Pre-school Learning Alliance changes to terms and conditions

(14 Posts)
parched Thu 23-Dec-10 10:00:27

Does anyone out there send their child to a Pre-School Learning Alliance Nursery? Are you cross about the changes to the terms and conditions? Chnages to invoicing procedures, the removal of holiday entitlement, no mention of funding or payment by childcare vouchers, and charging for bad weather closure days are just some of the things that have really got my goat.

Our nursery manager wasn't even consulted and is really peeved too. A number of parents at our nursery are writing letters of complaint to the Chief Executive and I would urge you to do likewise. His details are:
Neil Leitch, Pre-School Learning Alliance, The Fitzpatrick Building, 188 York Wya, London N7 9AD

OP’s posts: |
SecretSlattern Thu 23-Dec-10 10:04:09

I work in a PSLA setting and haven't heard of any of this

parched Thu 23-Dec-10 19:59:50

We were given the new t&c with our latest invoice and have been informed they will take effect from April.

OP’s posts: |
SecretSlattern Thu 23-Dec-10 23:12:40

Interesting, will have to look it up.

SecretSlattern Thu 23-Dec-10 23:15:35

I would have thought though, that most of the things you mention in your OP were the responsibility of the individual setting, rather than dictated by the PSLA? Are you sure it's not just your nursery bringing about unpopular changes and blaming the PSLA?

Happy1234 Mon 03-Jan-11 19:43:12

I am also cross about this. They are new national terms and conditions, not local. I have made my views clear in my letter to Mr Leitch. I am not sure how many parents will take the time to read the new doc, it is in very very small print, but the changes are massive and will cost us a lot of money!

megseleven Mon 03-Jan-11 23:26:44

Hi,can anyone post a link to these changes, or provide a summary please? Ta x

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parched Tue 04-Jan-11 21:05:01

PSLA don't appear to publish their T&C online. The key changes are: charging for bad weather closure days (outrageous when they are making the decision to close); changing the invoicing procedure so that your weekly amount is multiplied by 51 then divided by 12 to give 12 equal monthly payments (rather than the days you actually attend during that calendar month); late payment penalty of base rate plus 3%; fee payment by standing order (no mention of funding or childcare vouchers); removal of holiday entitlement (currently 4 weeks at half price).

I think what they are doing especially penalises working families on low incomes. Considering many of their nurseries are Children's Centres it's appalling.

OP’s posts: |
parched Tue 04-Jan-11 21:06:48

PSLA don't appear to publish their T&C online. The key changes are:
*charging for bad weather closure days (outrageous when they are making the decision to close);
*changing the invoicing procedure so that your weekly amount is multiplied by 51 then divided by 12 to give 12 equal monthly payments (rather than the days you actually attend during that calendar month);
*late payment penalty of base rate plus 3%; fee payment by standing order (no mention of funding or childcare vouchers);
*removal of holiday entitlement (currently 4 weeks at half price).

I think what they are doing especially penalises working families on low incomes. Considering many of their nurseries are Children's Centres it's appalling.

OP’s posts: |
parched Tue 04-Jan-11 21:09:11

Oops, sorry - managed to post that twice

OP’s posts: |
parched Fri 07-Jan-11 16:15:25

FYI - I've received a response from Neil Leitch. My complaint and his response follow. Please do send your own complaint as this can only add extra weight.

Dear Mr Leitch

I write with reference to the new terms and conditions issued by PSLA for its nursery customers. I am very unhappy with the content of the terms and conditions and the disadvantageous financial implications.

My main concerns are as follows:

1. Invoicing (Clauses 3.2 and 3.3)

My nursery has problems with issuing invoices that are correct and timely. This causes problems with a number of your new terms and conditions, namely:
a. Clause 3.2 – paying in 12 equal instalments. I want to be able to check my monthly invoice is correct before settling my bill.
b. Clause 3.3 – all payments to be made by standing order. I currently pay by childcare vouchers; is PSLA no longer to accept vouchers or is this a mistake on your part?
c. Clause 3.3 – late payment fee. Since invoices are never issued on time (as of today I still have not received my January invoice) I refuse to be penalised for someone else’s inefficiency. Furthermore, the charge of 3% above Base Rate is ludicrously high.

2. Holidays (Clause 3.8)

The removal of holiday entitlement is shocking and completely out of line with industry standards. Most nurseries offer a minimum of two weeks’ holiday and to remove this entitlement hits working families hardest and results in an increased annual cost of £345.

3. Closures (Clauses 6.1 and 1.4)

To charge for days when the nursery chooses to close is entirely inappropriate, particularly in relation to bad weather. If my employer is open for business, such as during the recent snow, I am expected to be at work. If the nursery closes I have to use unpaid parental leave to care for my child. If I am then to be charged fees on top of my loss of earnings for a service that has not been provided then I’m sure you can understand why I am so cross.

I urge you to reconsider the terms and conditions. There are many parents who are very angry about this and I believe it will hamper PSLA’s ability to attract new customers and may even result in the nursery losing existing customers as parents move their children to nurseries with more advantageous terms and conditions.

Mr Leitch's response:

I write in response to your recent email which raises a number of issues regarding the revised nursery terms and conditions.

The charity is well aware of how important our services are to local communities and the financial pressures on families and service providers alike especially as we deal with the impact of the government’s austerity measures.

All of our settings are operating in areas where a number of families struggle financially, but in most cases we receive no financial support from the government. This means that we have no alternative but to charge fees to cover the cost of running the setting. Unfortunately the rate of Nursery Education Funding does not always cover the true cost of providing a nursery place. The revised terms and conditions aimed to address a number of administrative processes and anomalies that have impacted adversely on the charity.

It is our view that your comments and or questions warrant some detailed analysis of the impact of the new terms and conditions which can then be used inform a review to be carried out by the Senior Management Team in the coming weeks.

I will send you a detailed response to your email once the review has been completed.

Kind regards
Neil Leitch
Chief Executive

OP’s posts: |
noaj Sat 12-Mar-11 10:14:10

I think your anger should be aimed at the Government for not funding early education and child care. As a society we should acknowledge that a good start is both a right for all children and necessary for the long term stability of the country. We all get the benefit if children are well cared for and ready for the future and parents are supported in their role.
If we all benefit, we should all be prepared to put into the tax pot.

Happy1234 Thu 07-Apr-11 10:10:16

I've been fairly disgusted with this entire process. Mr Leitch and his managers have taken nearly 3 months to think about an already ill-conceived plan and the response is not great. It seems that we can now pay in advance for what we owe for that month - not the silly annualised hours system which is a blessing.

I am particularly cross about the holiday fees and shall be voting with my feet and transferring to a nursery locally that either closes for a two week period for holidays in August (there is one) or one of the other nurseries that still has a half fee system.

Happy1234 Thu 07-Apr-11 10:15:07

NOAJ - yes I agree however PSLA have dumped these new T&C's on us which do have a massive financial impact on my family - another £400 per year - with no consultation. In addition we already had a set of T&C's that did not reserve the right for them to be changed at will!

I think you'll find that the PSLA relies of full time working mums like me to pay for childcare so that it can deliver targetted and cheaper 'Children's Centre' services at those that are less well off and likely vulnerable. Without the fees of those of us that rely on the service for full time day care so that we can go out and earn money they really will be in financial difficulties.

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