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15 hrs goverment childcare for 3yr old

(51 Posts)
luckybun Sat 30-Jun-12 19:43:56

Just wondered if anyone new if ofstead registered childminders should allow me to use the 15hrs free childcare for 3yr olds. My childminder is saying that she doesn't do it. She's a brilliant childminder and I wouldn't want to change but it would be a big chunk off my monthly bill if she should allow it.


RandomNumbers Sat 30-Jun-12 20:12:12

the CM has to go through an accreditation process which generates a considerable amount of paperwork PLUS the hourly rate allowed is set very low, usually, and she cannot recoup the balance from you. It's not really a very good system.

So say you were to use her for 15 hrs a week and her hourly rate is £5 ph

She might receive £3.25 ph, making a loss of £1.75 phr

15 x £1.75 = £26.25 per week loss of income to the CM

NB using ballpark figures here

luckybun Sat 30-Jun-12 21:27:37

thanks - makes sense

Italiana Sun 01-Jul-12 08:39:29

As said not all c/ms can deliver Free do so they need to belong to a Network and become Accredited...unfortunately there are few accredited c/ms hence most families lose out...
Some LAs have a network, some don't, some open it to all c/ms, some don't...
it is totally up to them and this results in exclusion...

on the other side ...the FE is paid by the Local Authority and can vary from £3 per hour to over £ 5... this can be above what c/ms charge (in some areas) or well below...which means we subsidise the FE...

Many c/ms refuse to be paid so low and do not join a network and this means parents lose out

It is the govet that needs to sort out this anomaly...time for parents to speak out

flower2009 Sun 01-Jul-12 08:45:21

I think a lot of people end up using the 15 hours free entitlement at a pre-school (e.g. every morning 9-12) with the childminder dropping them off there if needed and picking them up and looking after them until you finish work. Although I think most childminders do not give you any money off for this as they cannot offer the hours they have free to anyone else. But it is a way to still get something out of the entitlement if that makes sense.

ellasmummy10 Wed 14-Aug-13 07:08:09

Hi. im new to this so bare with daughter is in fulltime nursery as both me and my partner both work fulltime. last year the spread the 15 hrs so that i paid the same payment every month. i have been told they may not be able to do this from sept. meaning my bills would be up and fown everymonth depending on how many weeks free entitlement there is that month. how can you budget from one month to the next being different amounts to pay?

Strix Thu 15-Aug-13 19:46:52

I know childminders who collect the govt subsidy and collect the difference from parent. Still helpful to parent, and childminder does not lose out on hourly rate. Nurseries do this too by adjusting what they charge for other hours.

What the government should do is stop taxing working parents on the income we use to pay for child care.

Bonkerz Thu 15-Aug-13 19:50:37

As of sept any childminder rated good or outstanding by ofsted can claim the free funding for 3 year olds but as pointed out in some areas the amount funded is a lot less than the childminders hourly rate also the funded hours are paid in arrears per term so makes it more difficult for childminders who have bills to pay!

ChildrenAtHeart Sat 17-Aug-13 23:43:32

Strix in England it is not allowed to 'top up' free entitlement so any provider doing this is should be reported to their Local Authority as they are breaking the Free Entitlement terms & conditions. It must be 'free at the point of delivery', however, payments for additional services such as meals are allowed so long as these are optional services.
Bonkerz is quite right, from September the rules are changing and the only criteria will be Ofsted Grade but not all CMs will choose to register. Some Local Authorities (like West Sussex where I am) have already changed to the new criteria and dissolved their CM Network earlier this year. Here we are paid 70% of the fee in advance at the beginning of term and the balance at half term. It can be claimed as 15 hours over 38 weeks or 'stretched' over a longer period pro rata so long as no more than 570 hours are claimed per year

ModerationInEverything Sun 18-Aug-13 16:50:18

Bonkerz is correct. From September 1st all childminders who are outstanding / good should be able to provide funded hours without going through the accreditation process. Perhaps refer her to

Strix Mon 19-Aug-13 14:59:10

Well that's intereting. But why would anyone whose childminder is giving them a discount report them to the authorities for doing so?

ChildrenAtHeart Mon 19-Aug-13 15:26:46

Strix - if I understood what you said correctly the childminder is not giving the parents a discount but charging them the balance between their normal fees and the funded entitlement, where in fact they should provide the hours totally free irrespective of their normal rate and funding rate. For example, my normal rate is £4.20ph but my LA only give me £3.95 ph. If a 3yo came to me with their entitlement I can't then bill the parent for the 25p ph I lose. I can however bill them for any hours over their entitlement, at my usual rate, and for additional services such as lunch (though they must be able to bring a packed lunch if preferred).

Strix Mon 19-Aug-13 15:36:30

Hmmm.... seems people don't always play by the rules. This doesn't effect me directly as I am not entitled to any such funding at the moment. But, i daresay plenty of people out there are collecting the governement funding and putting it towards what the parent would otherwise be paying. And I don't think it is just CMs. Nurseries also fiddle the figure on the remain hours to make this affordable. Of course they do. If they didn't, they could stay in business on wht the government claims is the going rate of childcare.

