher things, but we're still paying much more than we were expecting. Nursery didn't tell us ANY of this either - we got the September bill, were confused, then spent hours trying to find the info on the internet.
Just wanted to say GRRRRRR.

MrsBadger Mon 17-Aug-09 09:35:43

oh dear

but really, you expected nursery (who after all have a vested interest in taking your money) to tell you this?

bonkerz Mon 17-Aug-09 09:38:29

our lea pays £5.65 per hour for 3 hours per day. We use our vouchers in a pre school so DD only does 3 hours and i pay nothing except if she stays for lunch club which is £2.50 for an extra hour. If DD went to the local nursery i would still have to top up the vouchers.

lockets Mon 17-Aug-09 09:40:57

Message withdrawn

KembleTwins Mon 17-Aug-09 09:46:49

Hmmm, so I was just being naive then? Bugger.

Seems I live in a particularly ungenerous area too.

nikki1978 Mon 17-Aug-09 09:47:06

I don't think it is misleading. Private nurseries are different. Playschools and preschools that operate just for the 2 and a half hours a day (although a few of these playschools are open longer hours) are completely free with the entitlement. Private nurseries charge higher fees so you have to pay the extra. Still saves you a lot of money so don't see any reason for complaint. You know it is only a term time thing too right?

MrsKitty Mon 17-Aug-09 09:47:17

We're in Wales - we get NOTHING if there is a place available at a state ( attached) nursery within 2 miles of us. Fat lot of use 9am-11:45am is when we both work full time! Have searched & searched and there are no CM's in the area that would collect from the school & either take for the rest of the day or drop off at DS's current private nursery, so we're just going to have to keep paying the full cost until he starts reception.

Free nursery my arse - unless you don't need to go to work. angry

nikki1978 Mon 17-Aug-09 09:47:57

Ours entitlement is £8.30 for 2 and a half hours so pretty much the same as yours.

coolma Mon 17-Aug-09 09:50:09

The nursery we are putting dd3 into 'gives' us £1500 off a year, which I guess isn't too bad, but I agree - what use is 9 till 11.45 unless you're not working?

LadyOfWaffle Mon 17-Aug-09 09:55:49

Oh, I take it you pay the difference per hour? I got confused at first - the price ranges so much ie. I think the montesorri we looked at was £20 a session and I couldn't see how everyone didn't pick it from age 3 if it was free... but then I realised you had to pay the difference. Ours is totally covered, 5 afternoons a week (only 2.5 hours though) but it is bliss! grinblush

MrsKitty Mon 17-Aug-09 09:58:01

Would just like to clarify that of course I wouldn't expect anymore than 2.5 hours paid for by the government but I DO resent the fact that in the area I live in this subsidy is not transferable to a private nursery (which it seems to be in many other places) which means I don't get any subsidy due to the reality of having to work.

KembleTwins Mon 17-Aug-09 10:01:48

I just think it's a bit crap that the literature talks about *free nursery education* for ALL 3-4 year olds, which is patently untrue. If it said "subsidised nursery education for all 3-4 year olds, but only from the term after their 3rd birthday", then fine. I don't object to it only being during term time - after all, free state education is only really available 38 weeks per year, but I wasn't expecing "15 hours" to actually be 3 hours per day even if you don't claim it every day. Hmmm. Guess I was just being hopelessly optimistic.

lockets Mon 17-Aug-09 10:02:18

Message withdrawn

MrsBadger Mon 17-Aug-09 10:03:53

but coolma that's what it;'s for

it's not a discount for children otherwise in childcare, it's to give children whose parents may not be able to afford any childcare at all an opportunity to go to nursery and do finegrpainting / sand eating / cutting and sticking etc that they might not be getting a go at at home

LIZS Mon 17-Aug-09 10:07:26

mrskitty, it should be transferable to privately run nurseries if the childcare you use is appropriately registered and meets the LA criteria.

coolma Mon 17-Aug-09 10:13:44

Oh I'm not disagreeing that it's for those people - we used it for dd3 at playgroup last year and it was really helpful. I guess the problem I'm on about, is the opening times of state nurseries for working parents. When my eldest dd, now 20, was 3, we somehow managed to get a full time place at a state nursery - 9 till four every day. Unheard of nowadays!

twinmam Mon 17-Aug-09 10:15:59

Surely the problem is also that there is no clarity - Kemble and DH had to trawl through the internet to figure out what was what and it appears there is a huge difference between different areas.

Have just tried to find out what the situation in our area is and tbh I'm pretty confused by it all.

My DTs are only 18 mo and we send them to nursery 2 mornings a week. It costs a ridiculous amount of money to do this and it's all we can afford although we really could do with them going more.

Luckily I am freelance so can fill in my extra time (I work the equivalent of 3 days a week) in evenings and when DH is off but it is knackering.

I have been hanging on to this promise of free childcare as it seems like one of the ways in which we don't 'lose out' from having twins IYSWIM ie both DTs get to go, get the same amount etc. I just hope ours is one of the more generous LEAs!

claireybee Mon 17-Aug-09 10:21:44

Oh now I'm confused. We've put dd in for pre school in september, she'll start off doing 3 mornings and will go to 2 full days and one half day after Christmas.

All the info I've seen says they get 5 sessions free a week, I haven't seen anything saying it's only 3 hours a day. Are we going to have to pay for two of the sessions if we keep it as it is?

LIZS Mon 17-Aug-09 10:25:52

Different LAs may split the funded hours out differently . For many it is 5 sessions over a week (termtime) so could be 2 1/2 days or 5 am/pm for example. Others may be more flexible with less hours funded per week but all year round (a scenario quoted on mn last year, Birmingham CC iirc).

MrsBadger Mon 17-Aug-09 10:26:16

depends on your LEA

get googling

stealthsquiggle Mon 17-Aug-09 10:27:32

I did think this was consistent country-wide hmm. Ours says 15 hours free, over a minimum of 3 days - so the OP's plan would be fine... as long as the nursery is registered to offer free places.

debs40 Mon 17-Aug-09 10:27:46

Nurseries do not implement this system as it should be run and frequently charge prohibited 'top ups'. I had a long and difficult campaign about this with one particularly deceitful nursery which got some media attention.

Basically, the way it is supposed to work is that the hours should be deducted from your bill and not the hourly rate paid by the LA.

So for example, if an LA pays £6 per hour and the nursery's hourly rate is £8, they cannot charge you the extra £2. They can, however, charge you for additional hours outside the grant and lunch etc.

The LA are supposed to 'police' this and nurseries can have their contracts withdrawn if they are not implementing it properly, so I would advise anyone with any concerns to contact their nursery about the breakdown of their bill and if they get no joy, contact the LA. That can be done anonymously.

SingingBear Mon 17-Aug-09 10:27:50

Message withdrawn

stealthsquiggle Mon 17-Aug-09 10:28:22

<<note to self - must ask nursery to confirm what the impact on our bill will be in Jan when DD's funding kicks in - it seems I may not be safe in making assumptions!>>

angelene Mon 17-Aug-09 10:30:38

Mrs Kitty where in Wales are you? We're in Torfaen and because I work then DD goes to a private nursery 4 days a week, I just get a subsidy straight to the nursery of about £100 a month. When I got the form then the nursery manager just said to tick 5 mornings or 5 afternoons even though we just use 4 days.

Big help for me after paying full whack for a good long while. But I agree that actual state provision leaves a lot to be desired and is no help whatsoever to working parents.

Next problem is how to organise the hours when she goes to school!

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