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15-30 free hours for parents: what's your opinions?

(59 Posts)
Suzycb Sat 28-Jan-17 22:45:51

From September, this increases to 30 hours free for parents earnings up to £100,000.00 per each parent. (That's up to £200,000.00 in total). When this scheme initially extended to childminders, I thought to help actual parents especially any single parents out there who wanted to work but can't afford childcare because their child is under 3 years old. As a childminder who works alone means I don't have enough children to be able to even break even after what's the government is offering as in incentive towards the scheme. What's left for working almost 11 hours per day? I feel that we (childminders) haven't received advocates on our behalf to support the dilemma left to survive on. At the moment though not compulsive to accept the scheme within our settings, however, if a parent is offered this deal elsewhere, of course they'll move on. I just I cannot afford surviving on this and causing so many nurseries being shut down because nothing left to pay staff.

BackforGood Sun 29-Jan-17 01:13:44

Unfortunately it was a rash pre-election promise made by David Cameron without doing any much research on how they could actually deliver on this.
No Nursery I know can balance the books offering 30 hours of childcare funded on what the Government is promising to pay.
Where I live, there are nowhere near enough places even at the moment for the numbers of children entitled to either 3 yr Education funding nor 2yr funding - how the government thinks it's going to suddenly conjure up twice as many places, I'm really not sure.
that's before you star taking into account the fact that they have not factored in even more than a tiny % of the additional funds needed to support either children, or families with additional needs.

noblegiraffe Sun 29-Jan-17 02:01:42

2 Pre-schools near me closed because they couldn't afford the 15 hours let alone 30, this is going to be disastrous. And the fact that they are making childminders provide these hours too is ridiculous, they will probably end up shutting down too as they won't be able to run on £3 per hour or whatever the rate will be.

Parents will end up no better for childcare and most likely worse as there will be fewer offerings. The only places that will cope will be big nurseries that charge extortionate rates for 'extras'.

nannynick Sun 29-Jan-17 08:12:56

In area where the funding amount is higher than the amount the provider currently charges, it may work.
How many of those areas are there? What about everyone else?

Time will tell but I expect large chains may do it and offset losses in some areas from gains in others. Small providers in high cost areas will close.

thenightmanageress Sun 29-Jan-17 08:20:44

I currently use 15hours free childcare with our childminder rather than the preschool my DTs are at. I pay more per hour with the preschool and asked our CM if she would rather we 'gave' her the free hours or school & she was happy to have them. Can I ask how much the govt give her? We pay £4 p/h per child for childcare with her & £4.44 p/h at the preschool

glenthebattleostrich Sun 29-Jan-17 08:29:58

In my area they are encouraging split care, so half at nursery and half with a childminder. They've also slashed staff back to the bone to increase funding for childminders. They had to do this after 90% of childminders said they wouldn't be offering any funded places and there was a massive shortage of places.

The unofficial agreement is that providers will increase fees across the board so everyone is paying a little more to subsidise the funded places (I've had to increase mine from £4.20 to £4.50 per hour).

thisgirlrides Sun 29-Jan-17 10:25:44

It varies from council to council . I get £3.90ph for funded children and £6ph for non funded so it's a massive loss for me that I simply can't afford on 15 hours let alone 30.

HSMMaCM Sun 29-Jan-17 15:37:09

The funded rates are about 2/3 my normal rate, so doubling the offer would make a huge difference to me. Our local authority have said if CMs don't offer it, we will probably lose business to those who do. I believe that, because it's what happened with the 15 hours.

There is no consideration that CMs have to make a living wage out of caring for 3 under 5s, where nurseries can have 8-13 children per member of staff (I accept they have additional costs for premises etc).

After costs I would be on less than minimum wage. And I'm a qualified early years teacher.

Floralnomad Sun 29-Jan-17 15:42:01

Can I just ask ( not that it affects me) but when my DC were small , it was the early days of 'funded childcare' and we had to pay the extra to the nursery so that they still got their hourly rate , is this not the case anymore ?

noblegiraffe Sun 29-Jan-17 15:43:41

They're not allowed to charge top up fees, the hours have to be free, so if the child only does those hours, they don't pay anything.

