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Will 30 hours free childcare help you?

(50 Posts)
agnesrose86 Mon 11-May-15 20:04:37

Is it just me or is the 30 hours of free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds that the new government is proposing not that helpful? I have a 5 and 3 year old and a baby. I will use the free 15 hours in September so my ds gets to see his friends but in terms of childcare enabling me to work, I will still have to pay a nanny/childminder. It would be so much better if the 30 hours could be used to pay an ofsted registered nanny or the 15 hours was extended to include all 2 year olds. Just wondering if anyone else agrees or that's just my situation?

HSMMaCM Mon 11-May-15 20:09:06

You could get the 30 hours with a childminder, but it's not supposed to be childcare.

agnesrose86 Mon 11-May-15 20:14:42

I think it is childcare as the manifesto suggests it will only be available to working families.

Cindy34 Mon 11-May-15 20:51:47

The manifesto implied it was childcare but time will tell if that is the case or not. The current funding is for education.

I wonder how many providers it will put out of business, as funding amounts in some areas is quite low. Why is it not the same rate everywhere?

Will it be termtime only? Not many term time only jobs?

Maybe it will be useful to some, when combined with the tax-free childcare scheme. Will be interesting to see if it happens and what happens as a result.

agnesrose86 Mon 11-May-15 21:17:21

Yes I wonder if it will just be term time and good point about funding. There's not that much info about it online yet, I might write to my MP to see if I can find out more.

lovelynannytobe Mon 11-May-15 21:36:50

I wouldn't get overly excited about this as ...
-this will not be available immediately
-in some areas the funding is so low not many childminders/nurseries want to offer just the funded hours
-the funding the providers will get to cover the free hours will almost certainly be lowered further resulting in more providers opting out of it

There is no such thing as free childcare. That money has to come from somewhere. That means that cuts will be made elsewhere to pay for it ....

Redlocks28 Mon 11-May-15 21:42:03

It says it's only for working parents, so is seen as childcare.

I agree with all of lovelynannytobe's points.

If you try to take up a funded place-you will probably struggle to find anyone to take you on as no childcare provider will want to opt in as they will have to operate at a loss. This is exactly what has happened with the 15 hours of (not) free childcare offered, so unless the 30 hours is funded in a completely different way, it really benefits nobody but makes the government sound like they're great...

Tanith Mon 11-May-15 23:14:26

It was a last ditch bribe to tempt working parents to vote for them.

Unless they address the funding shortfall, they are not going to be able to deliver it.

WickedGirl Tue 12-May-15 10:15:28

It will only benefit me if self employed people can use it as DH and I are both self employed

Karoleann Tue 12-May-15 11:52:19

I think some pre-schools will struggle to offer it too.
I'm the treasurer for our pre-school and we only have the physical capacity for 20 children at a time, we already open 9-3 - our 40 children rotate morning and afternoon sessions, so we can only offer 15 hours a week max.

Jinxxx Tue 12-May-15 12:06:18

I think it could be the last straw for many childminders. We are paid often less than nurseries and preschools for the current so called free hours, but have lower ratios and higher overheads. Around here it is just over £3 per hour per child (the local authority forbids asking parents to contribute) and best case is that I can have three at once. . With a collection of part timers it is very rare to have full occupancy, and of course there can also be lean periods when one family leaves and before a new one takes up a place. People might think £9 an hour isn't too bad but it would rarely reach that on average. People also forget that all the overheads have to come out of that figure - registration fees, extra house and car insurance, public liability insurance, training (some of which is compulsory),extra heating and lighting, fuel, toys, equipment, entrance fees etc. As it is my expenses are roughly half my takings, and that is with several private customers paying higher than the council rate. It makes me so cross when the council or indeed the government harps on about "free" childcare when it would be truer to say this is childcare subsidised by the providers. By upping the "free" entitlement to 30 hours the government will make it impossible for providers to make enough money on extra hours to make their businesses worth operating, and I suspect there will either not be enough places to meet the demand, or parents will be forced into using places in larger and arguably less homely settings.

HSMMaCM Tue 12-May-15 12:56:01

What Jinx said. I have already warned my parents I might have to give up offering funded hours if this goes ahead.

CloserToFiftyThanTwenty Tue 12-May-15 12:58:45

I think it's helpful for those parents who are already using a nursery for 3/4/5 days a week and who just see their bill going down

Redlocks28 Tue 12-May-15 13:20:07

I don't think it will go down by much!

adp73 Tue 12-May-15 13:45:19

REDLOCKS28

The funded hours are for Early Education. I wonder whether you have any understanding about this actually is? Do you expect the children to be all sitting in a row at desks being 'taught'?

That is not what is meant at all. ALL Childminders, Day Nurseries, Pre Schools,(must be graded Good or Outstanding to offer 2 year funding) School Nursery and reception Classes can offer the Funded places because they all follow the Statutory Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

EYFS is learning based on play.

