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Early years education / Preschool Wales

(9 Posts)
AmyT689 Wed 26-Sep-12 20:44:18

My family and I have moved from Bristol to Wales and it turns out that free education for over 3s here in the Vale of Glamorgan is provided as 2.5 hr sessions 5 days a week (total of 12.5 hrs) . These 2.5 hrs can only be accessed in State nurseries which do not offer wraparound care. Local private nurseries offer pick up and drop off services (as do childminders) but they charge for a full half day. As a result there is no financial benefit.

So while in Bristol our 3 yr old would have received 15 hrs off her bill in term time and would have been able to access her free education in one setting (her nursery was an approved provider), here in Wales we are left with a system that offers 12.5 hrs of free education but which is only accessible to non working parents. Working parents have to use external providers to obtain wrap around care around the state provision but the cost associated with this negates the benefit of the free provision. In addition our kids get ferried around which is disruptive to their day and we parents have the headache of arranging the wrap around care. How can this be fair?

Anyone else frustrated with the lack of flexibility and the inconsistencies of the Welsh system???

BigFatLegsInWoolyTIghts Wed 26-Sep-12 23:24:23

Don't private nurseries simply add the vouchers onto the bill? I really am not sure you're I undertood it, you can use a private or state nursery and the 15 hours may be added to your bill...they may also be used for childminders.

AmyT689 Wed 26-Sep-12 23:54:03

Yes you are right, this is how the system works in England (to be honest I think its a really good system)Unfortunately we are in Wales and things aren't so straightforward. Where are you based?

BigFatLegsInWoolyTIghts Thu 27-Sep-12 00:16:13

I live on the border of North Wales and England...much of my family and many friends live in Wales....5 miles away. Maybe I am wrong but I got the idea from a friend that her childcare for her DS is flexible...

BigFatLegsInWoolyTIghts Thu 27-Sep-12 00:17:50

Here's a link

AmyT689 Thu 27-Sep-12 17:48:25

Thanks. Slight confusion: What you are talking about are the £243 vouchers that all working parents get (ie this is money we've earnt that we don't pay tax and NI on) for every child - irrespective of their age.

In addition to this though, once every child turns 3, the government provides 15 hr (in England) or a minimum of 10 hr (In Wales) of Free education. This is called early years provision or free education for over 3s. This is what I was referring to

Tiggles Thu 27-Sep-12 21:14:13

I live in Wales, my son had his 10hrs provision at a private nursery, they took £180 off the bill each half term. But that nursery didn't provide the 12.5hrs in the next year. So the nursery drop him to the local school for me for his free afternoon teaching, then he goes to the school after school club. He is quite happy.
It depends where you live I think. When we were in S. Wales then most people took the free childcare place at the local schools, but I know some people used the playgroup to provide it.

AmyT689 Thu 27-Sep-12 22:00:30

Hi Little miss green I've checked with The Vale and they've confirmed that they only allow the provision to be delivered by non maintained settings (ie playgroups) when they don't have enough state nursery places. As our Ward (Penarth Sully Cogan) has a surplus of state nursery places there is no option to access the early years provision in any other way other than through the 2.5 hrs 5 days a week in a state nursery setting.

I've checked out the after school club and they only take them from the age of 4 (DD is still only 3). Some nurseries and childminders do do pick up and drop off but there is no cost benefit (as they still charge for the time children are in nursery as they can't take on an extra child just for 2.5 hrs) so basically the free education doesn't turn out to be free after all.

We are thinking of keeping DD in private nursery but it annoys me as:

1) she will be missing out on a place she is entitled to and will not be socialising with the children she will eventually go to school with (state nursery is attached to primary school)

2) I pay my taxes and am unable to access a service that is meant for me and that I'm actively part funding

3) Because of where I live I have less choice an flexibility than other people living in different parts of Wales or even within the same LEA. The provision should be consistent with the same degree of flexibility available to all.

There are a number of other Cardiff and Vale parents that are as disappointed as I am.

If you agree with us that we should all be entitled to a more flexible and fairer system both in Cardiff and the Vale then please sign our petitions

Thank you

MissWing Wed 10-Oct-12 20:22:09

Well done AmyT689! Beautifully put. We have just signed your petition and passed the link on.

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