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Nursery Education Fund/Grant - why am I still being charged?

(17 Posts)
glamourbadger Thu 03-Sep-09 18:33:02

My daughter is eligible for the Nursery Education Grant starting this term. I have looked on my LEA website and it says my borough pays for 15 hours a week. She does exactly 15 hours a week over 4 days so I assumed her playgroup would be free.

I've just received a playgroup invoice for the coming month and they are charging me £170/month. It says on the letter this takes into account the grant.

Does anyone know how the Nursery Education Grant works and why I'm still being charged? I am going to in have a chat about this tomorrow but just wondered if I am missing something?

cheers!

LIZS Thu 03-Sep-09 18:39:32

It may well be a max of 3 hours per "session" so if your 15 hours work sout at more than that at a time you may only benefit from 12 hours(4x3hrs) of funding and be charged for the additional time and any snacks/lunch. Still seems a lot though.

happystory Thu 03-Sep-09 18:42:34

That's a heck of a lot even if Lizs is right (and I think she is) What's the daily rate? (if you're not funded?)

lynniep Thu 03-Sep-09 18:44:05

You are going to have to speak to the playgroup about it - they are the only ones who know how it works for them.

Does she do the 4 days all year round? (my private nursery spreads the funding over the 50 weeks a year they are open, so you dont ever get a week free but you dont get bigger bills some months either)

As lizs says it may be max hours per session as well.

Maybe they werent aware that she had become eligible (or dont do anything unless you specifically say so)

Sorry not more help

LIZS Thu 03-Sep-09 18:45:27

or if it is pricey anyway there may be a local limit paid per hour

glamourbadger Thu 03-Sep-09 19:02:40

I pay £17 for a 4 hour session (so £4.25/hr). Admittedly this month's invoice is for 5 weeks so higher than usual. I can't fathom it, whichever way I work it out doesn't make sense! I'll talk it through with them tomorrow...

nurseryvoice Thu 03-Sep-09 21:04:38

Possibly cos the free sessions dont start til next week? so you will have been charged for this week?

happystory Fri 04-Sep-09 09:14:20

I've had a little think about this. It's likely you can only claim for 3 hours a day, therefore you only get 12 hours funding a week. 4 days X £17 is £68. The funding might only be about £10 for the 3 hours, therefore £40-ish for the week. £68 - £40 = £28.Times that by 5 weeks you get £140, so my funding amount is probably out a bit (varies from area to area)but you get the idea?

I don't think it's explained to parents that unless the session is 3 hours (still 2.5 here!) and the cost of the session matches the funding amount exactly, only then is it completely free. And most pre-schols can't afford to run on just the funding amount so add on top.

gingernutlover Fri 04-Sep-09 20:11:28

i thought you were allowed to claim no more than 2 sessions per day?

midnightexpress Fri 04-Sep-09 20:22:34

Ours is only for 2.5 hours per session (a session being 4 hours), and you don't get anything in the holidays, so presumably (if you're in England) you won't get anything till the schools go back. We also pay up front as normal and get a cheque at the end of each term for the funding.

Our nursery give us a calendar (just one piece of paper) each term in which each funded session is marked so that we can check it very easily. If yours doesn't do that already, it might be worth suggesting it?

danthe4th Fri 04-Sep-09 23:02:50

Some areas work on 5 x 2.5hr or 3hr sessions and I think its only £7.70ish per session the allowance so you have to make that up and its only term time.

plonker Sun 06-Sep-09 00:47:24

Hmmm, not sure. You really need to seek clarification from the playgroup.

Are you sure that all settings in your borough are offering the 15hrs rather than the standard 12.5hrs?

Some boroughs have pilot settings offering the extended entitlement and if your setting isn't offering this it would maybe explain the high costs. That said, £170 a month does seem very high for just 15hours a week and kind of makes me think there has been some error in calculation.

Have you spoken to the playgroup yet?

happystory

"I don't think it's explained to parents that unless the session is 3 hours (still 2.5 here!) and the cost of the session matches the funding amount exactly, only then is it completely free. And most pre-schols can't afford to run on just the funding amount so add on top."

This isn't true happystory, settings aren't allowed to do this. The funded session has to be free at the point of delivery. The playgroup/nursery can charge for 'over and above' the funded session ie. an extra half hour/lunch etc, but cannot ask for top-ups on the grant from govt.
If the settings' session is worth more than the govt will pay, the setting has to run the session at a loss.

MumDL Wed 30-Sep-09 19:45:06

My son has attended private nursery in Glasgow since he was 10 months. He turned 3 in June and is now entitled to pre-school funding 12.5 hours per week. However, the nursery insists on payments up front meaning my monthly fees are still £520. I will not receive any money back until November. The City Council advise that there are no rules to say that nurseries cannot do this. In the meantime Tax Credits have advised that since we are now entitled to the free sessions from the Council we are no longer entitled to the same tax credits from them. As a result of this I can no longer afford to send him to nursery. It is outrageous that a scheme to help parents is actually causing me financial hardship. Can any advise/assist?

Washersaurus Wed 30-Sep-09 19:53:29

We had to fill in a form in order to obtain our funded hours at nursery for DS1 - our nursery gave us the paperwork to fill in.

I don't think I'd continue using a nursery that charged me for the hours we were entitled to have free! Do they pay you interest on the return of your money?

MumDL Wed 30-Sep-09 20:02:13

No, they gave us a poor excuse that they have not received the cheque from the City Council as yet and that once they do it will take 4 weeks to process and get back to us. I spoke to someone senior at the Council and they seemed to think that this was common and not against the rules. I don't want to move him when he's settled there....

Foxy800 Thu 01-Oct-09 07:19:15

My dd's pre school runs for 3 hours a day but she is only funded for 2.5 hours a day so we have to pay a top up of £4.30 a session. NOt sure if that will help you though.

othermillie Tue 27-Oct-09 16:33:18

Just rang our Local Authority - Surrey - about this exact same thing. DS does 2 full nursery days (8-6pm being the full day) and will be eligible for 10 hours per week paid for by the early years free hours system according to them, which is 2.5 hours for each morning or afternoon: 2 days = 4 sessions x 2.5 hrs. That makes up the 10 hrs (still with me?!). Apparently I have to ask the nursery to give me a Parental Registration Form, which the nursery sends to the LA. They process it and advise the nursery how much the value of my 10 hours per week will be. This should then be deducted from our monthly bill and we pay the difference.

So providing they haven't given me duff info (and the LA wouldn't give me any figures on what this monetary value would be) I'm looking on it as any saving will be a bonus. We're 100% happy with the nursery, which is a private business and not a government funded enterprise so I totally understand that we will still be paying something towards her care: sooner that than they go out of business and we have to find somewhere else in this Bermuda Triangle of childcare facilities I live in! The most painful part is trying to unpick the vague explanation of how it works on the Directgov website!

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