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How far in advance to apply?

16 replies

reastie · 22/05/2012 19:00

DD is 15 months. I'm already thinking about where to send her when she gets her nursery money at 3 but I have no idea how to start or what to do. I've been looking at a few private schools who run nurseries in our area (we prob couldn't afford private school for her when she's older, although to be fair I am naive as to costs) but they are quite vague so I don't know if she could use the free childcare here and if so whether it would cost extra to send her there or if the free stuff would cover it (would only want 2 -3 mornings for her initially anyway). One site said to apply to go to their nursery I needed to fill in a form and pay £75 just to go on the waiting list which wouldn't secure me a place anyway.

Just wondering when and how I should start looking into these things so that if there is somewhere oversubscribed I want to send her I will allow enough time so that she can get in or am I being way too organised

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OneLittleBabyTerror · 23/05/2012 15:33

Places are very hard to come by in day nurseries and they will want people who will attend full year. The free preschool hours are actually 15 hours for term time only. There is quite a lot of difference in hours from that to a few mornings for 51 weeks a year.

Ofc if you don't mind her attending all year round, then definitely put her name down to the private day nurseries. I'm not sure in London, but here, you join a waiting list, and don't pay deposit until a place is secured. The waiting lists for babies can be more than a year long! You sign up usually when you are 3 or 4 mo pregnant for a place on your return to work, which is usually when baby is a year. By the way, my first choice nursery only has a place for DD in the toddler room. So that makes it nearly 2 years on the waiting list, isn't it?

Places that run term time only will less likely to ask you to top up hours.

As you know there is a baby boom atm, it's not to early to look.

OneLittleBabyTerror · 23/05/2012 15:35

Btw, preschool places might be easier to come by! Dont mean to scare you at all!

piprabbit · 23/05/2012 15:40

I'd crack on with looking at nurseries and putting her name down at your favourite places. Be aware that you might be asked to pay an admin charge to put her name down (about £10 is average around here).
In our area, children's names are put down as teeny babies Sad.

reastie · 23/05/2012 16:42

Thanks. I work at a school so term time only would be fine by me just means I never get any time to myself and I wouldn't need many hours and it wouldn't have to be a whole day, just a couple of mornings would be fine for a while. Not sure if that will make it easier or harder to get a place.

The places I've been looking at online- private schools which have nurseries (or preschools, not sure what the difference is Blush ) from 3 years. I have no idea if whey insist on toddlers going all day every day or if it's a book as you want type thing. Tbh I am a bit Shock thinking about this

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OneLittleBabyTerror · 23/05/2012 18:45

Oh no I don't mean all day everyday! It's more to the fact some private ones will want you to commit to all year round, whichever mornings you pick. There are a lot of mums working part time Nd they definitely cares for that.

But do talk to the ones you are interested. Ask to visit, ask how you can use your funded hours. Ask about any extra costs like meals etc. and beware of 'donations' which aren't very clear when you sign up. I believe your council will have a list of preschool in your area. I got a list from their website and basically visited all the ones close to my home. It's only 5 or 6 anyway so didn't take that long. It's an important choice so I'd like to find out all the options.

reastie · 23/05/2012 19:02

Thanks one . Can I just clarify. If I send DD to a private school which has a nursery or preschool - I assume it is more expensive than a state one so would I just be allowed less hours as it's more expensive or would I pay a shortfall on a per hour basis for the venue?

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piprabbit · 23/05/2012 22:40

You would normally subsidise the short fall, if your nursery charges more than the government pays.
Don't forget that there are also a lot of private nurseries and preschool which aren't associated with schools at all, which might give you more choices.

MoaningMicroraptorRisesAgain · 23/05/2012 22:51

A good place to start is to ring your local Family Information Service, they will have the details of available providers. You may be able to use the NEG funding at a community preschool, day nursery, school nursery or some childminders.

They are not allowed to charge you to access the NEG sessions, or to charge you a topup. They have to let you take the 15 hrs pw free. They can charge for optional extras like a longer session or lunch. However, not everywhere will take the NEG funding, they can choose not to.

Eg Nursery A usually charges £23 for a 3 hr session. They get say £8 from the government for the NEG. They are not allowed to charge you the difference, but they may offer a 5 hour session for an extra £12 on top. Some places are very naughty about not following the rules. Some parents don't mind if they like the setting, but it would piss me off no end.

I use a community preschool - I get 5 x 3 hour sessions free and I pay for a further 3 sessions at £8 a session to give me 4 days attending 9-3 termtime only for £24 a week. Massive bargain IMHO I send a packed lunch. No other charges except the occasional optional donation for a dressing up day etc.

Mandy21 · 24/05/2012 12:19

I think it depends where you are. I think (only in my experience) that the "no top up charges allowed" is not followed by nurseries that I've used and I'd be very surprised if you can get "free" hours at a nursery school / pre school attached to a private school. Obviously thats just my experience though as I say. There are quite alot of prep schools where we are that take children from 3 but they are full days - almost like starting primary school at 3.

There are pre-schools that are effectively "free" - you pay a little extra for lunch etc - they are usually 5 mornings per week or 5 afternoons per week. There are a couple attached to state primary schools - my friend is a teacher at one and they had 400 applications for 52 places. Check the way the admissions work - some have an application procedure (much like school admissions so it makes no difference if you have your name down early or not), others may be on a 1st come 1st serve basis.

Private nurseries like the one we use tend to charge the full daily rate and funding received from the government is then given to us by cheque once a term.

daisyzac1 · 24/05/2012 12:28

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rugbynursery · 24/05/2012 12:34

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MoaningMicroraptorRisesAgain · 24/05/2012 12:39

Gosh, if I could only find an advert for a nursery in Rugby... Hmm

reastie · 25/05/2012 18:48

Grin moaning

I am a bit Shock so many places seem to do cheeky things they shouldn't about top ups. I looked on my local council website for a list of nurseries/pre schools in my area and if they take the vouchers but there are so many I don't know where to start and which ones charge extra etc Confused

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nannyof3 · 26/05/2012 11:26

I would put her name down for a school nursery place, they start when there 3 and go for either 5 afternoons or mornings a week, no expense to u as its goverment funded!!

MoaningMicroraptorRoarsAgain · 26/05/2012 11:57

This Portsmouth council FAQ covers the main points pretty well.

reastie · 26/05/2012 19:01

Excellent link thanks moaning

nanny I think I'll do that, it's just a case of choosing which one to put her name on Confused

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