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Rebecca

30 hours committee debate raises providers' concerns

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On Thursday 12th October early years ministers debated the impact of the newly introduced '30 hours free' funding scheme. The debate was called by Ruth George MP and both Robert Goodwill MP and Tracy Brabin MP spoke at length to set out their own views of the success of the scheme. You can watch the debate on Parliament tv by following this link. Nursery World have written eloquently about the debate in their magazine today. You can read their article here: Minister says providers are 'up for it' in 30 hours debate

... and if you don't want to watch the debate, you can read it here!

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Thanks for posting this ....though i'm not sure it makes for easy or comfortable reading on a Saturday morning. Perhaps because this issue continues to worry me I find myself doing just that though.

Don't you find it fascinating that when it comes to money our industry is always referred to as childcare....and then when they want to have a go at standards it's called education! perhaps one of the ministers would like to come off the fence about this this one and give us a title that reflects the hard work in care and education that we all do!!

From my point of view I am struggling to make 30 hours work and in fact am only making a profit at the moment because (like nearly half of providers) I am understaffed and have been for a year! Most of my children are funded ...either for 30 or 15 hours. I have had to change the rules on provision to insist that everyone does 15 as a minimum ...which has meant I have lost 3 children but the shortfall has been covered by the others doing additional hours. I don't like doing this but I have no choice.

The issues with the 30 hour codes are laughable and made more tricky if you don't speak English!

I have had 5 families drop out of their 30 hour place due to a variety of issues...none of which were in their control . If I hadn't managed to fill their spaces that would have been my profit for the year gone!!

The hours spent on admin are enough to drive anyone mad.....I spent over an hour in the middle of the day speaking to the helpline the other day...with no resolution at the end.

 

I could go on........!

 

The other implications of course are for the children and the families. This may well increase income (perhaps!) but the parenting skills are disappearing and behaviour issues increasing...SAL issues are rising again and the experiences of these children have dropped to an all time low. To me these issues are the ones we should be debating...taking children away from parents seems to be having a very negative effect in my area :( :unsure:

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Thank you for highlighting this... it makes for very interesting and highly maddening reading. To know that SO many in the sector are suffering because of such an ill thought out, vote winning policy (yes of course on the one hand it is great for working parents) but the impact on settings looks insurmountable. The debate helped me to understand the wider implications for all sorts of providers and to affirm that in our setting (maintained Nursery class) we are not alone in facing/coping with the challenges that the scheme has wrought.

 

Phrases in the MP's debate such as 'racking and stacking', disregarding the needs of the most vulnerable who are not eligible, reducing education to childcare etc have struck a chord.

Thank you Rebecca for sharing and I really do urge colleagues to read the debate and share with as many people as possible and also to get in touch with either Ruth George MP who brought the debate into the House or their local MP.

Is this the moment of change???

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It isn't really a 'like' FM more an 'agree', the whole scheme is like a bad joke and the joke is on us...apart from the financial implications of parents booking extra then dropping them again for various reasons I am totally fed up with the hours this is taking up ...whether it's checking, checking and re-checking the eligibility codes, applying for the funding, chasing parents to uphold their end of the bargain because if you don't it will be too late and then they'll be dropping hours back to 15, or adjusting registers, we are right in the border of 2 counties, one county is saying split the hours the other is saying the parents can choose who claims what ...so that's another headache :-(

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I could go on........!

 

The other implications of course are for the children and the families. This may well increase income (perhaps!) but the parenting skills are disappearing and behaviour issues increasing...SAL issues are rising again and the experiences of these children have dropped to an all time low. To me these issues are the ones we should be debating...taking children away from parents seems to be having a very negative effect in my area :( :unsure:

:( How sad is that.........

 

Right I must read this debate - thank you for sharing this Rebecca

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I watched the debate live on parliament tv and the Champagne Nursery group also posted the discussion they had after the debate with Goodwill. He is not listening and he does not understand our stuggle to make ends meet. During the debate he said that he had not heard of any nursery that was not adequately funded. If you feel that way you should write and tell him.

My letter is drafted and will be sent this week. I don't think it will change anything other than his ability to say all nurseries are happy and give him a lot of reading practice.

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Would any of the contributors to the thread ^^ like to come to Westminster and sure their views? APPG meeting

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I'm not a great fan of the funding debate - I accept pre schools in particular are facing a pretty tough time and indeed we have sadly seen one close recently due to low numbers which 30 hours didn't help, but there are some interesting things starting to appear in my neck of the woods;

 

Maintained nurseries here had an average occupancy of around 66% last year, this term with the advent of 30 hours places those occupancy levels have risen to around 90-94% and alongside that so has funding income without an increase in overheads, in essence 30 hours has enable them to fill their previous vacancies.The ones that are struggling a little are those who don't offer 30 hour places.

 

There is a similar picture within the Private Nurseries though they did not have the low previous occupancies so the rise in attendance is not as dramatic. All of our nurseries are offering 30 hours and five new nurseries have either started in the past 12 months or are about to open which seems to be a different picture to the one I keep reading about - is the funding debate in this sector a southern issue or one generated by national chains, I don't know but I do wonder ? I wouldn't go so far as to say our local nurseries are entirely happy, but I certainly wouldn't say they are facing the severe financial pressures I keep reading about?

 

What does concern me is the inequality in the 30 hour entitlement, which was predicted but is now more stark. Everyone knows of the demand to close the gap between the disadvantaged children and their more advantaged peers , but this is the reality in funding terms here;

To gain the additional funding hours you need to be earning over £120 per week and less than £100K per year - the approx. value of these additional hours is £2,400 per annum

 

If you are not eligible and only receive 15 hours your setting may attract EYPP on your behalf , the value of this is £302 per annum!

 

So far from closing the gap the 30 hour entitlement could be seen as offering a financial incentive to widen it - this , in my opinion, is getting lost in the debate about funding

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So far from closing the gap the 30 hour entitlement could be seen as offering a financial incentive to widen it - this , in my opinion, is getting lost in the debate about funding

Yes, this was the point made in The Sutton Trust report, you can read it here

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There is a similar picture within the Private Nurseries though they did not have the low previous occupancies so the rise in attendance is not as dramatic. All of our nurseries are offering 30 hours and five new nurseries have either started in the past 12 months or are about to open which seems to be a different picture to the one I keep reading about - is the funding debate in this sector a southern issue or one generated by national chains, I don't know but I do wonder ? I wouldn't go so far as to say our local nurseries are entirely happy, but I certainly wouldn't say they are facing the severe financial pressures I keep reading about?

 

The financial pressures are all too real for those of us in Local Authorities whose funding has been cut. With the introduction of the 30 hours, our funding was cut by 10% so not only are we having to cope with a big cut, we don't have the 'buffer' of charging the full price for the extra hours that children attend - as these are now funded as well. I'm sure that some nurseries are doing well financially from the 30 hours if their funding has stayed the same or increased, but certainly not all of us. We get regular emails from our LA asking for expressions of interest for nurseries and pre-schools that are facing closure, but I can't see anyone risking the investment in time or money when the future of childcare provision in my county is so insecure.

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Would any of the contributors to the thread ^^ like to come to Westminster and sure their views? APPG meeting

unfortunately as I continue to be under staffed I am unable to do this...shame really as my MP has no interest in this debate and will only requote me the official line! :o :angry:

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