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Free childcare places and CM.

(32 Posts)
cairnterrier Tue 06-Nov-12 17:45:48

When your child turns 3 and is entitled to the 15hours of free childcare, can they be used to pay for a CM or does it have to be a nursery?

If you can use them to pay for a CM, how do you go about sorting out the paperwork?

queenofthepirates Tue 06-Nov-12 17:54:07

It can be used as long as your CM is registered for that purpose-ask them directly.
More info here www.yor-ok.org.uk/Parents/Childcare/nef.html

Italiana Tue 06-Nov-12 18:27:07

To deliver the funding a c/m has to belong to a cminding network and be accredited...whatever that entails as all c/ms deliver EYFS equally.
Some LAs have a network others don't...some networks are open to all c/ms others are selective

Parents do not get the money directly...the Local Authority pays the c/m, the rate paid is well below the c/m's own fees thus she loses out or in some lAs the funding is slightly above and the c/m makes a small profit

This info is just so parents understand what free education is...it is not free but subsided by us! just needed to get it cleared

cairnterrier Tue 06-Nov-12 19:12:35

Thanks to both of you for your information.

sillymillysmummy Wed 07-Nov-12 07:00:24

Italiana. The bit about US subsidising may be true in your case, but not in all. And to be fair, as a self employed business person, you are able to choose whether or not to take that business. Please don't put parents off using the nursery education grant at their childminder.

Italiana Wed 07-Nov-12 07:34:54

Where have you been for the last few years when people from all parts of the sector have been voicing concerns about 'sustainability' and fairness?
I have specified very clearly that in some LAs the funding is 'actually'
above the fees where c/ms make a small profit...also in some LAs the funding is £2.97...call that living wage?

I do not belong to a network...I could if I wanted to ...but no...losing 50% of our income is too much so sorry but my parents have been paying the going rate thus making childcare more costly to them

The free education is supposed to be 'UNIVERSAL'...it is not and it is subsided by us...why deny it?
What I have done is highlight the truth...the parents can now look for a c/m who can give them free education

Your question should be the other way round 'don't put parents off using a c/m who cannot give the free education because she may be actually excellent and experinced but discriminated against by the system' !!!!

Bonkerz Wed 07-Nov-12 07:41:42

I'm in the process of being accredited. My LA pay £3.17 per hour so for me it's MORE than I charge and I won't be giving lunch which is usually included in my normal fee!!!!!!!!!!!

HSMM Wed 07-Nov-12 08:09:08

My LA pay less than my hourly rate, but I have still jumped through their 5000 hoops to offer free spaces. OP ... as you can see ... it is up to each CM and their LA, so worth having a look/ask around.

Italiana Wed 07-Nov-12 09:19:18

Thank you ...you have proved my point
Don't you feel we should now start making huge waves about this...so far no one has heard our voices?

minderjinx Wed 07-Nov-12 11:44:59

My LA also pay less than the local going rate and require a lot of jumping through hoops (with a lot of moving goalposts too!) for the so-called privilege of offering funded places. I think it keeps a number of council employees in work - though I'm unclear why they can't leave inspecting and rating childminders to OFSTED for as long as OFSTED can still be bothered to do so. It's worth remembering that they only fund 38 weeks of the year and that they say you cannot oblige parents to use/pay for the other weeks of the year (though in practice my families do). I only bothered to register because it helps out my parents financially if they want the option to keep their children in home=based care at three without feeling they are missing out on a benefit other parentss can access - not all children need or are ready for pre-school at that point.

Akasa Wed 07-Nov-12 11:59:52

I have little interest in offering this service as the funding from the Local Authority is below my current rates. Incidentally, does anyone know if you can ask a parent to "top up" the shortfall between the LA funded anount and what you would normally charge - that might encourage a few more people to become accredited and offer the funded places.

HSMM Wed 07-Nov-12 12:12:43

You are not allowed to top up

minderjinx Wed 07-Nov-12 12:14:15

No, you specifically cannot ask them to top up the hourly fees, but you can charge for additional services (collection, food, cost of outings, etc).

Italiana Wed 07-Nov-12 13:43:02

Minderjinx
Can you clarify what you mean by the LA leaving it to Ofsted to inspecting and rating c/ms?
LAs' role is to support not inspect...they are not the regulatory body but support c/ms to achieve better grades

As Akasa says many c/ms will not be interested in losing money and joining networks which can be very beaurocratic and prescriptive...support needs to be balanced with being allowed to get on independently and reflect on how to improve practice not spoon feeding!

Thank you for sharing your experience...I will certainly make sure the DfE knows how ineffective they are at achieving central govt policy when LAs do as they please...keep sharing

minderjinx Wed 07-Nov-12 13:54:18

My local authority insists on visiting CMs, demanding copies of policies and procedures, documentation, risk assessments (which even OFSTED do not now require to be written), even dictating that we must complete and share the supposedly optional SEF. They mandate their own training courses and programmes, all on top of OFSTED requirements, and if we don't meet their own arbitrary quality criteria, we are not allowed to be registered for funded places. I'm convinced it would be easier to set up a nursery around here than to operate as a childminder!

Italiana Wed 07-Nov-12 14:32:47

LAs have their own criteria for supporting c/m in networks but I hear clearly this is additional 'red tape'...it does put many c/ms off from joining
I see your point about SEF and policies...visits I am aware of, mine does 3 + 1 unannounced.....also 3 meetings a year, tailored training and yearly appraisal...non network c/ms get nothing and yet some have EYPS and degrees and outstanding grades....not fair really....so on we campaign for equality?

mindingalongtime Wed 07-Nov-12 16:40:15

Italiana, you do NOT have to belong to a network or be accredited as you often say there is 152 LA's each is different on requirements.

