Private nursery, school nursery confusion!

(9 Posts)
badfurday Fri 29-Jan-16 09:33:42

My nearly 2 year old is in a private nursery, the nursery is not linked to a school. From what I understand, she should go to a school nursery at 3? Or get a place for a school nursery. This is not really ideal as I work full time.

The current nursery she is in has children from 6 months to 5 years.
Will her staying in private nursery until school age have any impact? I'm a bit worried being in a nursery not linked to a school wont be ideal for when she moves up to school. Does anyone have any experience of this?

Also, will she get the 15 hours free nursery for a private nursery, or is this for a school nursery only?

Finally, when do I apply for schools for her?
I really have no idea about all this sort of stuff, its only when a colleague mentioned it to me earlier!

Any help appreciated!

mouldycheesefan Fri 29-Jan-16 09:39:07

She can stay where she is or move to a school nursery. For working parents school,nurseries are not always ideal as they are usually 9-3 and shut in school hols.
Yes you can use the 15 hours in private nursery but remember it is only for 38 weeks of the year.
Many children never attend a school nursery. Also, attending the school nursery doesn't mean that you would get a place at that school, could get a place at a different school.
You apply to school via te council in the appropriate year look on their website for information. They won't write to you or send you a form you find out and do it yourself.

Thurlow Fri 29-Jan-16 09:48:16

Deep breath! I had the same panic, it made no sense to me either blush

Private nurseries have different rules about the funding, but most will take it. There are lots of different ways that they take the 15 hours term time funding off your bill, so you do need to talk to them about it. Ours seems to not want the hassle of working it out so they just average it out over the year and take the average off your monthly bill. Other private nurseries might charge you £X minus the funding during the term-time, but then £X during the holidays when there is funding.

Some 'school' nurseries also offer what's called wraparound care. This can vary a lot. One of the places near us offers wraparound care during school hours, which isn't enormously helpful. Another place offers wraparound care from 8-6 - essentially the same as a full-time private nursery.

It can get quite confusing so I would do a little research now into the local 'school' nurseries and then check their website or email them to find out if they offer wraparound care too. However, don't say anything to your private nursery until you get your places at school and wraparound care as sometimes a few things need to fall into place at the same time.

For example, our nearest school nursery offers two 3-hour sessions every day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. These are the free, funded hours. They also offer private wraparound care on the same premises from 8-6. There are (annoyingly) two different things. So you had to apply to the council and hope to get allotted the morning slot at the school nursery. Then you had to see if the private wraparound care had space for your DC from 8-9am, and from 12-6pm.

Did my head in - and we cocked up on the application (as in, they'd already filled the waiting list for the private wraparound care places before the school nursery had even held it's open days hmm).

Essentially, though, it would be rare for your private nursery not to take the funding, and I imagine you'll be able to just carry on with your full-time place with some decrease in your fees. Do remember to ask them what they do in the 'pre-school' room though. There should be some move to 3-4 year olds being introduced to a little bit of education, with some phonics and writing and numbers. I wouldn't worry too much about your DC not going to the nursery linked to the school - loads of children won't, it won't make a difference when they all start in reception. What's more important is good care at a place everyone is happy with.

You'll get letters from the council telling you when to start applying for places, but your local council website will tell you the dates too.

Oriunda Fri 29-Jan-16 09:50:41

You can keep your DD in the private nursery - usually they will have a preschool department that they move up to when they're 3. Lots of my friends work so have opted to keep their children in the private nurseries and they're all doing fine. Some people opt to send their children to school-attached preschools and the children then go back to their nursery for the remainder of the day. In that case, the free hours are claimed by the school pre-school and it's quite usual for the nursery to still charge you for a full day, especially as it would be their staff taking to and collecting your child from the school.

They should give you a form to complete re the 15 hours/week free that they will then claim back from the govt - your nursery fees should then reduce accordingly. Note this usually happens the term after your child turns 3, not automatically on their 3rd birthday, as the schools and nurseries have to hand in headcount/free hours forms at the start of each school term.

Your daughter will start school the school year that she turns 5. So, assuming she was born from September 2014 onwards, I'm guessing she would start school in Sept 2018. You'd have from Sept/Oct 2017 until end Jan 2018 to apply.

Oriunda Fri 29-Jan-16 09:54:10

Oh, and in our area, applying for school pre-school places is nothing to do with the council. You apply directly to each individual school. Check your council's website for each school's own website and acceptance criteria. My local school accepted applications from the child's 2nd birthday (I literally dropped the form in that day) so, if you're thinking about this, not a bad idea to get the ball rolling soon.

badfurday Fri 29-Jan-16 10:23:52

Ahhh, thanks everyone!
This all makes sense now.
Her current nursery is great, so I was not keen on moving her anyway. I just hated the idea of her suddenly starting school and there being a class load of children who all knew each other and her an outsider!. Its good to know that she wont be the only one. I work long hours 7-5 so the school nursery sounds like it wouldn't be ideal. Also I didn't know that they may not necessarily get a school place just because they attended the school nursery (seems crazy!)
I'll ask about the 15 hours next time I see the manager just for clarification. although some way off yet. I'll also ask what they do in the 3-4 year old room.

Again, thanks everyone.

Monkeymonstermum Sat 30-Jan-16 10:08:39

If you have a very good private nursery that had teachers in the 'pre-school' groups then I think it can be better to keep them st nursery as the ratios of staff to children are higher than a true state pre-school. Eg our nursery for 24 children has 3 nursery nurses plus fully qualified primary teacher in the finial room before they go to school. It's a particularly good nursery and I would NEVER think about putting them in a state pre-school/nursery sooner having seen the options out there personally (but obv different in different areas).
Also, often the state pre-schools work on much shorter hours and term time only so much less convenient for working parents.
In terms of settling into school - I guess if they go straight from the school pre-school into reception they may be happier the first day but most children settle within a week or so anyway (and you will just have had that initial settling in week when you first move them into the pre-school).
In fact, we even looked at a private prep school pre-prep and it was not a PATCH on our nursery - far fewer resources and just didn't have the same lovely feel without nursery nurses there. They will grow up soon enough when they go to school (And my son has achieved a reading age of 5.3 by the age of 4 at a private nursery so would argue the education can be just as good/better).
Good luck with the decision though - good to have choices! Xx

Muskateersmummy Sat 30-Jan-16 10:12:09

My dd will be staying in private nursery right up until she starts primary school. The 1st choice school doesn't have a nursery attached and so I couldn't see the point in moving her (especially as it's less convenient when you work full time!). Our private nursery provide her 15 free hours so no problems in keeping her there until school.

ShinyShinyShiny Sat 30-Jan-16 10:23:20

DS will be staying at his private nursery until he starts school. Our preferred school doesn't have a nursery but even if it did I wouldn't want to move him as a) I need full time childcare and b) it's a brilliant nursery.

Our nursery had an exodus of children in September as their parents thought that moving them to nurseries attached to a school would increase their chances of getting in despite our council website making it very clear that this absolutely not the case.

We will get our funded hours the term after DS turns 3 and our nursery averages it out across the year so we pay the same every month rather than less during term time and more during the holidays.

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