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Preschool vouchers for less than 3 days p/wk - help!

(10 Posts)
othermillie Wed 03-Jun-09 14:10:51

My DD does 2 full days at nursery. She turns 3 in Dec 09 so I understand she'll be entitled to up to 15 hours free pre-school/nursery education through the govt pre-school vouchers scheme from Jan 2010. But I keep reading that they have to be used over a minimum of 3 days. I'm confused! Where does that leave those of us whose kids are only at nursery for 1-2 days per week? Are we entitled to anything or is it pro-rata'd? Any advice gratefully received as its making my head hurt just thinking about it! Ta!

misshardbroom Wed 03-Jun-09 17:17:45

As far as I understand it, your 15 hours can be used as 5 x 3 hours, or 3 x 5 hours, or a combination of the two.

What you can't do is use (for example) 10 hours 8am-6pm one day and then the other 5 the next day.

Don't know why.

However, in many preschool settings, people won't be using their full entitlement anyway because they can't get enough sessions. For this reason, I don't see why you couldn't use 3 hours one day and 3 hours another day and have your nursery bill adjusted accordingly... worth asking your nursery anyway. (Failing that I'm sure someone will come along on here soon and tell you whether or not you can do that).

And if you do that, and use 2 out of your 5 sessions, there's nothing to stop you using your other 3 at another setting, e.g. if you wanted to send her for three mornings at a preschool attached to your local primary school or something.

M1SSUNDERSTOOD Wed 03-Jun-09 17:25:19

As the nursery day is split into am and pm sessions only 2 could be used per day (with wraparound care inbetween IYSWIM). There has to be a break between sessions. So 5 sessions is over 3 days. However as said above sessions can be split between establishments.

LIZS Wed 03-Jun-09 17:33:07

Agree, it will apply to 5 "sessions", usually periods determined by the nursery as to which hours are covered and a maximum of 2 sessions per day, and what costs apply in between (ie over lunch) and before/after these times for which you still pay. If you only use 4 then you/nursery will only apply for 4 but you could still use the 5th elsewhere.

misshardbroom Wed 03-Jun-09 18:09:48

aaaaarrgghhhhhh!!! Please don't tell me they have to have a break between sessions?!?! Do they seriously?

So can I offer a morning session of 8.45am - 11.15am
afternoon session 12.30 -3pm
or extended session 8.45-1.45pm

or would they have to pay for a lunch club from 11.15am - 12.30pm if they wanted to do all day??

oh please no, this will foul up my plans for next year no end!

othermillie Wed 03-Jun-09 18:20:23

Thanks everyone, feel better for knowing its not a 'use the lot or lose 'em' situation. I'll have a chat to the nursery next week now and see what their take is on it too. I'll update - don't stress missshardbroom, I'm sure all isn't lost. And who knows, it could all change again anyway by the time we need them!

misshardbroom Wed 03-Jun-09 18:23:58

thanks othermillie for your soothing words.

You're so right, the rate at which they change the rules we could have a different state of affairs again within 12 months.

However, I'm a wee bit worried now because I actually manage a preschool (yes... I know, you'd think I'd know all this) and we're looking at going over to doing the flexible offer this September (hence why my example times are based on 2.5hr sessions) and now I'm worried I've cocked up the calculations!

Lindax Wed 03-Jun-09 18:29:49

Really depends on your nursery. ds attends nursery 4 days a week, so we only get 4 sessions a week as nursery wouldnt allow 5 over 4 days.

They wouldnt allow him to attend 2 sessions in one day as they covered the same work in the morning and afternoon sessions.

misshardbroom Thu 04-Jun-09 10:12:58

OK, for what it's worth, I have checked this out with my local Sure Start office this morning.

This is their response, cut & paste:

"You must allow parents to access just their paid entitlement, at present 2 x 2 and a half hours =5 hours in a day. So parents must be able to just have the early education sessions in 1 day. They may opt to pay an additional hour and stay for 6 hours, firstly only if it is offered , secondly then only if they wish to purchase it.

Prior to September 2008 when EYFS was introduced groups used to be registered as either sessional or full daycare groups. Where a sessional registration was held there had to be a break if 2 sessions were offered in 1 day. Now all preschools and nurseries are registered as "childcare on non-domestic premises" and this does not refer to the hours or sessions.

Some parents if collecting other children from school would prefer to not have to trek up to school twice, so would prefer to purchase the additional hour. If you have children attending the morning sessions only, you can offer an additional 1 hour lunch club at a chargeable rate, hence the title flexible offer, offering flexibility of choice to the families you serve".

[misshardbroom goes to lie in a darkened room and BREATHE....]

othermillie Thu 04-Jun-09 10:56:56

And exhale...... oh well done, that seems sensible and looks like we'll at least get part of it. Why, oh why, does it all have to be so complicated. Or maybe my brain would process this stuff better if I had an unbroken night's sleep once in a while! Thanks misshardbroom - now you can relax too!

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