It is unlikely a cm will offer just three hours a day as a standalone service, as it is not easy to fill the remainder of the day with another child.

I offer it as a goodwill to children who have been in my care since babies. I offer 15 hours over three days too, the remaining 5 hours a day aren't cheap.

Italiana Wed 07-Nov-12 19:52:26

Yes I know that and I don't want to belong to one...and also true no one will do just 3 hours...and the rest too (I did say I belonged to a network a long time ago, became accredited and then left due to too many Terms and Conditions)

My argument is against the discrepancy of the support offered to those who belong and those who do not...which has created a two tier system
LAs receive money from govt to support 'all c/ms' not just the few...also why waste money on me who can get on very well independently when many c/ms are more in need of help????

and why should my parents not get the Free Entitlemnet when I fulfill all the criteria??? and why should I lose 50% of fees simply to belong?
would like to hear your views on that please

RosieGirl Wed 07-Nov-12 20:15:43

My local authority have been pretty good, although I've just had a form through which I need to fill in, where I have to show where the child was and where they are now. Why are you complaining? I hear you say. Well I have to do a detailed report on each of the 7 areas of learning and development, what the child was doing in each of them when I started funding, what I have done to "educate them" over the period I have received funding, where they are now and what I plan to do in the next term. I understand why I am doing it, but its yet more paperwork, for the sake of paperwork, I asked if she just wanted to come and look at my Learning Journey's, but no, it has to be in their format, I also asked if nurseries and pre-schools have to do this for each child, and was told no, but they are inspected in other ways! I only claim 18 hours per week and its really not worth it.

They obviously feel we don't have enough to do.

fudgesmummy Wed 07-Nov-12 21:19:15

I have been accredited for 3.5 years and have several children that claim some of their free entitlement from me. There is so many minders and nurseries in my area that it is imposable to be picky and accept that I will get less an hour for some of the children. My only contact with the network coordinator is a yearly review-I deal with all the paperwork directly with the free entitlement department. I would never not look after FE children

MrAnchovy Wed 07-Nov-12 21:42:46

you do NOT have to belong to a network or be accredited as you often say there is 152 LA's each is different on requirements.

Hmm, any LA that doesn't provide a network or provides EY funding to CMs that are not accredited for that purpose is not complying with the regulations. Can you name and shame, or are you worried your funding might dry up?

HSMM Wed 07-Nov-12 21:56:52

I'm pretty sure you do need yo be accredited. Mine is through the LA network, but I think I have heard of NCMA accredited minders too.

Italiana Wed 07-Nov-12 21:58:55

Mr Anchovy
I know many c/ms in LAs without a network
I believe that the cost of running one has made LAs think twice, unfortunately I do not know which LAs they are but that has been the system for a while and both the DfE and previous DCSF are aware of the discrepancy, in fact the DCSF started questioning the present model in 2009 in one of their publications they stated the system was not effective....unfortunately no one has done anything about it since then...except me as I go on and on about it!!!

Some LAs have an all embracing network, some have one for a limited number of c/ms and other none at all...but I have not heard of c/ms being funded without being so called 'accredited'

Networks were originally set up under the NCMA umbrella but over the years LAs have devised their own system and many are breaking away from the Children Come First (CCF) model

At present NCMA is reviewing the network model and Daycare Trust are doing a research around this topic linked to the 2 year old funding

I am appalled at what Rosiegirl has to do ...basically this is double the paperwork and feels like you are being inspected twice....this is the kind of red tape DfE are keen to see done away with...I wish you would write in and tell them!!!
On the other hand Fudgesmummy hardly gets any support...I think I have made my case quite strong....I will keep on and on and on!!!

sillymillysmummy Wed 07-Nov-12 22:26:27

I am part of a network, I'm not really sure that means anything to our LA other than meeting up once a week. This is the reply I had from our childminding coordinator today regarding the nursery education grant in our LA.

I have been advised that in relation to the 3 and 4 year old offer the
procedures for childminders applying to deliver the offer still need to
be signed off and the finance department are still drawing together the
information about the funding as there is a new formula they have to
use. I have informed them of your enquiry and they will keep me informed
as to how they are progressing. They were hopeful that it would be
complete by Jan but are saying it may be Easter.

I can (if I meet the LA training requirements and my practice remains 'of good quality' ) become a commissioned childminder and be funded for the 2 yo places, which requires an annual inspection by LA.

I think these people must be justifying their own jobs as they are certainly making work for themselves.

Italiana Thu 08-Nov-12 07:48:03

And also spending money from DfE that is barely accounted for......I also think that we as c/ms must bear some responsibility for what has been happening which is now, very possibly' too late to repair but I won't give up hope!!!

In the past some and I stress some c/ms have benefitted from networks and considered themselves very special by being part of a 'special club' ...as said it was not compulsory to belong

But those c/ms who wanted to belong to one and, for whatever reasons found it difficult, said nothing and just accepted the situation....this is a shame

We should have raised concerns over this totally unacceptable system but we didn't and, unfortunately, our representing organization actually promoted networks even though they were aware of the difficulties...now they too are reviewing the system....why?

well the 2 year old funding requires c/ms to be part of this or the scheme will not succeed and that is why some LAs are now opening networks to all c/ms and NCMA is reviewing them

I thought this matter was really of no great concern to c/ms...but I think I was wrong and we need it to be rectified or at least I think so.

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