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600% hike overnight in nursery fees

(13 Posts)
Catsize Sun 03-Dec-17 08:42:14

My daughter started nursery at the beginning of this year. She is now 3.5. My partner is a SAHP but works from home too so needs about 1.5 days to do conference calls etc which can’t be done with DD around.
We don’t use all our 15hrs. We used to pay £23-25 pcm. Not clear what for. Since September and the introduction of 30hrs etc., our direct debit has hiked to £150. This has meant me going overdrawn on my overdraft. I have contacted the nursery who has said, in essence, that everyone has had to pay more since the 30hrs came in, as they can’t afford to run without doing that. They say they left a letter about his by the pegs(!). I’ve seen the letter and it seems very much addressed to those applying for 30hrs. It is a very large place - 400-500 children on the books.
They are also spreading the school holidays penalties across the payments - so rather than paying £300 for August for example, that is spread out throughout the year. I’m not happy, given we told them ages ago we’d take DD out in June next year.
Has anyone experienced similar?
I know we are paying way less than many, but we’ve massively tightened the purse strings to ensure my partner can be at home.
What has happened to 15hrs?
I’d just appreciate your input please before I write again to the nursery. Thanks!

SquashedInTight Sun 03-Dec-17 08:44:36

Look for a preschool rather than nursery. It will be free for the 15 hours.

makingmiracles Sun 03-Dec-17 08:45:47

I don’t have any advice but I know several friends this has also happened to.
I’m not really sure what the government expected when they increased the 15hrs to 30 but basically many nurseries are saying that it’s unviable to run their business without significant price rises.
My friends who’ve been affected have all moved their children to different nurseries although ones that operate 9-1 instead, they’ve been lucky that they can work round that and have changed work hours etc but not everyone can.

dementedpixie Sun 03-Dec-17 08:47:20

What hours does your dd do? Are they across a lunchtime or something as although they can't charge for the free hours they can charge for lunch and other activities. You'll need to ask which hours are the free ones as you shouldn't be getting charged top up fees on the basic free 15 hours

SavoyCabbage Sun 03-Dec-17 08:47:35

I’d take her out and look for somewhere else. I was at a school nursery last week and some of the dc there were there for thirty hours and others were doing half days so fifteen hours.

meditrina Sun 03-Dec-17 08:51:54

Yes, the price of non-funded hours has increased in many nurseries because the funded hours are loss making (same happens at the other end of life in care homes, btw, when self-founders have to pay more because the amount councils will pay is insufficient).

So it you use 15 hours per week term time only, it should still be free.

You were however not attending on that pattern as there was a charge. That charge has significantly increased.

You could try to move your DC to funded hours only, or consider a different form of early years education (the 15 hours has only recently been given the name 'childcare' but it really isn't as it is so limited in time/weeks available). You could consider referring the nursery to the council if you think their practices are breaching the rules for this scheme. It sounds as if they are - if they are making attendance for free hours only impossible, adding top up fees, or not applying the funded discounts to parents immediately.

TheABC Sun 03-Dec-17 08:53:09

Another one here suggesting school nursery. It may also be worth asking a childminder - they generally can't offer the 15 free hours but if you are paying already, it's worth seeing if they are an affordable fit as your DP will still need childcare in the holidays.

Catsize Sun 03-Dec-17 08:55:14

Thank you. I forgot to say we’ve found somewhere else and she’s leaving next month. There is only one pre-school near here but it’s very much the feeder for the school and she won’t be going there. Also, my son went for a while and hated it and we moved him to the place where my daughter is now,

She usually stays over lunch on both days. I’d assumed that the £25 or so a month beforehand was to cover that, which is fine.

I’m just going to try and argue with the nursery that we should receive a significant refund as we weren’t properly notified of this. We would have taken her out, had we known.

It just seems that those getting less and being penalised for those getting more.

Catsize Sun 03-Dec-17 08:57:18

Thank you so much for these replies - hugely appreciated. Her hours are roughly 09:30-16:00 on a Tuesday and 09:30-13:00 on a Friday.

Starlight2345 Sun 03-Dec-17 08:57:29

Childminnders do also offer 15 hours or another nursery.

I would look at another preschool / nursery / childminder.

People are reluctant to move so close to leaving ..However IME moves at this age are great..Esp if you can find one near school you are applying for, More children they will know when she goes to school.

Why can't you claim the 15 hours at least?

NoSquirrels Sun 03-Dec-17 08:58:22

£25 per month (is that what you meant?) was extraordinarily cheap for 1.5 days childcare. I’m afraid that £150 sounds much more in line with usual rates (£34 per week @ 1.5 days sounds extremely reasonable to me).

The 15 hours can be worked out in lots of different ways and you might not be getting the discount you expect because it’s nit as simple as 15 hours “free” regardless of when/how she attends. Nurseries have to make money, and that government subsidy isn’t covering the cost of your DC’s care.

Look for a school preschool/nursery that is term time & morning or afternoon sessions. These are usually properly free.

MonkeyJumping Sun 03-Dec-17 08:58:31

Ok it's not even about being notified, it's about what your contract says. If you didn't agree to these changes, in writing, then they have no right to the higher payments and must refund you.

I'd email saying you only agreed to pay x, they have charged y and therefore they must refund you within 30 days or you will go to small claims court.

insancerre Sun 17-Dec-17 15:49:06

What do you mean by her hours are 'roughly'
Childcare doesn't work like that
You have to pay what you book, not what you actually use
Your contract will probably say that fees can be increased with a months notice

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