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Early Years Nursery Funding - Arghhhhhhhhhh. I'm drowning in a sea of bureaucracy (sp)

(22 Posts)
NomDePlume Wed 10-Aug-05 09:53:37

As you know, I'm heading back into the land of education. My hours at college are long and varied, it is due to this that I have to move my DD to a new nursery (her old/current one isn't open long enough to support my hours). So, I've decided which nursery DD will be going to and how many sessions I'll need (7).

I'm fully aware that the Early Years funding only covers up to 5 sessions a week, and so (in theory) I'll have to pay a 'top up' for the additional 2 sessions we need. Having spoken to the deputy manager on the phone this morning (who seemed pretty clued up when I met her face to face yesterday), she was frustratingly vague.

I'd assumed that it would be a simple case of minusing the cost of the 5 funded sessions from our total number of 7 required sessions et voila, you have the total amount we would need to pay per week. This is apparently not the case, because the funding only comes in twice every term (at random times), although it does cover the 5 sessions a week. Now I don't understand how this will cause a problem and make my invoices a bit higgledy piggledy, but apparently, it will (according to the woman). Surely if the nursery know (she said it was guaranteed twice termly) that they will get the govt funding to cover the 5 sessions, then why would/should my invoices show more than the cost of the additional 2 sessions a week ???

I'm confused. Add this to my MASSIVE headache over college admissions and a total lack of information, I am starting to get very stressed

Does anyone know which govt dept pays out the Early Years funding ? Maybe I could call them and ask them to explain it to me too ?

northerner Wed 10-Aug-05 10:09:37

Hi NDP, yes this is veruy confusing. I'm going through it wirg ds who will get funding in September. My invoices will be higgledy piggledy too - so it does make it difficult to budget as the bill will vary each month. Yes, they are entitled to 5 sessions per week, but this is only per term, and if you join sessions together to make a full day you also have to pay to cover lunch/break times.

I don't fully understand it myself though!

geogteach Wed 10-Aug-05 10:12:23

At my nursery we just pay full fees and when the funding comes in they send me a check. It comes from early years at the local council I think.

marialuisa Wed 10-Aug-05 10:41:33

We have always paid full fees and been sent a cheque when the funding finally arrives.

NomDePlume Wed 10-Aug-05 12:01:41

ok, thanks for the replies

Bozza Wed 10-Aug-05 12:21:54

At ours they know which weeks are covered as termtime and knock it off the invoice in advance regardless of when they get the money off the government. But be aware that the terms are very short - 11 weeks each. So you are only funded for 33 weeks out of the year.

Blu Thu 11-Aug-05 10:42:22

OUr nursery averages it out.

Also, if it is a private nursery, they offer an amount which doesn't usually actually cover the total cost of the fees for each of the sessions, so you have to pay extra anyway.

MascaraOHara Thu 11-Aug-05 10:54:53

Sorry to crash but I have a question about this also. DD was 3 in June and I was told that the funding wouldn't start until September (then promptly forgot until I saw this thread). I pay by dd a flat rate each month for dd sessions. I was expecting the nursery to pro rate the deduction then reduce my DD, is this not the case?

IlanaK Thu 11-Aug-05 11:25:06

In some areas, unrseries are allowed to charge full fees and then reinburse the parents once the funding has been received. IN some areas, nurseries MUST deduct the funding from the parent's invoices DURING TERM TIME ONLY. However, if this is the case for you, your monthly invoices will still vary as each month will have a different number of funded sessions. Terms do not always start or end at the beginning or end of the month remember. Also, there are a different number of days each month. It is up to the local council whether they allow nurseries in their area to administrate the funding each of the above ways.

(I am a nursery owner in an area that requires us to deduct the funding from fees rather than reiburse it)

sunnydelight Thu 11-Aug-05 11:31:37

As far as I'm aware it's up to the nursery how they do it (I'm talking private nurseries), so whatever system one nursery uses won't necessarily be the same as another. When DS2 was eligible I just got invoiced monthly for the sessions the grant didn't cover, but it was a university nursery so they were pretty reasonable. A friend had endless trouble with her nursery as they actually took some of the grant money as an "administration fee" which I'm sure wasn't legal, but any time she tried to query it it was a case of "if you don't like it, take your child elsewhere"! They also calculated it in such as way as to cause maximum confusion - I was convinced they relied on the fact that nobody knew what was happenening to make "mistakes", but maybe I'm just bad minded!!!!

IlanaK Thu 11-Aug-05 11:34:26

Actually, in some areas the grant includes an additional amount for admin for the nursery. However, this should not change the amount of funding the parent is entitles to - that amount is the same nationwide. The admin part is in addition to it.

And again, in some areas it is up to the nursery how they reimburse parents and in some areas the council dictates that it MUST be deducted from fees in advance.

LIZS Thu 11-Aug-05 11:47:00

We got a bit of a shock when we received our first invoice for dd's fees but other mums assure us we will get the rebate for the vouchers in due course.

MascaraOHara Thu 11-Aug-05 11:57:30

Is it true children are only eligible from the first fall term after their 3rd birthay? I had originally had the impression that it was immediately once they were 3.

NomDePlume Thu 11-Aug-05 12:01:12

The thing is that all this 'varying invoices' is going to cause more problems for DH and I as we are using a nursery which DH gets 'vouchers' for as part of his salary package. We have to declare the amount required for nursery fees and then DH's employer will replace the required amount with tax-free vouchers in his pay packet. Having massively variable costs is going to add another nightmare to the mix....

LIZS Thu 11-Aug-05 12:03:02

MOH, think it is the start of the term after their 3rd birthday - so September, January or April.

Bozza Thu 11-Aug-05 12:11:24

Ndp I have been using a voucher system for paying nursery fees for a couple of years now. We have an electronic system run by a company called Accor. I am allowed to decide (online) the value of vouchers I need to the nearest £10 by the end of a month for the next month - I get paid on the 28th. They are paid into my online Accor account and then I transfer the set amount to Accor so if I want I can build up a value in my account - and I generally have a small amount in because the invoices are never in multiples of 10. It means that I have to decide by 31 July how many vouchers I will need to be paid on 28 August to cover an invoice I will receive on 1 September. I am able to work this out roughly and then allow a little bit extra in case I am a week out and find I can manage it quite well.

Of course, all this is about to change because DS is starting school in September.

NomDePlume Thu 11-Aug-05 12:13:54

That's interesting Bozza. I'll have to get DH to find out more about the voucher system his company run.

Bozza Thu 11-Aug-05 12:17:15

I hope you followed it ndp - found it hard to explain. Obviously you want to use the vouchers because of the tax and NI breaks. Previously we had a paper system which was less flexible.

NomDePlume Thu 11-Aug-05 12:17:57

Absolutely, Bozza.

Ailsa Thu 11-Aug-05 13:04:15

NDP - Early Years and Childcare Service based at Droitwich

01905 790563 - deals with Nursery Education Funding.

If they can't help, no one can.

NomDePlume Thu 11-Aug-05 18:08:54

You are marvellous, Ailsa. Thanks x

Blu Thu 11-Aug-05 18:21:52

NDP / Bozza - you don't HAVE to use a voucher system for the salary sacrifice / tax break thing - the employer can contract the nursery direct to provide childcare for your child, and pay the cheque for the agreed amount (£217 a month is allowed tax free).So, my employer wrote to my nursery agreeing to pay for £217-worth of childcare per month, the nursery invoices and employer pays. Then I pay the balance (minus the early years grant, of course!).

It saves the employer the cost of the voucher scheme - but probably much too complicated for big companies where lots of staff take up the 'perk'. I am the only one here.

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