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No preschool places. But I am ill. And disabled. Could I request a priority place ?

(20 Posts)
Namechangeragain Sat 17-Sep-11 11:16:04

I have worked all my life.I am off sick at the moment. I probably won't be well enough to go back, I imagine. I have an illness. Apparently it is listed in the Disability Act, although I never found that out till the other day. I never considered myself to be disabled. If you saw me at a party with a glass of wine in my hand , you would probably never know. Which was the way I liked it. Now I feel like a bit of a fraud. I am so ill, that i have had to quit work.
And I never put ds2's name down for a local nursery/pre-school place, because I never imagined that I would be in this position. I thought he would be in the private nursery until he started the same school that ds1 is at.
And when I ring the pre-schools/ nursery's in this town and the next town, nearly all of them are full. No places available NEXT september, becasue they have had an unpresidented baby boom.
Great. I have found one place, in the next town, that could offer me maybe one afternoon a week. 2.5 hrs. But thats it. So,I dropped ds1 at school, and took ds2 there for a trial run, and in rushhour traffic, it took me 40 minutes, to get there, its less than 2 miles. I was stressed. which makes me more ill. I was thinking, this is no good. And they can offer me only one afternoon, maximum 2, Till atleast next september. when he will be nearly 4. He is hard work and needs care, and to be able to run off all his energy. most people think he's quite hyper.
one afternoon is no good to me.
So I go to the disability website. To see if they might have some advice, if the parent is disabled, to get a priority place. Basically no. They say it is almost impossible and requires a long long fight.
I am already fighting my health, my ds1's school. I can't start fighting again. I don't have the energy and it is stress that makes my illness unmanageable.
I can ask my GP, HV, Specialist Consultant, to write to the 2 pre-schools nearest to my home. But is it worth it. I don't want to ask for somehting if their letters would carry no weight.

Pancakeflipper Sat 17-Sep-11 11:26:11

i really do get what you are saying and I certainly do not mean to be rude and upset you, I wouldn't want to go with that ordeal for 2.5hrs a week either.

But if the nurseries you will consider (I fully understand the location aspect of it) are full then how does being a priority make a place become available? Do they remove another child or bring in a new member of staff to ensure the ratio for kids/staff is ok?

I presume there are waiting lists? So you get your name on them all Kids do leave nurseries for a good variety of reasons so you could very lucky very quickly. And you tell the nursery manager the reasons you want a place asap, you'll probably find them sympathetic.

Does your private nursery use the 15hrs a week 'free' hours? Ours is a private one and deducts the 15hrs off the bill the term after they are 3yrs old.

I would have a chat with your Dr, HV. Not going to do any harm is it?

Namechangeragain Sat 17-Sep-11 11:52:06

Private nursery is at work, so that will be ending soon.
All private nurseries locally are full. All free nurseries/pre-schools locally are full.
Already am on waiting lists.
Am just hoping thast Dr's letter may push me to front of list so that I may be offered a few hours, at local place, over and above them be offered to a child who is already there.
Maybe if they have 3 hours free and they could offer them to me, rather than to a child who already has 12, and they SHOULD be given the extra 3 to make up their allowance to their 15, that they should get.
But that would mean giving me , their hours, which is a bit of a cheek, isn't it ?

Pancakeflipper Sat 17-Sep-11 12:00:53

It will depend on what the other child's parents situation is. If that parent only wants to use 12hrs a week and not the full 15 then that is what the nursery will claim for.
The nursery will give places to other children based on the staff/child ratio.

If they have spaces free they will very likely want to fill them for.

I know a lot of parents who do not use the full quota but you have parents who use over the 15hrs and pay for more hours. It's about the staff and kid ratio really.

I think you need to meet with the nursery managers and explain your situation. I know our nursery manager really does try to help families who need help. I am sure there are other very similiar.

I think it will turn out ok, you just need to let them know what you are wanting, speak to the HV and Dr. A place will turn up but I don't think it can be 'demanded' ( I am not saying you are demanding).

Namechangeragain Sat 17-Sep-11 13:06:24

Agree, I will ask to meet Nursery Managers for 2 closest nurseries. I have already submitted forms. But will explain situation and ask them to bear me in mind. Can't do any harm, can it ?
Thanks Pancake.

HoneyPablo Sat 17-Sep-11 13:10:23

Speak to your HV and see if SS can help. Nurseries have to keep a certain amount of places available for SS to place children who need them.

mellowcat Sat 17-Sep-11 21:17:57

I'm sorry you are having such a hard time. I manage intakes and when we have a shortage of places, always prioritise families who are struggling. However if the nurseries don't know, your child will be just another name on the list. Please make an appointment to see the managers of the local nurseries, perhaps writing some of these things down.

