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Can someone help me please - a few questions about schools/montessoris

(35 Posts)
Quootiepie Thu 20-Sep-07 16:16:55

I have picked 2 preschools (dunno what you call them) for DS, one is attached to our local church, the other is a montessori. The fees are double for the montessori (still ok though) but it says something about vouchers - what are these voucher thingies? Do you get a certain number of hours paid for from 3-5? If so, do they apply to any kind of school from 3-5? Or just non private ones? THe montessori in the ofsted report said X amount of the children were funded - but then if you get vouchers for a set number of hours at any school, why do people not just go for the more expensive? I am very confused...

Quootiepie Thu 20-Sep-07 16:18:21

Oh, DS is 18 months, will be 2 1/2 exactly in Sept. but the Montessori accepts them from 2, so may send him in March (when he is 2). What is the best amount of time to send them to preschool? Obviously I don't need it like childcare, so can d any hours - I guessed 2 mornings a week?

ladymuck Thu 20-Sep-07 16:23:36

Every child gets vouchers equivalent to a set amount of funding for 12.5 hours per week from the term after they turn 3 until the term in which they turn 5 (although many will be in reception class by then).

As to why doesn't evereyone go for the more expensive: firstly many parents do send their child from when they are 2 or 2.5 and are therefore paying for it themselves. Also the vouchers only cover a set minimum so you will still have to pay a top-up fee. And of course expensive does not mean best - the Montesorri approach isn't best for everyone!

Most preschool setting would want a child for at least 2 sessions a week as otherwise settling in takes for ever. But 2 sessions a week would probably be fine for a 2yo.

ladymuck Thu 20-Sep-07 16:24:32

Sorry i should say that you "may" have to pay a top-up fee. I belive that soem chanegs in rules now means this occurs less frequently, buy it does still seem to exist.

Quootiepie Thu 20-Sep-07 16:28:53

The montessori had a nearly all outstanding ofsted report - I went there when I was DSs age grin So you get 12.5 hours a week? My SIL ( ?) has just started her 3 yo at a preschool thing, but she picked the nearest (not very good) one, so I thought maybe I had got it wrong about the vouchers. So, everyone gets them? Even if it's a hugely expensive school? I saw another montessori (not as good) that was really expensive - people can get 12.5 hours free anywhere?

Quootiepie Thu 20-Sep-07 16:29:58

o, so they pay 12.5 hours but only up to a certain amount? [confused]

TheBlonde Thu 20-Sep-07 16:30:09

Although you are supposed to get 12.5 hrs free the reality is most more expensive places just deduct the voucher money and you pay the difference

Quootiepie Thu 20-Sep-07 16:35:43

Sorry, have looked up childcare vouchers and have no idea at all what they are on about - somethign about £175 a week and salary sacrifices and that

TheBlonde Thu 20-Sep-07 16:37:51

No they are different
They are a way of reducing your tax by taking some of your pretax salary as vouchers to pay your CM/Nursery etc

link for early years childcare vouchers

LIZS Thu 20-Sep-07 16:39:02

The 12 1/2 hours is actually 5 2 1/2 sessions so if your chosen preschool runs for say 3 hours you'd pay the difference but you can't carry a balance over if the session is less. It applies termtime weeks only, even in full time childcare, from the term after the child turns 3 , so for your ds April 2009. The LEA does have set criteria which the preschool/nursery/childminder/playgroup etc has to comform to (ie operate for a minimum number of weeks per year) and they do set a maximum for the rate they'll pay at. Some places will reduce the fees by that amount, either monthly averaging it over a year if it is all year round, having one rate for termtime another for holiday, or termly, others pay you back retrospectively when the funding appears.

Quootiepie Thu 20-Sep-07 16:41:57

12.5 hours = just over 4 sessions at montessori - that's alot of free education, that can't be right? It's £16.50 a session, so £16.50 times 4...£66. I get just over £66 basically to send my DS to school a week? That seems an awful lot, I thought they paid for like 2 sessions. That's about 2 days!

