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Can anyone advise me on how early years vouchers work?

(12 Posts)
ninah Wed 29-Jun-05 16:32:18

I am thinking of cutting down ds's sessions at nursery when I have ds/dd2 in December. He currently goes fulltime, and we pay about 650-700 per month.
Ds is 3 in September. I'm told that to take full advantage of the early year's vouchers I need to book 5 sessions a week, and that the vouchers add up to about £1200 pa. This doesn't seem to make sense to me, maybe I am just in pregnant brain mode, but I can't see how the figures add up. Anyone know how this works - are the vouchers given direct to nursery, for instance? I'll be on mat leave so need to maximise any cash I can get hold of

jamiesam Wed 29-Jun-05 16:35:29

Err, a bit vague here too, but basically, the vouchers will pay for five sessions of 2.5 hrs each. So you can book five 'half' days, or use two sessions together plus a small bung from you to make up a whole day, or however you like... The vouchers won't cover feeding times you see, so you'd be paying for breakfast/lunch/afternoon teas times...

ninah Wed 29-Jun-05 16:37:38

They pay for the sessions in entirety then, regardless of cost of session? sounds great, was wondering how I'd manage with two at home full-time, and now I know!

northerner Wed 29-Jun-05 16:44:16

Yes - your ds can go to nursery for 5 x 2.5 hour sessions and ot won't cost you a penny! However, if he's in a private nursery (and I suspect he is) you can't just send them for 2.5 hours a day. So he'd have to go full days and you'd pay the difference. Or you could find a state nursery and send him there. But do check out he will be eligible though. My ds was 3 in April, but we don't get funding till September as it applies only to the school term after they turn 3.

nannynick Wed 29-Jun-05 16:46:20

Tamside Council have a handy little guide about the Nursery Education Grant - here .

It is for up to 5 sessions (session = 2.5 hours) per week, for 33 weeks per year.

The money is paid directly to the childcare provider, so as a parent you never see it.

The provider will use the money to fund your child's place, or part-fund it if their fees are higher than the grant itself.

You CAN split the grant between providers (contact your local council EYDCP for details as it may vary), so for example, you could book only 3 sessions a week, and then use 2 sessions with say a Network Childminder, or local pre-school.

I'm surprised that the nursery is saying that you HAVE to book 5 sessions a week. This must be their own policy, as does not appear to be the case with other providers.

Hope that is of some help.

ninah Wed 29-Jun-05 17:04:04

thanks very much indeed everyone. Yes, northener, it is private but they do morning/pm sessions, but I'd imagine sending him 2 days per week in any case. You're right, it is the term after he's 3 but this will coincide with baby arriving, blimey looks better planned than I thought!
Thanks for the link nannyn! that's very helpful. they are not insiting on 5 sessions just advised this is best way to get most out of grant.

lucy01 Thu 30-Jun-05 09:28:48

ninah,

double check with the nursery/council about the number of sessions. the general guide is that the vouchers are for 5 sessions a week for 11 weeks a term (ie 55 sessions a term) but there is something (I think on the surestart website) that states this is flexible and councils should take into account working patterns etc. dd1 goes 4 am's a week and we get the grant bec it's a private nursery and the terms are longers (ie 4 sessions a week over 14 weeks).

worth checking and don't take no for an answer.

if you want i'll try and find the link.

ninah Thu 30-Jun-05 09:40:09

thanks lucy, that would be really helpful. Ours is a private nursery run by a University so the term times run with the Uni terms, maybe this would make a difference too. Appreciate it
Ninah

northerner Thu 30-Jun-05 09:43:08

Lucy if you could find that link that would be great. I got the paperwork from ds's nursery yesterday, and tbh it's a tad confusing! He goes for 4 sessions, and we get funding per term, which they say is 11 weeks. So if I can stretch it to 14 weeks all the better for me

lucy01 Thu 30-Jun-05 10:06:38

here goes (not the best at technology though!)

link{http://www.surestart.gov.uk/_doc/P0000305.pdf

its on the surestart website but i typed "nursery eduction grant" + 14 weeks into google and it came up at the top of the fourth or so page. have downloaded it so if anybody wants it email me on lucy . shrimpton @ kpmg . co. uk and i will send it over.

ninah Thu 30-Jun-05 10:13:22

Lucy - thanks!

lucy01 Thu 30-Jun-05 10:15:09

sorry that didn't work (told you i was no good at technology)

go into the surestart website, click the improving quality tab/bar/whatever its called and at the bottom on the left hand side is a link to free nursery places for 3 & 4 year olds, the code of practice is in there.

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