The problem is that although the Government gives the same funding to all LAs for these children many of them do not pass it on the the Childcarers and the rates paid to childcarers can vary from £.20 per hour to £6.50 per hour and some LAs pay more to State Nurseries and school than to other childcarers. Providers have to offer the 15 hours Free and are not allowed to charge a top up if the amount offered does not match their normal hourly rate.

This means the provider who say charges £5.per hour normally but is only paid £3.50 by LA looses £855 per year for each child they offer a funded place to. Double that to 30 hours and the loss is £1710 per funded child per year for a childminder with 3 such children that is a loss of income £5130 a year.

Why should the childcare provider be forced to subsidize a parent's childcare fees? I wonder how many parents could afford to or indeed be told their salary will be reduced by this amount to pay for something for someone else?

Doubling the hours to 30 will I fear see many small Pre Schools, childminder's and some Private Nurseries either close down or refuse to offer funded places, reducing the number of places even more than now.

The only way it may work is for parents to start lobbying Government to make it a legal requirement for ALL LAs to use ALL the funding so it is economic for the providers to offer the places.

OutragedFromLeeds Tue 12-May-15 13:49:11

Everyone would benefit more from a childcare voucher to the amount that they calculate 30 hours is worth, so £3 x 30 = £90pw for example.

How many 'hours' that £90 buys you will depend on what form of childcare you use/where you live/how many children you have etc., but at least everyone would benefit in some way. Plus you can save the vouchers and spend them over the year rather than just during term time.

Is the number of hours you get dependent on the number of hours you work? Or is it a flat 30 for everyone who works?

gallicgirl Tue 12-May-15 13:53:26

I don't see where the places will come from. Most of the nurseries near to my house are sessional ie; morning or afternoon only. I had to wait 5 months to get DD into a nursery that offered care from 8 to 6 and used a childminder instead. As good as the childminder is, I also wanted DD to experience a larger setting before she starts school.
Nurseries don't have the space to expand or take on more pupils and starting a new nursery is a massive undertaking. I do wonder if nurseries will have to opt out of the current 15 hour funding scheme if they feel unable to participate in the 30 hour scheme?

blondegirl73 Tue 12-May-15 13:56:55

I agree with all these points and have many, many more grievances about this policy that I've done to death on other posts. I honestly believe it's one of those headlines that sounds brilliant, but actually in practical terms doesn't help much.

The government can implement this, pat themselves on the back and think they've done a fabulous job, and all of us working parents will continue to struggle on exactly as we always have.

I feel so strongly about this that I've emailed my MP and various media outlets to whinge about it and I'm not shutting up yet!

As an aside, adp73, I was a registered childminder until last year so I might be a bit out of the loop. I thought only some childminders could offer funded places - has that changed?

Redlocks28 Tue 12-May-15 13:57:14

REDLOCKS28The funded hours are for Early Education. I wonder whether you have any understanding about this actually is? Do you expect the children to be all sitting in a row at desks being 'taught'?

Why was this directed at me!?

Mrscog Tue 12-May-15 14:00:55

It will be great for me as my DS will be in full time, (I already pay the extra fees for the sessions outside of the free hours), so it will just reduce my childcare bill.

addictedtosugar Tue 12-May-15 14:05:42

Outraged what a fab suggestion! DC, or his internet scourers, take note: increase potential childcare vouchers for working people, and scrap the "free childcare for 30 hrs" bit.

Cindy34 Tue 12-May-15 14:58:14

Education Vouchers perhaps they should be called and as Outraged says, should be money worth, not hours as the cost of providing the education varies around the country.

Combined with the tax-free childcare scheme whereby parents get up to 20% contribution towards childcare fees, it could work for everyone involved.

A downside though is that some providers may increase fees unreasonably thus making the vouchers less valuable. Though parents would get choice in who they used the vouchers with so could look for a lower cost provider.

agnesrose86 Tue 12-May-15 16:00:03

Really interesting comments and ideas. I think we should use the power of mumsnet to get them to come up with a more helpful policy for everyone! I am going to send these points to my MP.

Tanith Tue 12-May-15 17:26:30

The trouble with money vouchers as opposed to hours is that people living in more expensive areas will get less free childcare. As it stands, everyone is entitled to 15 hours a week.

OutragedFromLeeds Tue 12-May-15 20:19:27

Is that necessarily unfair though Tanith? People living in expensive areas get less house for their money as well, but we don't expect the government to subsidise that. Generally people who live in expensive areas earn more and therefore can afford the costs associated with living in those areas.

£90 is £90 all over England. If that buys you 30 hours in Hull and only 10 hours in London, then maybe that's just the way the cookie crumbles?

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