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Someone explain the free 15 hours a week to me please

(13 Posts)
TrinaLuciusMalfoy Tue 16-Aug-11 12:43:06

As I'm getting less than helpful responses from the people I'm speaking to!

I'm on maternity leave and DD1 is eligible for the grant from September (turns 3 on Friday), so I'm wanting to get her set up somewhere to give me some time with just DD2 and to give DD1 some time with kids her age and away from boring old me! I can't take her to the nursery she was at before I stopped work as it's a good 30 min drive (and then some).

I asked the first place I rang if she could do a full day, they said yes but she'd only get £18 off the cost of the day and I'd need to shell out £30+ for this 'free' childcare. The second place I rang said they only do the places from 8-11am and 3-6pm on Monday and Friday! (And I couldn't ring them up and ask, I have to put a request for a place in writing confused) I spoke to the FIS and they said 'oh, you need to speak to so-and-so, but she's not here', but they gave the names of some other places - with the caveat that 'it's the summer holidays, most of them will be shut so you won't get through to anyone'. My local SureStart centre is also shut until after the Bank Holiday.

How is this SUPPOSED to work, is everywhere this inflexible? Have I just left it far too late to get her in for September and should I just start trying to get her a place for January?

SenoritaViva Tue 16-Aug-11 16:54:51

This might help www.direct.gov.uk/en/Parents/Preschooldevelopmentandlearning/NurseriesPlaygroupsReceptionClasses/DG_10016103

And you can try calling FIS. Some nurseries may have a limit on the free schooling e.g. certain time slots for the claimed hours and private payment for other slots (it could be to do with staffing etc.) For instance my daughter's preschool only had morning slots so you might not find them to quite as flexible.

SenoritaViva Tue 16-Aug-11 16:58:45

Many preschools will be closed over the summer, really it is nurseries that are open at the moment. If you cannot find somewhere it doesn't stop you looking when they open in September but your daughter, if they have places she can start a little later. Don't be surprised however, if many of them are full.

inmysparetime Wed 17-Aug-11 07:04:53

The way it should work is that you can take only the 15 hours childcare from any participating provider. In practice that rarely happens though, most places take the free bit off your fees because offering just the free bit is business suicide, it costs far more than the government rate to provide quality care.
Have you thought of starting him at school nursery? He should be old enough.

inmysparetime Wed 17-Aug-11 07:05:25

Oops, herblush

elliepac Wed 17-Aug-11 07:44:17

Dd turned 3 in Feb. From April to July she went to pre-school attached to a private nursery from 9-12 every morning. From September she will be going to the local school's nursery for 5 mornings. Would that be an option?

TrinaLuciusMalfoy Wed 17-Aug-11 19:59:50

It would - if I could get a sensible answer from the FIS about pre-school places. Nobody I've spoken to seems to have a clue confused

SenoritaViva Thu 18-Aug-11 07:54:12

Have you looked on the Ofsted website and typed in your postcode? This will give you a comprehensive list of all the preschools and the reports should describe the type of setting etc. that the preschool offers.

Basically if your child has a funded session covered by the government the preschool receives £3.85 p/h. Some nurseries charge more than this per hour to cover their costs and so I expect they'd want the child to be enrolled for more than the 15 hours? (Not sure about this).

If you are not looking for childcare as such (because of work etc. which make it more about him having to be somewhere whilst you are working) but rather making use of the 15 hours for your son's enrichment then I would really investigate the preschools attached to schools but they will be closed right now so you won't be getting any advice from them.

Again another link that might define things a bit for you.

www.direct.gov.uk/en/Parents/Preschooldevelopmentandlearning/index.htm

You are welcome to PM me if needs be.

TrinaLuciusMalfoy Thu 18-Aug-11 14:03:56

Thanks.

Little confused why people think I have a son though confused

inmysparetime Thu 18-Aug-11 15:14:25

Sorry, that was me, typing while talking to DS.

TrinaLuciusMalfoy Thu 18-Aug-11 15:52:43

And Senorita! Compounded by the HV ringing up to ask me to bring my son into clinic - our surname is a boy's name, she thought it was 'his' name...

joEebs Sat 20-Aug-11 18:37:33

Hi, As a nursery provider because the money that the Government provides is so low= £3.66 per hour we offer only certain times and sessions. If you are flexible with your hours you shouldn't have a problem finding somewhere as it is a condition of the code of practice that nurseries have to be flexible. For example we offer any afternoon or a Monday/Friday all day or any session. Unfortunately the funding does not cover the price of childcare which makes it difficult for a lot of nurseries. What area are you in?

TrinaLuciusMalfoy Mon 22-Aug-11 08:56:50

I'm in Milton Keynes. Health visitor has sent me a list of pre-schools, so there's my job for today!

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