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PLEASE HELP!! Information about Government Grants- Private Nurseries

(4 Posts)
Isabella25xx Sun 12-Dec-10 11:59:49

Hi everyone,
I'm new on here. I joined mainly because I need some information and guidance on my the issue I'm having. I googled it but nothing relevant came up so thought I'd ask if anybody knew on here??

I put my 3 year old daughter in a private nursery when she was 2 years, 3 months (27 months) As expected, the nursery fees were very expensive. She went in for two half days a week and we paid £205 per month!!!

I don;t know much about nurseries and how they work but I know that when she has turned three (which she did in October) she entitled to free 15 hours nursery time from government grant after the January term which is next month!

NOW HERES MY QUESTION: The nursery attends told us that we still have to PAY and PAY a minimum of £430 a month! Because they said how it works, to be eligible for the goverment grant we need to put her in a maximum of 18 hours. Which is fine, I'm ok with that as now she'll be going in two full days and a half day.

But heres the confusing part: they said how it works is we still pay on the 1st every month as standard but we recieve a cheque from the government of the £430 were paying. However, this can take upto 6-8 weeks!!!

I'm really confused about this as it means techinally we're not getting free nursery time really as we're still going to have to pay at least two months worth (which will be £860!!) till we recieve a cheque to reimburse it.

Is this normal? Does anyone else have to this as well? The reason I'm confused, my sister who lives in the Greater Manchester area doesn't have to this at all with her private nursery her son goes to, they just deduct the amount she pays so she's only paying an extra £50 or something. I've tried researching it but nowhere says this is how the procedure goes. It is in the Stockport area and we've already discussed it with the manager who says thats how it works.

I just think its ridiculous! As not only does her nursery fees have to go up because otherwise shes not eligble for the grant, but we STILL have to pay debit/cash and we dont get reimbursed till 6-8 weeks after!!!

Please let me know if anybody has any information about this and if this is normal???

Thankyou ever so much

feelathome Sun 12-Dec-10 15:22:54

As far as know, this is illegal. The government pays the money to the nursery, not to you. The free entitlement must be free, they can't charge top up fees etc, but they can carge for extra hours, and for meals.
The nursery will have to complete a headcount form on a certain day at the start of each term, stating how many children, thier names and the hours they attend. This wll be checkd by the local council to make sure the child isn't claiming free time at any other childcare setting, then the nursery will get thier grant for all the children for the whole term in one lump sum. You sould have to pay nothing for the free hours.

I used to be a childminder, so have been to lots of training/briefing sessions about this so I am pretty sure I am right. I suppose different local authorities could do it differently, but I don't think so.
Hope this helps.

milly44 Mon 13-Dec-10 16:27:45

Government seriously underfund nurseries (especially london based settings). Most private nurseries are subsidising government policy to the tune of 40% per child.

A lot of nurseries have either withdrawn from the funding altogether or are considering doing so from april 2011 as a result of the new code of practice which prevents them charging their true costs. The government pay me £3.71 per hour per child. My full daycare fees cover 52 weeks of the year 10 hours per day include all additionals such as breakfast, lunch, tea, snacks, yoga, french, ballet etc. My hourly rate in london is £6.10 per hour. Cheaper than the average babysitter!! I'm not surprised parents are having problems now, nurseries are trying to cover the huge shortfall they receive from the government. It is not free as parents are finding out. Don't blame the nurseries as we are all trying to do our best to remain within the funding but most of us now are considering pulling out altogether. Lobby the government on the www.freechildcare website petition so that government start listening to nurseries. We said this was going to happen. Your nursery obviously can't survive on the funds it receives from the funding like the majority of nurseries. Did you know that a maintained nursery in the north gets the same hourly rate as a private day nursery in london? Nurseries want to continue to provide quality but the governments funding unfortunately does not equal this.

I suggest sending your child to a maintained preschool as it is these that are free. Private nurseries need to cover their costs as they have much more business expenditure. There have been huge press articles about the seriousness of the underfunding but the government are still not listening. All nurseries to survive will either pull out of scheme, charge for additional services outside of the basic free early learning entitlement (allowed under my local authority and many others) or go bankrupt. If you were a nursery owner like me, which one would you choose?

milly44 Mon 13-Dec-10 16:32:06

Ps - forgot to say, many local authorities don't hand over the funding until half way through the term. How can a nursery pay their staff or run their business like this. Your nursery is clearly struggling and I will hazard a guess that if they will pull out of funding altogether!

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