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Low Numbers!


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Hi, just wondering if this is a general thing across the country or just us....... our morning sessions are fine but the afternoon we are low on children, so low I've had to reduce 2 members of staff hours :o

 

We lost 33 children to school and it's been a struggle to replace them this year.

How's everyone else doing?

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Hi!!

 

I am in a school LA nursery in the morning and we have 9 children this term!!

 

In the private provision in the afternoon we also have 9 on our books. although 2 morning children will be staying all day to boost our numbers to 11!!!!

 

Never known morning nursery numbers be so low!!!!!!

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I remember that being a perennial problem when I had my nursery - September was always the quietest time. I just had to hope that I'd be bursting at the seams during the summer term to balance things out!

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Our numbers are actually a few higher than last year, ranging from 15 to 11 per morning. The year before last was low, but the following year we had quite a few young ones who are still with us this year. We had 8 start last week.

 

Hope numbers pick up soon for you.

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We lost 40 children to school in July. And to be honest in early July I was beginning to worry about numbers. We had quite a few on the waiting list but they were all very young and only wanted 1 or 2 sessions per week. We allocated days etc and started back on Wednesday 3rd September. We are now full 3 mornings (Wed,Thur,Fri) with 36 children in each session. We are open morning and afternoon on Mon and Tue and have quite a few spaces on these days, but it just means that later on in the year ie after christmas and easter we will be able to offer sessions which we haven't been able to for the past 2 years.

 

As said September is always quieter, but I work out our wages/rent to cover the year and by the end of the year we are expecting to be full to exploding!!

 

What we all require is a good old fashioned power cut!! xD That should fill our spaces back up again!! (Well in 3 years anyway!!) :o

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We seem to be fine, currently running at near full only 2 - 4 spaces depending upon days and one day that we are completely full. Next year will be a shock we lose 25 children to school, I am hoping most of our now 2 years old will take up more spaces and we get a good waiting list going.

 

I think some parents will suddenly realised that their 3/4 years old are able to get NEF a year before they go to school.

 

 

Beth

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Also low, against last year , but not against our usual September intake.. , only one not turned up, usually more,

 

but we don't have any currently for admission through the year, we hope once word gets around and the piece goes in the paper about longer hours we will get a few booked in...

 

Inge

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what we do to boost our numbers for the autumn term is pick up children at the local school who only do mornings in Reception and have them for lunch and the afternoon. Or our other school starts children on 2 full days or 3 full days so we have the children on the days that they don't go to school.

Parents have to pay for the sessions but if they are working and used to haveing full days its difficult to go back to just mornings.

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We must have had a power cut in our area - almost full and 8 children all have birthdays within the space of two weeks!!!!

 

Was there a local football team doing well? sometimes its 'celebrations' that causes blips in the birthrate xD

 

We had a family of 3 children all with birthdays in Christmas week-turned out dad's birthday was in March :o

 

In our setting reception is busting at the seams with 2 clases of 30 and 16 on the waiting list but nursery is very poor with 15/15 when it should be 30/30 and they've had some 'no-shows' from that

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Our numbers are quite low. We also had 36 leave for school. But on Friday we had four viewings, so they are trickling back in. The owner was a bit concerned as this is her first time running a nursery. But I explained it happens every September and then by October numbers are back up there again.

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Guest peekleeds

I work for a group of 3 pre-schools. Our setting is very busy, we do 5 sessions a week and once all our september starters are in we will only have 5 or 6 spaces until next sept. However our other settings a few miles away are quiet and staff may have to drop hours. Hopefully their numbers will pick up soon.

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Our numbers are always low in September. I work out the budget based on the whole year so the income from summer term subsidises September. We take new children all year round though the bulk are due to start next week. It looks as if it might be a big year this year, there are nearly as many starting as left in July, though of course they are generally doing fewer sessions yet.

 

Al

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Hi all,

 

Same here! Schools in our area have annual intakes only in September so our numbers plummet too. Whilst schools can take reception children the year in which they are five, we can't take 2year olds the year in which they are 2, they have to wait until their birthday arrives! Numbers usually pick up a bit more in January and then again after Easter. Although this is usually due to existing children taking up more places as they become funded.

 

We find we have to close two or three afternoon sessions in September and open them again later in the year, and cope with lower numbers at some morning sessions too, luckily, our staff don't mind the fluctuating working conditions. It is necessary to make sure you have enough money to cover the shortfall for a term or so, contingency plans?

