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CM - are you registered to offer 15-hour free childcare?

(10 Posts)
Strictlyison Mon 05-Jan-15 09:59:00

I have been asked by a family if I offer the free 15 hour childcare for 3 year olds, and I don't. When I enquires about it some time ago it looked like a very complicated process, with extra paperwork and extra inspection, the funding from our local authority was distributed every quarter (which means that I would be paid less weekly with a big chunk at the end of term and when self employed this doesn't work very well); and I would make less money overall as the funding per hour was lower than my hourly charge.

I have been told by my local council support that the process has been simplified and that it's worth registering, however I don't know any of my local child minder friend who is registered for the free 15-hour childcare.

I wanted to know if you are registered, was the process more work for you and is it worth it?

Jinxxx Mon 05-Jan-15 12:12:28

I am registered but not currently offering any funded places. It is more paperwork, you get paid mainly in arrears, it is only funded 38 weeks a year, you are required to undergo audit by the LA (no problem in principle but an inconvenience I could do without), and it is a lot less money than the going rate around here. TBH I mainly registered to show that I meet all the standards for registration, and in the forlorn hope that the regime for payment etc might change. As things stand if I really thought it would help out a loyal longstanding customer I might do it, but I can't see any point in offering funded places to strangers.

HSMMaCM Mon 05-Jan-15 13:17:21

I do it. It's more paperwork and less money, but as Jinxxx said, it's a good way to help out loyal customers. I have also stopped doing pre school drop off and pickup, so it's a way to compensate for that.

Strictlyison Mon 05-Jan-15 13:25:31

HSMM, do you get paid in 'bulk' at the end of the term? Or monthly? I find it difficult to put my head around how I would manage with less week-on-week money, it's hard enough as it is!

Also, if the payments are term time only, how do you then bill extra for parents during the holidays? Or do you pro rata the payments over 52 weeks?

HSMMaCM Mon 05-Jan-15 13:50:07

I get paid termly. 80% in advance and 20% at end of term. I bill more for holidays. One parent pays a monthly standing order of roughly the annual amount divided by 12 and I just give them a statement each month of how far ahead/behind they are.

Strictlyison Mon 05-Jan-15 13:59:56

Ok I have contacted local council and will look closely at the pros and cons and speak with the families I work for.

Would you ever consider just offering a 'pre-school' type of service, let's say 5 hours a day three days a week, and only get government funding? I have been thinking about that because I am French speaking and could offer a pre-school type of service and it might work out better in terms of hours (I could spend more quality time with my children after school). I don't even know if that's possible... but I wouldn't provide 'childcare' for working parents then, it would be like a mini-pre-school in my house... just got me thinking, I may have to do a new business plan!

Strictlyison Mon 05-Jan-15 14:00:35

I mean I could offer a French mini-pre-school!

HSMMaCM Mon 05-Jan-15 14:10:58

If you offer funding you have to be prepared to just offer free hours. I have thought about doing that and just offering a morning and afternoon session. I decided not to, but it sounds like it could work for you.

Strictlyison Mon 05-Jan-15 20:44:37

Hsmm, would I HAVE to offer only the 15 hour childcare - if I have space?

HSMMaCM Mon 05-Jan-15 21:06:46

At the moment you don't, but once you start, our local authority asks how many spaces we have and how many days per week. If someone just wants the 15 hours and not full days, then we are not allowed to say no. This might vary between authorities, so worth having a meeting with your early years coordinator.

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