NotAQueef Sun 29-Jan-17 15:48:26

Well on a very personal note I am delighted having paid between £10-13k nursery fees every year since 2011. This will make us several hundreds of pounds better off each month from next April when my daughter will be entitled. My nursery has confirmed they are offering it to existing parents.

NotAQueef Sun 29-Jan-17 15:49:40

Sorry just realized this is a home childcare thread. Apologies for posting a non-relevant comment!

HSMMaCM Sun 29-Jan-17 15:51:59

There's no dispute it's a massive benefit to parents and I would be 100% behind it if the government were truly funding the hours and not just pretending they are. Providers are paying towards your child's childcare.

I am offering it, because I like the families I work with. There is enough business in my area for me to just work with under 3s, but I like to see children through to school and their parents want them to stay with me.

Suzycb Sun 29-Jan-17 16:22:03

I guess all the huge hype regarding living wage doesn't apply to cm☹️! Parents expect free snacks & meals after these charges. I'm considering other employment in the future sadly.

nannynick Sun 29-Jan-17 17:49:48

Why would there be free snacks and meals? Surely parents aren't expecting that... are they?

nannynick Sun 29-Jan-17 17:50:55

NotAQueef - it is very relevant. It will be interesting to see what you find your bill is once the funding kicks in, if it make a dramatic difference or if you find that things you do pay for increase in cost.

HSMMaCM Sun 29-Jan-17 18:06:52

True nannynick, I wouldn't be surprised if some parents see costs of meals, etc rising.

SpaghettiMeatballs Sun 29-Jan-17 18:14:34

It can't be right that people expect free snacks etc? At my private nursery we are able to claim the funding but pay £7 per day for meals and what they loosely define as 'supplies'. It doesn't bother me because I know they can't offer the standard of care my DCs receive for the council hourly rate.

Verticalvenetianblinds Sun 29-Jan-17 18:19:27

I realise this is a homecare thread but its caught my attention. Ds is only 19 months but we currently pay £7 an hour for nursery. Quite looking forward to the drop when he's entitles to his funded hours, but we will be paying top up. Why cant childminders charge that? For us that still £3.10 an hour but we're happy with that. Could cms not charge the extra £1 per hour?

throwingpebbles Sun 29-Jan-17 18:20:25

Our pre school is doing the 30 hours but I am somewhat assuming we will have to pay for meals etc that are currently included from then on.
I would certainly rather pay "top ups" in whatever way they suggest than see any diminution in the quality of care.

throwingpebbles Sun 29-Jan-17 18:21:49

Also I think a place is guaranteed if we want a year round place rather than term time only. So will still be paying full whack in the holidays (but again I accept that as I don't want the nursery to cut staff etc)

insertimaginativeusername Sun 29-Jan-17 18:31:46

Not sure if this is helpful or relevant as it relates to a nursery, but the nursery we use passes on the amount of funding they receive from the LA rather than giving a set amount of free hours. So we get a discounted bill as opposed to 15 hours of childcare. They also spread the funding over 12 months rather than only giving it term time only. Is that something CMs can do too? I have minimal understanding of childcare as a business but the manager seems happy to do it this way.

nannynick Sun 29-Jan-17 18:34:39

No provider will be able to charge a top-up. The 15/30 hours has to be provided free at the point of use. What I believe providers can do is charge for anything that is an addition... so charge for a lunch hour between sessions, charge for food, charge for outings, charge for late pickup, charge for additional hours.
In a document I have read... it says "provider must give you the choice to bring a packed lunch or allow you to take your child out of the setting over the lunch period."
The 15/30 hours is based on a 38 week year... so if a provider provides care all year round, they may do the funding all year round but the number of hours per week will drop - so the total funded hours per year remains the same.

HSMMaCM Sun 29-Jan-17 18:36:25

We are not allowed to top up or deduct the funding received. Any CMs or nurseries doing this are breaking the terms of their funding agreements.

It would be much clearer if we could simply deduct the funding received, but the reason why this is not allowed is that the hours must be free and the families who most need extra help will not be able to afford top ups.

nannynick Sun 29-Jan-17 18:36:38

Not sure if this is helpful or relevant as it relates to a nursery, but the nursery we use passes on the amount of funding they receive from the LA rather than giving a set amount of free hours. So we get a discounted bill as opposed to 15 hours of childcare.

My understanding is that providers are not allowed to do that.

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