 

What happened to the good old days of 3 termly intakes? We didn' seem be so obsessed with juggling finances as far as I recall (and, sadly, my recall goes back a fair way!)

 

Cally

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Guest MaryEMac

Our numbers are down this year and we have had to close our afternoon sessions. A lot of children are only accessing 2 or 3 sessions instead of the 4 mornings that we offer. We are having to do a lot of advertising and are thinking of starting a lunch club but so far only 5 parents have expressed an interest. There is a large estate being built in the village so I am hoping that all the new owners have pre-school children.

I was expecting this as we have had quite a few good years, so there had got to be a lean year at some point.

 

Mary

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took the decision today to close for 3 afternoons from next week hopefully we will start again after xmas. we also told our student to look for another placement as we are unable to pay the £85 per week . the other sessions are not full but our out of school club is full with a waiting list, it is bizarre we have always been able to stay afloat and juggle till we fill up at xmas. has anyone else done this and how do you make this fair across all staff? I have no idea how to work this out I have a full staff meeting Thursday evening any advice would be really welcome

sue

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whenever we closed sessions we reduced staff by firstly asking if anyone was willing to reduce hours and then by reducing everyone equally, Unless someone was only working one and then we tried to keep them on the same.. became very complicated and does every year as we always have this in September but increase as year goes on.. It is in the contracts the fact that there is no minimum hours worked and it is very flexible.. we have been lucky in that everyone understands but wishes it did not need to happen.

 

This year has been one of the ones where all staff hours have been reduced by 50% from September.. one of the worst for a long time.. we are hoping that we will increase hours as soon as we can.. we are still open all day 5 days .. our rent remains the same if we are open or closed during the day... a deal we have with the church which gives us a cheaper rent overall...

 

Time will tell .. but so far so good.. lots have added sessions now they can stay all day... but we are still in the chop and change sessions period we get every September, made worse by the all day bit... it will get sorted out ............eventually.....

 

Inge

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I though I was doing ok until today when I had to rework the numbers. I though there is 10 spaces only to turn out that there is now 14 spaces, only 1 day is now full. Once my new starters/staff tema are settled I will let parents know that there are spaces for children. I recon by xmas we will be full again, quiet a few children are due to start this term.

 

 

Beth

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thanks for your advice Inge will use this at my meeting

our contracts are for specific hours so will have to negotiate

sue

 

 

Thought I'd join the 'early brigade'

 

Similar to Inge, On my contracts I used to put the staff hours as between 16 - 35 per week, to be reviewed each term.

 

qualification ratio was also considered when reducing staff hours, to meet requirments, a little incentive fr all staff to gain qualifications.

 

Peggy

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hadnt thought about staff qualifications Peggy . We changed our contracts last year to state specific/minimum hours so staff new what was expected of them as we do a lot of rotas because we also run the before and after school club. we are open from 7.30-6.00 with staff doing various shifts etc we are a small setting with 12 pre schoolers and 16 after schoolers but we do a lot of different types of care nightmare to organise 2 walking buses from 2 schools wrap around for school nurseryplus sessional pre-school and lunch club. it is our wrap around that is letting us down this yr as nursery is under subscribed this has a knock on effect for us. we hope this is just a temporary thing.

Staff really not happy that they will get reduced hours if our holiday club had been busier we could have cushioned it for a while however we cushioned the holiday club this time instead. really not looking forward to the meeting Im not very assurtive and fail the managment criteria for this bit of the job.

sorry for droning on just need to get it off my chest

sue

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terrible spelling sorry

sue

 

 

No worry re spelling sue,have you seen mine :o You drone away, I hope it made you feel better. I felt exhausted just reading all the logistic you have to deal with. It really is hard, especially when you are the person that has to make these difficult decisions, then relay your decisions to people who you know have been loyal and committed to you. I once had to make two staff redundant, an awful experience. xD

I think honesty, a much forward planning as possible and letting staff know you do appreciatte them but financial considerations are often difficult but necessary. If they know you are doing your best for them that is all they can expect. maybe in future make it clear at interview, so there are no surprises, so to speak.

I eventually closed fue to low numbers, when my staff realised how serious the situation was they then came up with lots of advertising / recruiting children ideas, when their job was on the line they were really motivated to 'sell' our service to the wider community. Maybe this is something you could talk about with your staff, get a real spirit of everyone promoting the setting in different ways, it's most probably amazing that many families don't know about all your services.

 

good luck,

 

Peggy

 

p.s. I had other reason than low numbers for closing, so unfortunately for my staff their publicity ideas were a bit too little too late and not the sole answer to my problems :(

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