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Do nurseries have limited funded sessions?

(16 Posts)
MATB1 Wed 19-Nov-14 09:13:08

DD1 gets her funding from January. Her nursery is open 8-6 with the morning session being 8-1, and the afternoon being 1-6. They've said that their funded sessions are 9-12 and 1:30-4:30.

I had a call from nursery this morning asking if, come January, we could swap some sessions around (they know I'm on mat leave with DD2 so don't need childcare for work).

I said that the current days work for me so would prefer to stick to them.

They said that's fine, no problem but in future they may have to stipulate what days children can attend for funded only sessions but made a point of saying that they weren't enforcing this for me like it was a bloody favour

I'm due back to work in the summer but don't yet know what hours I'll be doing but will need to put both DDs in. Now I'm worried that the funding won't be available for the sessions I choose for DD1, is that possible? Gulp.

They are a very small nursery with only 23 children in total (5 of those are in the baby room).

Does anyone know how funded spaces are allocated? Does the nursery get to choose how many funded spaces they offer or are they limited on a ratio set by the authorities?

BitterHoneyGreenNight Wed 19-Nov-14 11:56:37

It entirely depends on the nursery. They can decide what their funded sessions are and how many funded spaces they offer.

TouchOfNatural Wed 19-Nov-14 14:54:23

Private nurseries who do offer sessions are actually running at a loss in many areas on those days (especially London nurseries).. They are not obligated to run them at all. They've probably done their budget for ext term and realise they need more fee paying children at certain sessions to cover staff costs etc. so would ask you as you are deemed to have more flexibility than a parents who works in an office.

insancerre Wed 19-Nov-14 15:18:19

The nursery is free to offer the funded sessions however they want as long as they keep to the funding agreement
By offering the funded session they are effectively taking a loss on the place as they can't reclaim the costs between the opening hours and the funded sessions
It is more noticeable in a smaller setting where they haven't got the space to play with
So they can limit the loss by onlyoffering so many free places

MATB1 Thu 20-Nov-14 08:07:59

Bugger. Ok thanks.

Crazy that the govt only funds such a small amount. Surely the funding should be attached to the child to make this scheme truly fair? Grr.

LIZS Thu 20-Nov-14 08:11:47

It is attached to the child, every one is entitled to 15 hours of funded education, but the nursery can dictate when those education sessions are offered. It will affect staffing, timetabling etc.

Floundering Thu 20-Nov-14 08:17:32

The restrictions placed on nurseries on how funded sessions are run and provided is so prohibitive that their hands are often tied.

When it first started most just took the cost of the funded hours off the weekly/monthly bill.

Now the actual funded hours have to be identified and ringfenced which totally withdraws the flexibility they could previously offer to individual families.

MATB1 Thu 20-Nov-14 18:35:17

I get that it sucks for nurseries but it will also suck for me if we don't get to make use of the funding that my daughter is entitled to.

LIZS Thu 20-Nov-14 20:24:46

Not sure I get what you are saying . If you choose 5 of their defined sessions you will get to use the funding.

insancerre Fri 21-Nov-14 07:05:32

But its not free childcare its free education
If you need childcare to enable you to work then you will have to pay the going rate
The nursery is offering you 15 hours its not their fault the hours are inconvenient for you

MATB1 Fri 21-Nov-14 08:44:08

If I pit my daughter in for a morning session 8-1, we can have the funding of £12.24 deducted from the morning session cost of £31 but only if they have funded place available during that session. They may have places for 10 children that morning but only 7 of those are funded places so if the 7 funded places are already taken up, we'll still pay the full £31 and won't ^be able^make use of the entitlement there.

Totally get it's meant for free early years education and not childcare but it still sucks that we might not benefit from this. Great if you're a SAHP with the ability to pick and choose from a wide range of preschools with funded places but as a working parent with limited suitable childcare it feels like a double blow to be honest.

LIZS Fri 21-Nov-14 08:46:12

You can also use it with child-minders, nurseries , private schools, registered nannies etc , perhaps worth looking at alternative options which might be more flexible for you.

MATB1 Fri 21-Nov-14 19:10:52

Possibly yes. Though DD is v happy where she is and the whole set up works v well for us. Other than this issue. Fingers crossed she can get funded sessions when I go back to work!

Pico2 Fri 21-Nov-14 19:53:46

That sounds a bit dodgy, only in that they deduct the funding they get from your bill, rather than giving you free hours. I'd expect them to take about £18 off your bill. But that is dependent on things like how you pay for lunch and breakfast if provided.

TouchOfNatural Sat 22-Nov-14 21:18:04

There are simply not enough funded places available... Because the funding is simply not enough for private nurseries/childminders to survive on and so they're very limited in what they can offer.

It sucks for both parents (who re entitled to it) and providers (who are not entitled to give it if private) and there's a big call for the govt to pay providers more. So they can offer more funded sessions.

You can choose from a variety of state/private nurseries and also childminders. Nurseries cannot change the way they operate to suit each family's needs.. They operate in the most sustainable way or them. So if your current nursery doesn't offer what you need as a family then best look elsewhere. Thy are under no obligation to change the way they do things.

MATB1 Sun 23-Nov-14 19:14:53

I'm not expecting then to change what they do. They suit us the best out of the other options locally to us so I shall just have to cross fingers tightly that we get a funded place.

Totally agree that the government needs to up it's game in this respect.

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