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Early Years Funding am I being ripped off?

(5 Posts)
pickles184 Wed 13-Apr-16 17:28:55

My dd is in full time nursery and as of january became eligible for the 15 hours funding, I signed the forms etc.. and expected my bill to go down by whatever portion of my bill the nursery get back from the government.
Nursery asked me if I would rather spread it over the 51 chargeable weeks of the year which seemed sensible as she is there throughout the year. All good so far, until I discovered that rather than reduce my bill by x amount, they have instead increased by bill because they have used daily and half day rates around the 'free' hours and also included meal charges for all days that she has funded time. This basically works out that the sum total of saving I am making is £5 per week not even 50p for each 'free' hour. Surely this means that they are actually profitting from dd's funding above and beyond their normal rates or am I missing something here?

Can anyone with children in fulltime childcare or nursery workers/owners shed some light on what is going on?

insancerre Thu 14-Apr-16 20:20:46

Where I work all year round children save much more than that a month with the funding
About £160
But it does depend how they apply it

RNBrie Thu 14-Apr-16 20:32:08

They are charging top ups.... They are allowed to charge for meals and nappies etc for your free sessions and they are allowed to charge you for the time between sessions (usually free three hours in the morning and three hours in afternoon but the middle bit at lunch time is not included in the free hours so they can charge for that)

What they aren't allowed to do is charge more per hour for the extra bits than they normally charge non-funded hours.

But I am confused. You say your bill has increased but you're saving £5 a week... That doesn't make any sense!

At my dd's nursery they just knock off whatever they can claim from the council which is about £3.60 an hour, so her bill is reduced by 15x£3.60 a week (she attends term time only) but that's technically breaking the rules too as she doesn't get any free hours. They are clear that if you demand totally free hours, they'll simply stop accepting funded places at all which would make you the most unpopular parent using the nursery!!

pickles184 Thu 14-Apr-16 23:03:24

I totally understand them not providing the hours at a cost to them and I know that their hourly rate exceeds the amount the government pay towards the time. However at face value they appear to have fiddled the invoicing to show that the time she is there is now more expensive than it originally was. So numbers used for example only, if the full weekly place is £200 per week which is a discounted rate due to it being a full time place, they also have a daily rate of £45, morning session £25 and afternoon session £25, relevant meals included in all of those rates. What they have done is split my bill so that the free hours are over two days, then subsequently charged me two half day rates and 3 full day rates, plus charged for lunch and dinner on both 'funded' days which means my new weekly charge with the 'free' hours is £195. So although I am paying fractionally less than previously, nursery's costs haven't risen, yet they will now be getting and keeping all of the funding without passing the saving on?
Before I go making myself unpopular or start looking at alternative childcare arrangements I wanted to find out if this is normal or there is some reason why they have to charge this way? I don't want to think the worst of them, but when I am barely breaking even each month with no luxuries to cut back it is a hard pill to swallow.

RNBrie Fri 15-Apr-16 09:00:24

I'm pretty sure that they aren't allowed to do it that way. I think there are lots of nurseries that do, but that doesn't make it right.

Have you queried it with them? I'd do that before I'd move your dc. Most nurseries have a lot more flexibility on charging than they make out.

And if that fails, Id ask that they just reduce your bill by the free hours for the 39 school weeks and charge you full price for non-term time.

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