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Free hours and flexibility

(10 Posts)
OftheUppahUplands Thu 06-Jul-17 12:46:45

I was hoping someone might be able to help me unpick this nursery policy - I should probably preface the query with the fact that this is for DS1 who's been at home with me until now.

We're only planning to take up the free 15 hours provision at our LA nursery which we really like. However, when we viewed the nursery and talked to the head we explained that we'd like it to coincide with me finding work (I was made redundant on mat leave and DS health has meant that going back wasn't a priority). Obviously it'd depend on finding something but we specifically wanted the 15 hours over 2 days as even if I can't fiind a part time position then I could freelance and offer 2 fixed days to work. This would also mean that DS could continue with swimming and a weekly study group I go to. DH and I felt this would strike a balance between time at home and time in the nursery setting, whilst meaning that he sees his other friends and continues learning to swim.

We started settling in days this week and have been told that the offer for 2 full days has been removed. He can only do his 15 hours split over 5 mornings (8.30-11.30) or afternoons (1-3). They can offer me 30 hours provision as I'll be seeking work, but I don't want DS in nursery for 30 hours and would rather that place went to someone who did want it. Now 3 hours a day is not going to enable me to find work which is our first practical problem. The second (albeit lesser issue, but still enough to make me sad) being that it also means swimming and study group have to go as I don't think he'll have dropped his nap by September, so afternoons are out.

I understand the restrictions of funding and policy all to well due to a former career in local government and social care services. But I'm torn and unsure whether I press this - I don't want to upset anyone, but am at a bit of a loss with just how badly this would support us as a family. Of course DS comes first and if we can't make a change then we'll just go with this, I'm just a bit frustrated.

Have other people faced this as a difficulty and if you have struck a balance, how have you managed it? I suspect it's going to be another year of watching purse strings until DS is in reception, but was just hoping for some respite from that side of life.

OP’s posts: |
FineAsWeAre Thu 06-Jul-17 19:42:18

I'm not sure that pressing it would make any difference, if that's what they offer that's it. All the children who have funded hours at the nursery I work at have to attend at set times. It's quite common and I think will become more so with funding cuts and the introduction of the 30 hours. Can you look at other settings?

Rosti1981 Thu 06-Jul-17 20:23:47

Could you not take some of those 30 hours, as I understand the policy is supposed to be "up to 30 hours" anyway? Would that work, say if it counted as you taking half a full-time place but not all of it. This may be a ridiculous idea but just throwing it out there!

HSMMaCM Thu 06-Jul-17 20:30:09

Agreed with PP. can you take 20 of your 30 hours over 2 days? Ask them what might work.

Waggamamma Thu 06-Jul-17 20:32:01

That's how it works my area (although Scotland so funding is different). We have 8:30-11:30 or 12:30-3:30 sessions at a school based nursery. If they do offer other sessions then they need to be paid for. Or you use a private day nursery and pay a daily rate and for-go the free hours.

KimKardashiansArse Thu 06-Jul-17 20:50:18

Same here. I started a thread about it. The government promised 30 hours of free "FLEXIBLE" childcare and we get this. angry.

I only need 22 hours a week and the way my nursery has implemented this means I only get 12 of those free.

I'm going to ask my employer if I can change my hours to do an hour and a half each morning and afternoon, five days a week. hmm

KimKardashiansArse Thu 06-Jul-17 20:52:28

Term time only obviously because nobody with a 3 or 4 year old works in the school holidays. hmm

glenthebattleostrich Thu 06-Jul-17 21:00:48

I understand it is frustrating for parents but it is simply not affordable to be flexible. The funding doesn't cover costs so compromises have to be made somewhere.

Personally, I am increasing rates for all across the board, introducing meal charges and cutting back on the classes we go to because otherwise I can't accept funded places.

OftheUppahUplands Fri 07-Jul-17 12:59:33

Thank you so much everyone, it's been really useful to hear back from people - @glenthebattleostrich I guessed that the funding would be insufficient, and I suppose that as someone accepting a funded place who simply can't afford to top up, our needs do become extraneous to what can actually be provided. It's such a shame when the funding is supposed to support people back to work. But I totally hear your point, and was reading the thread the other day about the same thing so please don't think I'm being unsympathetic.

I didn't know about the 30 hours potentially being an 'up to' 30 @Rosti1981 - that discussion sounds eminently worth having.

@Fineasweare Other settings don't seem to make sense without a job offer - if that changes then the right childminder for the 15 hours might be exactly what we need. That said, I completely agree that nursery attendance will help start get him ready for school, which is essential - especially having a summer birthday and some ongoing health issues. I'd just hoped that we could fit that in with what's important for him and us.

OP’s posts: |
SheRaaarghPrincessOfPower Fri 07-Jul-17 13:06:28

You could see if a local private nursery will split it differently. Ours averages the hours out over the whole year, and is equivalent to one full day every week, all year round.

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