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Free Nursery education from 3rd birthday - how does it work?

68 replies

lottymadbird · 12/12/2007 14:32

Ive read that children are entitled to up to 5 2.5hr sessions a week for term time but not sure how this works. The sessions at nursery are from 8.15 to 12.30 in the morning so that is obviously more than 2.5hrs.

Does the 2.5hrs entitlement mean my DS has to go to nursery 5 days a week or can I use the 12.5hrs for the week (spread over the year I worked it out to be about 9hrs) over two days and so pay nothing.

Am I making any sense???!!!

OP posts:
nailpolish · 12/12/2007 14:34

MY DD2 goes to nursery 3 days a week 9-5 therefore 24hrs a week

the nursery charge me for 11.5 hrs a week, the council pay the rest

is it a private nursery who have funded places?

imdreamingofawhiteKITTYmas · 12/12/2007 14:36

DD1 goes 9-11.30 5 days a week to use up her entitlement. There are other children there before that and after that for lucnh and beyond.

One little girl goes 3 full days with her Mum paying for the additional hours after the 12.5 have been used up IYSWIM.

monkeybutler · 12/12/2007 14:37

My DDs nursery have a minimum 'spend' of two full days (7.30am till 6pm) so I 'buy' that time and he can coe and go whatever time within these hours. The council pay me back £12 a day for this, taking the price down from £29 per day to £17. This only applies in term time.

I pay monthly and I thinnk the councils cheques come back January and October - they pay back 3 months at a time (a term).

Its a minefield!! You can take up to 2 free sessions a day as long as they have an hour inbetween them.

nailpolish · 12/12/2007 14:39

every nursery is different - you will have to ask

LIZS · 12/12/2007 14:40

You get up to 5 sessions of a max of 2 1/2 hours each, rather than 12 1/2 hours, so if the session is longer you pay an amount on top. 2 days is likely to only be 4 sessions, assuming they operate am and pm , you can't offset unused hours if the sesion is longer than 2 1/2 hours.

The scheme will be outlined on your LEA website and comes into effect the term after your ds turns 3. Some nurseries will just charge you the diffenrence in fees , some will rebate you when the funidng comes through. You only get this during termtime weeks so if it is a full time nursery you may have to pay more during holidays or they may even out the cost over the year.

gladbag · 12/12/2007 14:42

Most private daycare nurseries will allow you to use 2 sessions a day, one am and one pm, and then you pay the difference.

So, for example, at my ds' nursery, their 'short day' is 8.30 - 4.00. The free sessions are usually 9.00 til 11.30, then 1.00 til 3.30, so for that day you would pay for the first 1/2 hour, then a lunch session of 11.30 til 1.00, then the last 1/2 hour. I don't know of any nurseries that let you add together all the five 2.5 hour sessions and put them into 2 days. I don't think the funding works like that. HTH

lottymadbird · 12/12/2007 14:44

thanks for all the responses. its a private nursery but when i had a quick chat with the manager she was talking about "vouchers" from the government so i know they do accept them. Guess I need to talk to the nursery and hope fingers crossed they'll just charge the difference - the situation nailpolish described sounds perfect !

thanks everyone.

OP posts:
nailpolish · 12/12/2007 14:46

gladbag the funding does work like taht - its up to each nursery. mine does anyway

gladbag · 12/12/2007 14:54

Oooh, that's interesting nailpolish.

So if your dd only did two days 9 -5, so 16 hours, would you still be able to claim the full 12.5 hours, and just pay for 3.5 hours? That's great. I didn't think it worked like that, even if nurseries would allow it. Lucky you.

nailpolish · 12/12/2007 14:57


my dd2 goes to nursery 24hrs a week - 3days 9-5

the council pay the nursery for 12.5 hrs, the nursery therefore charge me 11.5 hrs

it all depends on the nursery i suppsoe

lottymadbird · 12/12/2007 14:58

I am really really hoping thats how my nursery works, DS currently goes to nursery two mornings a week that I have paid for for the last year but im a single parent and my savings are fast running out !

OP posts:
LIZS · 12/12/2007 15:00

but np across your 3 days she may well attend 5 "sessions", not sure that would work the same over 2 days, may only qualify as 4 and therefore 10 hours' worth.

nailpolish · 12/12/2007 15:25

I dont really think its to do with 'sessions' - the nursery just work it out over hours

im sure some of the children go there for less than 12.5 hrs and the nursery spread the cost/hours between the children

its a private nursery btw who get a certain amount of funded places. less funded places than children, its first come first served

ItWasOnlyAWintersTellus · 12/12/2007 15:38

Our LEA have moved from sessional funding to hourly funding this year. Our preschool only does sessions, so it doesn't affect us, but I don't know whether it affects daycare nurseries.

We can claim for as many children as are eligible. We have no set number of funded places.

Bluestocking · 12/12/2007 15:40

It's not from 3rd birthday, but from the start of the school term after their 3rd birthday, I think? Doubtless someone on here knows exactly.

ItWasOnlyAWintersTellus · 12/12/2007 15:42

Oh yes. Definitely term after third birthday. So from next term if born before 31 December.

nailpolish · 12/12/2007 15:43

yes its the term after their 3rd birthday

my dds are both october, the funding didnt start til january

lottymadbird · 12/12/2007 15:45

DS is 3 on 25 August so it starts from 1 september term is that right?

OP posts:
ChasingSquirrelsUpTheXmasTree · 12/12/2007 15:47

I understood that you could only have 2 sessions a day - therefore if your lo only went for 2 days you could only use 4 sessions, ie 10 hours.
This was definately the case last year, though it may have changed this year.

ChasingSquirrelsUpTheXmasTree · 12/12/2007 15:48

yes lottymadbird - or whenever the Sep term starts (may not be the 1st).

Blu · 12/12/2007 15:49

In our LEA it is to do with sessions.

They pay an amount for 5 sessions a week, for the weeks during which state nursery operates. But they may be taken as 2 sessions a day. I think nurseries vary in the way they treat the subsidy - whether they average it out over the year (as it is paid to the nursery on a termly basis, and you are probably using the nursery in school holiday weeks as well?).

A private nursery probably charges more per sesion than the amount paid by the LEA, so you will be charged the difference, but it does represent a considerable subsidy. You need to complete a form, which the nursery submits in order to claim the subsidy.

Look on your LEA website (probably under 'early years') and your nursery should be able to tell you how they appply it against your fees.

lottymadbird · 12/12/2007 15:50

sounds like some nurseries maybe bend the rules a bit? fingers crossed...! thanks squirrel.

OP posts:
ChasingSquirrelsUpTheXmasTree · 12/12/2007 15:51

the nursery aren't allowed to charge top-up fees for the 2.5hr session - even if they normally charge more than the grant they get. They are of course allowed to charge more for the otehr hours. But free should mean just that, so if they normally charge more per hour then you should only pay that charge for the additional hours, not as a top up.

JingleyJen · 12/12/2007 15:52

for us it was definately the term after their third birthday - DS1's birthday is the first week of the summer term and he didn't get funding until the september term.

nailpolish · 12/12/2007 15:52

i dont think its about bending the rules. its just up to the nursery, and perhaps depends on your local council

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