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Is it common for childminders to NOT accept 15 free hours of childcare?

(13 Posts)
MarvinKMooney Fri 20-Nov-15 14:37:30

We're currently in the process of signing up with a new childminder. We've had one meeting, several discussions by email and phone, and my 3yo dd has met her several times.

All was going well, first invoice issued and ready payment ... and then I receive an email stating that she has chosen not to run the 15 hours free childcare scheme (we would be using just a proportion of this with her, and the rest with another provider).

I am pretty worried about this, as I'm not sure how I am going to support this extra cost. I mentioned the funding and the childcare voucher schemes we use, and she didn't say anything about it at the time. Her email explains that the rate she gets won't cover her costs.

As I mention in my title, how common is it for childminders to not accept this funding? We have a plan B which will save us nearly £170 a month, by purely using the 6 hours elsewhere and getting grandparents to help on one afternoon for a couple of hours.

This Plan B is looking to be pretty much of a no-brainer, but just wondered what was 'normal' in the industry. Thoughts?? Thanks!

NickNacks Fri 20-Nov-15 15:44:56

I don't and I don't know of any cm that does. There's nothing in it for me, aside from a lower hourly rate. The government might sell it to parents as 15hrs free but it's the providers who are subsidising it. I can 'sell 'those hours for a higher hourly rate and so I do. Sorry.

OddBoots Fri 20-Nov-15 15:53:53

I'm surprised a CM is deciding this right now, it is the Wednesday coming that the government is planning to announce the results of their funding review in preparation for the roll out of the 30 hour funding. I know a lot of CMs and settings are watching and waiting for that announcement to decide if they can afford to offer funded hours or not.

elvisthehamster Fri 20-Nov-15 15:53:54

I only know of nurseries that do that, none of my childminders ever done that nor have I heard of CM's doing that ,only childcare settings such as playgroups or nursery?

MarkRuffaloCrumble Fri 20-Nov-15 16:14:30

I know that some CMs do it, but I can't imagine why, as they get paid significantly less per hour for that session than they would usually be able to charge. I guess it's better than being empty while all the little ones go to nursery instead, but it seems ridiculous that they are doing the same job as they do the rest of the week, but getting 20-30% less money for it!

Essentially, the CM is subsidising the government and/or the parents by offering cheap childcare.

MarvinKMooney Fri 20-Nov-15 16:43:44

Good to hear your views - thanks!

I do understand why, but as our current childminder offered the 15 hours - as do many others round our way (Yorkshire) - I just thought she would too.

Sadly, it doesn't change the fact that I simply can't find another £170 a month. I had a term time contract with my last childminder and this one doesn't offer that either, so it's a bit of a double hit for me.

Anyway, Plan B looks like it's going ahead, hopefully everyone will be happy.

Thanks again.

Nicadooby Sat 21-Nov-15 08:06:49

I do offer funding but the children who use it are with me full time so I figured it was worth losing nearly £1 per hour less for the 15 hours than to re advertise and have to say goodbye to the children, so as I have two how are funded I'm actually nearly £30 worst off per week.

All though we are not allowed to ask parents to top up the difference we are allowed to ask parents to make an extra payment for the child's lunch/snacks per day if we wish

QueenOfMyDomain Sat 21-Nov-15 13:14:38

I offer funding as its higher than my hourly rate. I know a lot who don't though as they say it's too much hassle and can get plenty of business without.

PhoebeMcPeePee Sat 21-Nov-15 16:26:18

I wasn't going to offer funding as it's well below my normal rate but (in conjunction with one of my parents!) I 'worked around it' by introducing a similar system to that of lots of nurseries - essentially charging a top-up but under the guise of changing sessional fees. It's all a bit of a farce and I'm not entirely comfortable doing it but frankly if it's mutually agreeable to cm & parents and means we can offer continuity of care without losing out financially, then so be it.

I'll use my own example to explain. Child B attends 10 hours a day 8-6pm fully inclusive daily rate of £60. My LA pay £3.95ph for funded children so now I charge £40.25 a day & get the £19.75 balance from LA payments. My invoice now shows:

8-9am breakfast club £7 + £1 breakfast
9-11:30 2.5hrs funded
11:30-12:30 lunchtime club £7 + £1.75 lunch
12:30-3pm 2.5hrs funded
3-6pm 3 hrs after-school club £21 + £2.50 tea

The important bit is I can't force parents to use the wraparound/lunchtime care and they could bring their own food so in theory just use me for free funded hours, but in reality mum knows I can't afford to do this so she would be given notice.
Worth considering op?

Notagainmun Sat 21-Nov-15 21:09:10

By keeping my prices around that of others in my area, I already earn (after expenses) less than the minimum wage, even though I have filled my ratios, so if I offered the free spaces I would earn even less as my local authority pays pittance.

Childminding is a tough job, even though I love it (mostly), I often feel undervalued by the government, who I think would love to see the back of us as they make the job harder every year sad

maryann1975 Sat 21-Nov-15 22:29:57

Around here, some cms choose to offer the funding, some don't. Surprisingly it seems to be the ones who generally charge the most who do offer the funding and the cheaper ones dont offer it.
We get £3.65 per hour for funded children. And the expensive cms charge £3.75 per hour. They get round the difference by charging for meals.
One of the cheapest cms charges just £20 for a 10 hour day, so if she offered the funding she would be making a massive amount more. It's no more work now (in the past it was more paperwork and more visits) so the only reason I can see to not offer the funded places is if you, like phoebe can get £60 a day per child (so possibly £6 per hour) and the government only offer £3.65 for a funded place. I don't see the problem with the creative accountancy either. Those are your prices, no one can argue, you aren't forcing parents to use the care before and after the free sessions.

jannier Sun 22-Nov-15 20:11:28

I offer funding to my existing families if its in the best interest of the child. It is less than my normal charge but I would rather that than the children moved to nursery for a term before starting at school nursery. I do charge for the time they are at school nursery as I have to keep the space for the 16 weeks a year it is shut, our nurseries are shut more than schools due to home visits then stagger children in for 3 weeks.

HSMMaCM Mon 23-Nov-15 16:37:29

I offer funding, to help out the families and children. The rate is MUCH lower than my normal hourly equivalent. If 30 hours comes in on the same rate, I will be giving up funded spaces.

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