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Free Nursery Places For Two Year Olds


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http://www.guardian.co.uk/uklatest/story/0,,-7136923,00.html

"In October, a study by the Daycare Trust and the National Centre for Social Research found 28% of parents who were trying to take up the Government's offer of free childcare for three and four-year-olds were still being asked to pay even if they were seeking less than 12.5 hours.

 

The report said some nurseries argued that they had to charge a 'top-up fee' because the Government funding was not enough.

 

Ministers have now introduced new rules banning nurseries from charging for what should be free."

 

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Thanks for posting this Marion.

 

This really goes to the heart of the problem regarding funding doesn' it?

 

We charge a fee for the extra unfunded half hour of our three hour session, and since parents do not have the option for their child only to attend for two and a half hours, it could be argued that they are having to pay an extra fee to access their free funded places at my setting.

 

The hourly rate we receive for nursery funded sessions is less than our hourly fees, so when the entitlement is increased we will inevitably lose out financially - this isn't exactly news but is still a sobering thought. A lot will depend on what happens to the level of funding at the point at which the entitlement rises - however I'm not optimistic that it will cover the costs.

 

Also the issue of funded nursery places for two year olds might significantly affect my setting. I am already under pressure to take two year olds but in a village hall setting I really don't think I can offer an appropriate level of care to these very young children without significant investment and the necessary adaptions to the building which I simply could not do. Where will this leave those parents who want to send their two year olds to me when I am reluctant to take their children?

 

Will they take a pragmatic view and send them to the local day nursery, never to return or will someone in search of test case material seek a prosecution under the Childcare Act's provision for ensuring there is sufficient childcare available locally for everyone who needs it?

 

Wasn't it Confuscious who said "may you live in interesting times"?

 

Maz

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Well Maz

I work in a village hall setting with the two to four year old children. we only have three staff and can take eighteen children in a session. To our cost this has a detrimental effect to the older children as we are constantly looking after the two year old children. It is more like a babysitting service I feel. The other point to consider is the child adult ratio's with a mixed session. I am campaigning for another member of staff, as after christmas we will have eighteen children in each session with about 6 two year olds and rest will be older. watch this space. :oxD

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Well Maz

I work in a village hall setting with the two to four year old children. we only have three staff and can take eighteen children in a session. To our cost this has a detrimental effect to the older children as we are constantly looking after the two year old children. It is more like a babysitting service I feel. The other point to consider is the child adult ratio's with a mixed session. I am campaigning for another member of staff, as after christmas we will have eighteen children in each session with about 6 two year olds and rest will be older. watch this space. :oxD

Welcome justine

 

Six two year olds is a lot! We try not to have any more than three at any session - otherwise as you say a lot of the staff time is taken up with looking out for the littlies. We always have four members of staff - and with me its five - and on some days our numbers go as low as 12. That's a pretty high ratio, but even then we'd struggle with more than three or four under threes (and bearing in mind I don't take them until two and a half so its not as if we have very young children).

 

I simply can't imagine two year olds in a school setting - unless they are prepared to invest in suitable buildings to accommodate them and I wonder if it would be worth the investment. On the other hand, I seem to remember the same argument being given when nursery vouchers were about to be introduced - and I remember the sudden rush to build nurseries in school grounds well.

 

It will be interesting to see what happens. I just hope Marion isn't proved right!

 

Maz

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Hi Justine and welcome to the forum. Whilst I'm at it I'll say Happy Christmas too!

 

We sound very similar to you - church hall, 2 - 5 year olds and yes, it is a huge struggle with the 2 year olds and definitely has a negative impact on the older ones who can't have your time and attention for long. Its for that very reason that our youngest 2 year olds are limited to 1 or 2 sessions max per week.

 

I wholly support your campaign for another member of staff. In fact, how can you meet your ratios with 6 x 2year olds in a group of 18 children? If the ratio is 1:4 then you need 2 staff just for the 6 (can count 2 x over 3's there for the 2 staff), leaving 10 over 3's for the remaining staffmember...... just wondered. I'm sure you're on top of it, probably with parent helpers etc. Not checking up on you, honest, I know how hard it is! Could you ask your committee to consider what happens with 3 staff and 2 children need changing, or one is sick, or if you have outside play how you could possibly manage without an extra member of staff? Just a thought....

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