Have you thought about contacting your local Children's Centre? Maybe they could help you get a place and offer some support until a place comes up. Children often leave/don't come in September, so keep your spirits up. I am sure something will come up for your child soon.

narmada Sat 17-Sep-11 23:34:39

Have you spoken to the local authority directly? They are the ones who have a legal responsibility to ensure the adequate provision of childcare in their locality, and IIRC your child is entitled to 15 hours free childcare per week from the term following their third birthday (although not necessarily at your chosen provider). I think the people you need to contact are your local family information service - this might be a useful link?

BranchingOut Sat 17-Sep-11 23:39:12

Some childminders can do the 15 hours.

lisad123 Sat 17-Sep-11 23:46:14

It depends, If your a lone parent or your husband earns under a certain amount you may get help to pay for your LO care at private nursery from child tax credits. Dd1 was at private nursery when I was pregnant with dd2, but I devoted major SPD and ended up in a wheelchair, BUT ctc paid for nursery because I wad disabled.

Also give your local children's centre a ring, if you have a disability, are earning under certain amounts and also if you have a CAF, you are able to get to top of lists in certain nurseries as they have to reserve certain spaces for families with extra needs.

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 17-Sep-11 23:55:48

also, have you had a look out for playgroups in your area? There is a small charge, but i feel it is worth it for the couple of hours free. In my village there is one available Monday to Friday, 9.15 to 11.45 for £4.50 per session.

Namechangeragain Sun 18-Sep-11 17:30:02

Thank you to all the people who have posted since I last did.
Honey, I don't want to get SS involved. Yes I am very unwell, but god I don't want to start that boll rolling, do I ?
Mellow, I will contact the Childrens Centre. I know them there because they have been involved in getting my ds1 dignosed with Aspergers. I will ring her.
Lisa, our combined income ,we earnt to much to qualify for tax credits on childcare. We don't have a CAF.

But I will ring around in the next few days and see if I can get anyhting done. Trouble is, he is 3 very soon, so I don't even get my 15 hrs free till Jan, and right now that feels a long way away, health wise. Plus I have already been told that no one has 15 hours to give me, ANYWHERE. Not in Jan, not even next Sept.
So I really am grasping at straws to expect them to help me now. I know I'm asking alot. Its just I didn't realise that I would need this so suddenly, that my health would deteriorate and that I would be forced to quit my job, so suddenly.
Dh says I am over-reacting because there is literally nothing that can be done. But the prospect of looking after a very very lively 3 yr old, full time, when you normally enjoy going to work part time, for a rest, when you feel so very unwell, feels like a big struggle.

lisad123 Sun 18-Sep-11 18:08:36

I would be remotes to put numbers in on ctc website and check, it's different story if your disabled to of you were working.
I would really recommend getting intouch with your local children's centre, they are in the know x

stripedcat Sun 18-Sep-11 20:42:49

I completely understand that you are getting stressed about this - but what you are asking is for another child to be taken out of the pre-school who has already been allocated a space.

I would think about childminders and playgroups

narmada Sun 18-Sep-11 22:59:03

Do try the council if you haven't already. Remember, they are legally obligated to ensure sufficient childcare exists in their local area. It's a statutory responsibility and it may be worth reminding them of that if they are unhelpful.

pinkdelight Mon 26-Sep-11 09:55:25

As others have said, you can use the 15 hours with many childminders. I did for my DS and it was great as she was more flexible than a nursery about when I could use the hours. Definitely worth investigating.

TiggyD Mon 26-Sep-11 10:22:09

You say you don't want to get SS involved. If you don't ask for help, you won't get any help. I'm sure a nursery might let you have a place even if if means they have too many children if they inform ofsted they have an extremely good reason backed up by proof from social services.

Lougle Sat 01-Oct-11 22:37:37

"narmada Sat 17-Sep-11 23:34:39

Have you spoken to the local authority directly? They are the ones who have a legal responsibility to ensure the adequate provision of childcare in their locality, and IIRC your child is entitled to 15 hours free childcare per week from the term following their third birthday (although not necessarily at your chosen provider). I think the people you need to contact are your local family information service - this might be a useful link?"

There is a statutory right to receive 15 hours funded childcare from the term following the child's 3rd birthday.

HOWEVER there is NOT a statutory right to a place.

narmada Mon 03-Oct-11 20:27:52

lougle really?? That seems bizarre, although it wouldn't be the first time that statute and guidance were at odds. I know there is definitely no right to a place at a chosen provider but it was my understanding that all children should be able to access their 15 hours somewhere, even if it wasn't exactly convenient for the children/ parents.Councils do have a legal responsibility to ensure that there is sufficient provision for all eligible children though, and that is something that the OP could take up with the council if they are not being helpful.

Lougle Mon 03-Oct-11 23:05:47

"Local authorities should communicate to parents that they may not always be able to access their full entitlement at the times they want, at their provider of choice."

Basically, the LA MUST ensure there is enough provision for all 3 & 4 year olds in their LA. But, they don't have to make sure that they are distributed along with population.

So, as long as there are 800 children and 830 places, say, then they are meeting the requirements. If 400 of those children happen to be in an area that only has 200 places, then there will be a shortage of places in one area, but a big glut in another area.

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