TheBlonde Thu 20-Sep-07 16:48:22

Here is London it is currently worth £479 a term so £1437 per year

12.5 hrs for 38 weeks means they are only giving approx £3 per hour and we would pay the difference

LIZS Thu 20-Sep-07 16:49:03

No you can't claim 12 1/2 hours just the 2 1/2 hours of the session. You may also not get the full amount reimbursed - we got just over £400 per 11/12 week-ish term - as they set a maximum amount per session. The LEA Early Years dept administer these vouchers, perhaps there is something on your Local Education Authority website ?

Quootiepie Thu 20-Sep-07 16:53:19

Just seen something about they pay for 5 2 and a half hour session - so that means i'd pay 5 times 1/2 hour to top it up? Think I am still getting this wrong, there is amount limit also?

Oh, while I am at it, how long would you send a 2 yo to montessori for per week (regardless of what the vouchers pay for)?

ladymuck Thu 20-Sep-07 16:53:47

The amount you get varies from area to area. Here I get £512 per term deducted from the fees provided ds2 does all 5 sessions (which he does as he is now in recpetion at a private school). If he only did 2 session though I would only get £200 per term, so I suspect that you will still have to pay fees for the Montessori

Quootiepie Thu 20-Sep-07 16:54:17

Sorry to be a pain, the school isn't in my area, does the LEA in the schools area have the info, of the lEA for my area?

TheBlonde Thu 20-Sep-07 16:56:22

Call your local Childrens Info Service
They will be able to explain

LIZS Thu 20-Sep-07 16:56:47

That's right - you'd pay in full for that half hour and be subsidised/"free" for the 2 1/2. You won't get the vouchers for a year or so anyway, so I'd do the minimum in the interim , usually 2 or 3 session per week but it will vary. dd started at just over 2 and increased to 5 sessions within a few months.

ladymuck Thu 20-Sep-07 16:57:51

Sorry - X post. You pay £16.50 per session. Assuming you do 2 mornings a week for 12 weeks in each term then you would be paying £396 per term. From the term after your child turns 3 you will be entitled to funding of around £200 per term, reducing your bill to £196.

However a number of playgroups and nurseries will aim to provide these session for the cost of the funding, so from the term after your child turns 3 you don't have to pay anything.

Quootiepie Thu 20-Sep-07 16:59:04

I think I am understanding it, am looknig up the LEA stuff now. If I started with 3 session, would it be 3 mornings or a day and a half? Is a full day too much?

Quootiepie Thu 20-Sep-07 17:01:13

£196 a term shock I was getting all in a fluster looking at various fees that ran into £1000's a term. The sessions stay the same price up until age 5 (when they don't do it anymore full stop)

LIZS Thu 20-Sep-07 17:03:27

It depends what you want to do , I preferred half day sessions as they tire easily. You would n't get funding for lunchtime anyway whatever his age, but if you want to say work or do a course a day may work out better. Do they do all day , many preschools,nurseries etc are sessional am's or pm's only and depend on their vacancies. Surely you only have to decide now for March , long before the funding comes into it.

Quootiepie Thu 20-Sep-07 17:11:48

The table below shows the amounts that will be paid per week to a provider based on the number of sessions that a child is attending. If a child is attending two sessions and the provider is claiming for a 12 week term then the amount that the provider will be paid is £210.48 (12 x £17.54). There will be no refund to a parent if the amount paid for a funded session is less than the cost of a session that is not being funded.
One Session per Week
Two Sessions per Week
Three Sessions per Week
Four Sessions per Week
Five Sessions per Week

Does that mean they will pay a max. of £8.77 per session? Max. of £43.85 a week?

SleeplessInTheStaceym11House Thu 20-Sep-07 17:14:27

sounds reasonable, my dds pre-school sessions are £6.50 a session

Quootiepie Thu 20-Sep-07 17:15:19

Those are the voucher limits I think, not the montessori fees

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