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(109 Posts)
moemazen Wed 19-Mar-14 15:41:28

My daughter is turning 3 on the 4th April and some of her peers will receive the free entitlement from April as they were born before the 31st March, which is 4 days difference.

It does not seem fair that my daughter gets the entitlement from September, 6 MONTHS LESS than someone born only 4 days apart???

Have I missed something? Have I not understood the policy?

When I called Barnet council they said that that is the way it is and they were just following a policy created by Ed Balls and I should contact him to complain.

It just infuriates me that I cannot appeal to Barnet council and have to send an email to Ed Balls ( who may not even read it, it seems that he created the policy. I will contact him but wanted to check if other parents also feel the same way.

Is anyone else on the same situation?

I was calculating how much this would cost our family and it turns out it is nearly £1000 for the 6 months we would miss out as my girl goes to nursery full time, outrageous!

The nursery my child goes to has been very helpful and they said the Early Years team at Barnet have not been very helpful, I felt like the lady was just giving me a COMPUTER SAYS NO kind of answer.

TinyTear Wed 19-Mar-14 15:46:03

So if she had been born on the 1st September would you be complaining she would only start school on year later than the ones born on the 31st August so you would have to pay for a whole extra year of childcare?

i'm afraid there have to be cut off points somewhere...

sanityawol Wed 19-Mar-14 15:49:10

Cut off dates are always unfair, but quite often a line has to be drawn somewhere.

This is true of the cut off dates for the school year, using date of birth to determine retirement age.

If there was an element of discretion it makes it unfair on the staff that have to enforce this.

Otherwise, where does it stop? It's only 4 days, 10 days, 4 weeks, etc? Someone will always be the wrong side of the line.

I know that it is a lot of money, but you need to not take this personally.

Forago Wed 19-Mar-14 15:49:49

It's from the term after they turn 3 so, in fact, my 3 year old has been receiving it from January as he was born in October. However, it's not really unfair as you can claim it until the term after they turn 4 - so my son's will stop next January wheras you will have the whole of September - September. i.e everyone gets 3 terms worth.

Technical Wed 19-Mar-14 15:51:47

It's just one of those things. Use your voice as the electorate to try and change it if you feel that strongly but as Tiny says they have to have a cut off somewhere, it seems reasonable to me that that should be term based - imagine the admin costs if "new" 3yos became entitled on a daily basis.

DS2 is Sept born and goes into yr3 in Sep, so he misses out on a whole year of FSM be only a few days. DS2 qualified for child trust fund and Ds1 didn't. It's just the way things are. Alternative would be that no-one gets any help at all.

ecuse Wed 19-Mar-14 15:52:27

Ooh that's interesting Forago I hadn't thought about that. I can use it for after-school childminder even when she's at school for a bit then...

Forago Wed 19-Mar-14 15:54:08

exactly - that's how it work where I am anyway (Surrey)

OddBoots Wed 19-Mar-14 15:55:20

I have a dd with an early April birthday so I had the same thing - it isn't really 6 months though as you are counting the summer holiday in that time.

bubblesausage Wed 19-Mar-14 15:57:34

I'm in a similar position, dd is 3 on 18th April, so we also have to wait until sept, yes, its frustrating, but there has to be a cut off somewhere, not quite sure why you think an exception should be made for you.

AnotherMorning Wed 19-Mar-14 16:01:07

I agree it's unfair - why shouldn't all children be entitled to two years pre-school education? Surely the younger ones are more in need of it to be school ready and they're the ones who miss out.

AnotherMorning Wed 19-Mar-14 16:02:10

School starts aren't staggered so why is preschool?

JimBobplusasprog Wed 19-Mar-14 16:02:44

Entitled at all?

It's five months rather than six. Come up with a viable alternative and I'm sure people will listen. Until then you could get emotional about school start dates (it's sooo unfair I have to pay for 5 months more childcare than for an August born child/it's sooo unfair that my precious baby will be 7 months younger than other children in her school year)

TheFabulousIdiot Wed 19-Mar-14 16:03:25


I don't understand. What do you mean by 'free entitlement?'
Do we get this in Cardiff?

moemazen Wed 19-Mar-14 16:05:58

Hi all, thanks for your comments.
I was comparing our situation with my friend who has a daughter born on the 31st March, they go to the same nursery.
It seems like they will get an extra term, I checked with the nursery. I thought that maybe a fair way would then guarantee 3 terms for everyone. that way everyone gets the same, regardless when a child is born.
I am not the type of person who just accept things the way they are if I feel that there is something not really right.
I have written to Ed Balls and my nursery manager is helping me with that, as well as other parents in similar situations.

Fingers crossed we can get a response.
If she was born in September I would definitely be complaining, believe me. I am the type who complains I am afraid.

OwlCapone Wed 19-Mar-14 16:06:07

And you joined MN specifically to whinge about something that is unavoidable.

We couldn't use it for DS in the autumn that he started school, even though he was still 4 and his Reception class didn't actually start until the end of September. The preschool manager told me that once they were eligible for school, ie the first day of autumn term, they were ineligible for the free entitlement.

moemazen Wed 19-Mar-14 16:08:57

bubblesausage, I don't think an exception should be made for me, that is why I am sharing the post for families in the same situation.

My point is that the system should give the same to everyone. 2 years pre-school education.

GinSoakedMisery Wed 19-Mar-14 16:09:56

I only ever got to take advantage of the free nursery places with ds3 as ds1+2 have May and August birthdays. Sucks, but not much you can do about it.

sanityawol Wed 19-Mar-14 16:12:08

Ok. You do realise that this is national policy that applies to the whole country?

And that Labour is no longer in Government, so Ed Balls has no power to change this even if he wanted to?

And that it wasn't him personally that introduced it, he was a Minister in the Government of the time?

Good luck with your complaint. I would suggest that you also write to the Queen. I'm sure she'll be able to change this policy for you.

SolomanDaisy Wed 19-Mar-14 16:13:08

What is Ed Balls going to do about it? He is in opposition.

MostWicked Wed 19-Mar-14 16:14:30

But you wouldn't be complaining if she was born on 31st March.
There has to be cut off dates. Pre-schools can't have new children starting every day as they turn 3, they have to have intakes. A lot of schools have a single intake, so some children might only get 1 or 2 terms in pre-school before they start Reception, but you can defer your Reception place until January if you really want another term at pre-school.

What system do you think would be fair and workable?

SoftSheen Wed 19-Mar-14 16:15:10

It's actually 5 months less.

The current system isn't very fair, however, I'm not convinced that children really need 2 years of pre-school. Surely one year would be enough?

ArtexMonkey Wed 19-Mar-14 16:15:58

It's 5 months from april to september fyi. Children born a few days into the cut off all miss out - a child born on september or january 2nd would miss out on 4 months, so it's not like you're massively hard done to compared to others.

It is what it is, like people say there has to be a cut off at some stage, and councils are all really hard pushed for money at the minute.

ThinkAboutItTomorrow Wed 19-Mar-14 16:16:18

Not sure what you expect Ed Balls to do - he is no longer in charge. Maybe try

a) Thanking Ed Balls for bringing in the free entitlement full stop
b) asking Michael Gove to change the policy as he is now in charge of education.

But I think you need to propose a solution. So are you saying it should be aligned to school years - so everyone gets 3 terms and your friends kids are o longer entitled to childcare from April?

CorrieDale Wed 19-Mar-14 16:16:43

I didn't get to use it either as mine wee June and July babies. And now they are disadvantaged at school because they are among the youngest in the class. I might write to Ed Balls too... Lol

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