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Pre-school nursery class funding

(9 Posts)
TwoGirlsNowNoSleep Sat 06-Jul-13 16:55:52

We only can keep our pre-school open because parents are asked for a voluntary contribution. The 4 state local schools have together 8 reception classes, but only 26+26 nursery places (which are mainly given to siblings, as the nursery class is in a 3 form entry school).
The voluntary contributions for the 5 local preschools are per year £450/ £700/ £1000 for the different settings. Fundraising comes extra.
It all got more expensive for us when the single funding formula was introduced, and there are not enough deprived postcodes in our area. While I do understand the funding criteria, I think pre-schools should at least have staff costs covered by the council.

HumphreyCobbler Fri 05-Jul-13 11:11:17

Absolutely the most effective way to raise funds has been begging letters to business and charity grants. The problem with fund raising events that mean parents of preschoolers have to cough up money is that the pool of parents is too small to generate the funds.

Historically our preschool have always done events that involve the school next door, but this is being overtaken by the school ptfa now (understandably) and we have now got to raise the top up fees.

The grant we get here has not gone up in four year, still £6.50 a day and you are not allowed to roll it over either. It is annoying.

jellycat Fri 05-Jul-13 00:00:16

The change happened in 2009 here (that was when the rules changed and the session time went up from 2.5 hours to 3 hours). Some pre-schools were offering 2 sessions in 1 day so that the child could be there for almost a whole school day. Then it changed to 5 x 3 hour sessions per week, limited to only 1 session per day. I guess that's why you're seeing this as a change for the worse. Round here most places only offered morning sessions anyway so it was an improvement.

lionmummy Thu 04-Jul-13 23:51:56

Humphrey, what a shame, sounds like you're part of such a worthwhile task to raise funds. Can I ask what you do to raise money? Like Backfor Good, our school is in a reasonably deprived area and if the school opted for the 'top up' option, the concern would be that those children who would most benefit from a school nursery class place would miss out. The school is asking for parents to contribute ideas as they consider proposals & I do think that there is enough goodwill amongst some parents to raise funding if it means keeping the nursery class open.

BackforGood Thu 04-Jul-13 21:31:27

It happened a couple of years ago here, when they changed the 3 yr old funding rules. We used to have lots of Nurseries offering 'school hours' or a tiny bit less, but then they all had to change, and sadly we now don't have that facility anymore.
I used to work in a school in a fairly deprived area - the kind of demography that the 3 yr old funding is supposed to be benefitting ... to give all children an equal start when they start school, etc.... and the once thriving 39 place Nursery class had about 18 children sitting in this huge Nursery area, as they are now only allowed to offer 15hours free, not the 25hours everyone used to get. Daft.

HumphreyCobbler Thu 04-Jul-13 21:27:22

Gosh, my child gets funding for two hours a day here in Wales. I have to be on a charitable committee to keep the preschool open and we have to raise £2000 a year to pay the wages. Otherwise there would be no educational place for nursery aged children in a twenty mile radius.

It should all be like your council, I am sorry they are cutting funding.

lionmummy Thu 04-Jul-13 21:22:42

This is another thing that I am worried about. There is an excellent teacher and 2 lovely teaching assistants in the class and I am worried that they would be out of a job and the school would lose from having these assets too if the class can't be filled.

samsmother Thu 04-Jul-13 12:44:53

Coming from a different perspective, I work in a nursery and this September will be the first year our borough (southwark) will not be funding full time places. This appears to have had a massive knock on our intake of children as parents are still wanting full time places for their children. It doesn't help that we border 2 other boroughs both of which are still offering ft places and until now we've always been a nursery in demand. This has had a big impact on the way the nursery is run and unfortunately we are now facing redundancy amongst our team. New Parents have been given the option of 'topping up' their child's day as we also offer breakfast and after school club, however its not a condition of a place offered its aimed at those parents who do need full time childcare. I can speak from the other side too as a parent as my DS is due to start there in September.

lionmummy Wed 03-Jul-13 23:05:19

Our London Borough (westminster) was historically funding full-time (9->3.15pm) places for the nursery class in our local (state) primary. DCs 1 & 2 have benefitted from this & have been very grateful for this over the years. From entry 2014, only part-time places 9->12 will be funded going forward, the school are still considering options, including asking parents to fund the shortfall for the afternoon school. This sounds an unusual situation to me but don't know whether this is common in other schools. I really like the school, and I like the fact that the school is socially diverse and worry that this funding might mean that only families who could afford the additional fees would send their children. I would love to send dc3 in a few years but was curious as to whether this is funding issue was more typical.

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