In my are the government pays £.50 per hour. But the atual going rate for a childminder is more like £7. So, if a parent is offered some of the hours for 3.50, of course they will take that helpful discount.

Strix Mon 19-Aug-13 15:37:48

Apologies for sloppy typing.

In my are the government pays £3.50 per hour. But the actual going rate for a childminder is more like £7. So, if a parent is offered some of the hours for £3.50, of course they will take that helpful discount.

HSMMaCM Mon 19-Aug-13 20:38:50

I had to sign a contract to agree to offer the funded hours completely free to the parents, with no associated costs. I have recently had an audit, to confirm I am complying with the rules.

Tanith Mon 19-Aug-13 21:12:32

Definitely not supposed to top up but I know some settings do it. It makes me really cross. We're scrupulous about not charging the difference, even though we lose out. The local nurseries all charge top ups. In fact, we were recently stung twice over: my DD attended a preschool that charged a top up, so I was subsidising our parents while paying an illegal top up for the preschool sad

The council couldn't have been less interested angry

Strix Tue 20-Aug-13 13:41:22

I think childminders should be able to top up. Surely some discount is better than none at all when the alternative is that childminders will choose not to participate. I suppose then the government can claim how they offered to help us all with outr childcare, but not actually have to do so because no one can take them up on the offer.

ChildrenAtHeart Sat 24-Aug-13 00:05:12

The idea about no top ups was to stop exclusivity ie more well off parents being able to afford top ups to higher quality (more expensive) provision whilst less well off parents have to rely on the cheaper end of the market (generally lower quality). This was the premise, I'm not actually say expensive = better quality & cheap = poor quality. Statistics do show however that in poorer areas early years provision is often of lower quality

Strix Fri 30-Aug-13 10:55:51

So, this thread sparked my interest and I had a nose around the sessions and fees (with and without funding) in my area. They all top up when you look at the numbers. For example, one nursery offers a four hour session 5 days a week. 3 hours are funded. The other one hour costs the same as the three funded hours. No one would pay that rate for one single hour. But, by puting forward a four hour session the nursery disguises the top up.

The government offers £3.50 per hour for the grant. But, childminders in the area cost about £7 per hour.

So people are cheating the system left and right, and those who take the moral high ground and play by the rules are losing out.

As a working parent of an almost three year old I'd be quite happy to have any help on offer. But no-one is going to give me 15 hours of childcare for £3.50 an hour.

Any chance someone could point me to the rules/regulations of this nursery grant so I can educate myself?

insancerre Fri 30-Aug-13 12:05:40

but it's not free childcare is it?
it's free early years education
it's supposed to be for the child's benefit, not the parents
the research behind it, the EPPE project, found that children do better at school when they have attended a good quality early years provision
the research found that full time attendance had no benefit over part time attnedence, it is the quality of the environment that is the key- hence why it is only 15 hours
they found that part time high quality provision was better for children than full time poor provision

Tanith Fri 30-Aug-13 13:39:44

Strix, I do. I know I'm not the only childminder who does.

My fees are higher than the EYFE, but I scrupulously calculate those 3 hours of free education and I don't charge a top up.

Of course, I have to charge my full fee for additional hours, but you get those funded hours free - and I have had children who only attended for the funded hours.

Strix Fri 30-Aug-13 14:22:29

Hmm... not sure I can digest all those arguments.

Call me a sceptic but I think the 15 hour cap has a lot more to do with budgets than it does my children's welfare/education.

If we accept the argument that children are better off in nursery for a few hours a day than at home with mum/dad/grandpa/nanny/whomever than I think we are on a slippery slope of a pretty scary nanny state. Who is the government to say the care given by say Teddies is more educational than that which I might give. Just waiting for the day the big bad OFSTED comes round to register parents for the job. Or maybe we should be vetting people before we let them have sex?

I don't need anyone to "educate" my three year old. I am quite happy with education at 4. I do need help paying for the childcare.

Silly me, I thought this was about helping working parents. I see I have completely missed the mark.

Strix Fri 30-Aug-13 14:24:18

I'm sure you are not the only one abiding by the rules. But, surely you must raise the rate on all the other hours in order to offer the lower rate for the nursery grant. So you are still making up for it elsewhere. You would go under if you didn't.

Tanith Fri 30-Aug-13 14:47:21

<hollow laugh>

I am going under. That's what I'm saying.

And don't get me started on the late/non-payers angry

nannynick Fri 30-Aug-13 17:27:45

Helping working parents, pull the other leg. How many parents work such short hours which would let them drop off at preschool, go to work and collect again by end of the funded time.

SurreyCC publishing a EYEE provider guide, that may giveyou the rules for how its meant to work.

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