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Nursery charging top up fee.

(36 Posts)
Snsausage686 Wed 09-Oct-19 18:50:25

I'm on the committee as a trustee and secretary for my local preschool.
Our manager has recently expressed she wants to introduce a top up fee.
By this I mean that the government offer £4 per child per hour for children funded at 15 or 3o hours.
She wants to then charge parents the difference to our normal hourly rate.
So for us, we charge £7 per hour so parents would be paying £3 per hour or £9 per 3 hourly session even if their child gets 15 or 30 hours free childcare.

I, from a trustee point of view think brilliant, extra money coming in.
As a parent, I would struggle to pay the extra they are wanting to charge and would actually reduce my child's hours because of it.

What I want to know is firstly is this allowed? Can they do it? I can't find a definitive answer online.

And secondly, would you as a parent be willing to pay that?
We are already struggling as we are a charity run preschool so this was an option to bring in extra money but I feel it may have the opposite affect, pushing parents elsewhere because they have to pay more.
Thanks for reading!

OP’s posts: |
Icedlatte Wed 09-Oct-19 18:51:46

Yes it's extremely common. Usually phrased as being a charge for meals/nappies etc

Coffeeandchocolate9 Wed 09-Oct-19 18:53:25

Crikey. So 15/30 hours of funded childcare doesn't mean funded at all??

Todaythiscouldbe Wed 09-Oct-19 18:53:53

You can't charge a 'top up' but can charge for extras, like food, drinks, hours outside of funded sessions etc.

RandomMess Wed 09-Oct-19 18:56:00

Not allowed to charge a top up but are allowed to charge for snacks, additional hours, craft materials etc.

Snsausage686 Wed 09-Oct-19 19:09:29

Hm interesting, thanks for the feedback.
It will make a huge difference to the running of the preschool if we do introduce additional fees however my recently paid bill for the first half term would increase from £66 to £387 for nothing extra and I simply cannot afford that 😭😭😭

OP’s posts: |
RandomMess Wed 09-Oct-19 19:13:36

I have to say that her proposal is £3 per hour is just too much. Why are their costs so high???

Are you a member of the pre-school alliance? You may be eligible for some grants.

How much are staff being paid? What are their child to staff ratios like? It doesn't sound as though they are sustainable as a business.

pumkinseason Wed 09-Oct-19 21:05:52

This is very common but isn't called top up, in the nursery we attended it covered extra lessons and meals.
The government doesn't give nurseries enough money to run on.

Pointof0return Wed 09-Oct-19 21:13:46

Oh no... I naively thought the funded hours were actually that. I have been absolutely banking on this to relieve financial pressure on us once dc are 3.

This is awful news.

MyDcAreMarvel Wed 09-Oct-19 21:17:37

It’s depends on the Nursery , our top up is just £2 a day for lunch and £2 per week ( no matter how many days you do) for snack. It’s called club fee.

pumkinseason Wed 09-Oct-19 21:21:13

I seem to remember that funded hours also only covered school terms, so the funding was prorated to give coverage for the full year. Don't know if that has changed?

Stayawayfromitsmouth Wed 09-Oct-19 21:28:04

I get charged £2 extra per session at my sons charity run preschool. Sessions are morn and afternoon so £4 per day. Ostensibly to cover snacks, craft materials and sundries. They're upfront about the charge and that it is the flat fee. No other surprises. My elder sons nursery charged all sorts of hidden extras.

TiredandHangry Wed 09-Oct-19 21:28:55

It's why they are no longer allowed to call it 'free childcare' when children hit a certain age. Funding for nurseries and childminders has been capped while minimum wage and running costs keep rising, so funding no longer covers staff wages as well as all the other expenses. It is completely crippling some nurseries.

HoneysuckIejasmine Wed 09-Oct-19 21:32:57

point the preschool my kids go to is completely free if using funded hours, bar an annual snack fee of £20.

ColdTattyWaitingForSummer Wed 09-Oct-19 21:33:08

Honestly I don’t know the legal ins or outs but I think it sounds like a really rubbish thing to do to parents, and I think a lot will leave if you do it.

RandomMess Wed 09-Oct-19 21:33:16

It's a disgrace, it's the local council that sets the rate, some give out far more than £4 per hour!

Realistically it's forcing childcare providers to employ apprentices and under 21s just to make ends meet.

nogooddeedgoesunpunished Wed 09-Oct-19 21:39:37

I pay £12 a day for food. I'm always pleased when he's ate x2 for lunch and tea ! It's clearly not £12 for food but the difference between the money received for the 'free hours' and the actual cost of the nursery place. It helps but in no way is it 30 free hours which I naively thought it would be. Can't blame the provider really

WingingWonder Wed 09-Oct-19 21:41:01

I pay extra £15.75 a day - 1.75 hour for the ‘free’ days- this includes food

RandomMess Wed 09-Oct-19 21:42:24

I think an extra £1-£2 per hour is the usual £3 per hour is just too high and too unaffordable.

Velveteenfruitbowl Wed 09-Oct-19 21:43:20

I would happily pay that (and think that it was a bargain) but some families would struggle. Maybe do a means tested fee?

Gizmo79 Wed 09-Oct-19 21:48:16

Is this for real? There was me thinking that I could actually start repaying my debts after paying £1250 a month for childcare.
So what exactly am I going to be paying- obviously not 30 hours less per week.

siriusblackthemischieviouscat Wed 09-Oct-19 21:48:33

Admittedly my children were in nursery 6 years ago but basically when they became eligible for the 12 hrs free i think ot was then, our nursery just gave us £2.50x12 off our bill. We paid by the full day, you couldn't pay hourly - i think it was £30 a day and they were there 2 days so basically it was half price reduction.

Tfoot75 Wed 09-Oct-19 21:53:35

You need to know what your competitors are charging. Where I live preschools running school hours for 6 hours per day are completely free. Nurseries providing childcare for working parents charge large top up fees (however they are badged). I pay £3 per day lunch fee for 6.5 hours termtime in a school nursery. Private preschool my dd previously attended was completely free for 6 hour daily session termtime (employing experienced qualified staff but running from a church hall)

Littlefish Wed 09-Oct-19 21:56:14

@Gizmo It is up to each setting gmw they choose to administer the 15/30 hours. They can choose to offer it, for example, for 6 hours per day, but only between 7am and 1pm, meaning that if you need care in the afternoon, you will have to pay for it, and it will be at the full rate.

Or, the setting may only offer a certain number of funded places. They do not have to offer funded places to everyone.

Or, they offer the funded hours, but charge an additional service/sundries fee for food, nappies, wipes, art materials, learning journeys, yoga, forest school, cooking ingredients etc. It is perfectly legitimate to charge for this type of sundries and services as they are not covered by the government funding.

Every setting is different, so it's important to find out exactly what's on offer at your preferred setting.

Apple40 Wed 09-Oct-19 21:57:12

This is very common here but not called a top up it’s a charge to cover, food, craft, consumables extra hours etc Sadly with out these charges nurseries, childminders, pre schools are going under due the insulting amount the government pays for funded hours. Even with these charges patents are still getting a bargain. I know where where a parent can get the 30 hours total free at a way that works for them ( hours a days they want)

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