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Holidays-do You Still Claim Grant Funding


Motherclanger
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Hi !

I wonder if anyone can help ?

At our community run preschool we always claim the nursery grant even for the time that some of the parents take their child out for holidays. Are we allowed to do this or do we have to ammend the hours at the end of the term and give the funding back ? What do you do ?

I ask as we had our chairperson say that because her son would be away for a week next month that she was going to use those hours to pay for the shortfall in funding we have at the end of term. I am now completely confused ! (which I know doesn't take much to do !) the parent asked us for five mornings a week, we only open from 9-12, mon-fri.

Not sure how to resolve this problem we do not have a fees policy ! It will also really mess up our budget if we have to return funding because of holidays, we have two going on holiday this term at the moment.

I don't know if the grant funding code of practise vary from county to county or not but I'm in Somerset.

Any help or suggestions will be much appreciated.

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You can only claim for the number of hours your child will be attending over the term. It is my understanding that if you know that a child will be absent for a holiday, that you cannot claim these hours. In the past we have telephoned to enquire and have been told that the amount would be subtracted from the next payment. It should not affect your budget for this term, but will have a knock on affect next term.

I always encourage parents not to take children out during term time - they can't do it at school, so why do it for us.

If you don't declare the absence (well a day or two here and there isn't worth it) and it is picked up in audit, you could lose your entitlement to claim Nursery Grant in the future.

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Not sure how to resolve this problem we do not have a fees policy ! It will also really mess up our budget if we have to return funding because of holidays, we have two going on holiday this term at the moment.

Well. If you don't have a fees policy then it gets a bit blurry round the edges - does it say anywhere on your registration form that fees are payable when the child is absent? If not I'd advise you do this as soon as you can - I can't imagine many groups could survive if they had to return fees or funding for when children are absent! I'd also add something about giving six week's (or whatever you decide is appropriate) notice of withdrawing a child if you haven't done that either. And a word about this: I've come unstuck recently with parents failing to give notice at the end of term which means I then can't claim NEG for the beginning of the next term. So I've just changed my terms and conditions to say that the six weeks' notice will be at the full published fee rate and not just at the 'top up' rate for the extra half hour!

 

Also I guess a lot depends on how your Authority gives out the funding - we have to declare our term dates and we receive funding based on the number of weeks we're open. If we open outside of those claimed weeks then parents must pay the full published rates for any extra sessions owed. Perhaps someone from Somerset can explain how your system works? I take it you are open for more than 38 weeks a year and the Chair is saying she can use the 'unspent' funding from her holiday week to 'pay' for these extra sessions?

 

Hopefully she doesn't intend to use this for the extra half hour you provide each day - as far as I'm aware unless your Borough is one of the pathfinder authorities for the flexible 15 hour funding, then the funding has to be taken in 2.5 hour chunks.

 

Perhaps your local Early Years advisory team is the best source of advice here - but if word gets out that the Chair is doing this then you'll have a queue of parents wanting to do the same! So you're quite right to want to sort it out!

 

Good luck, Motherclanger - let us know how things go!

 

Maz

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I always encourage parents not to take children out during term time - they can't do it at school, so why do it for us.

 

You have to remember that holidays are cheaper during term time though! And I've always taken the view that parents should make the most of being able to take their children on holiday during term time while they can before their child gets to school!

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You have to remember that holidays are cheaper during term time though! And I've always taken the view that parents should make the most of being able to take their children on holiday during term time while they can before their child gets to school!

i agree with you mrs weasley the cheaper the better while they can go in term time before they start school i don't see the problem with it.!! it was the cheepest holiday we ever had with 5 of us!!

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you need to contact your LEA for clarification. they are all so different....

we did and are allowed some holiday time, up to 2 weeks in a year where we can claim the funding.. parents have to provide a letter detailing time off and reason why...

also you do need to set up a fees policy to clarify this, and any extra costs and when parents need to pay... when we were open longer hours than the funding we stated the weeks/ hours funding would cover and any outside this parents had to pay. This prevented the taking a week off mid term and not paying for the extra hours assuming the cost was covered by the week off...

 

This is all made so much harder as it is the Chair who is leading this, perhaps a costing of money lost by not paying and ask how will you cover this loss may help explain the need for the income.

 

Inge

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We claim on headcount day, we count up how many children on the books who are eligible for NEG and claim for them. Sometimes children leave/arrive after headcount day but this evens out. If a funded child leaves I give he days away to other funded children I haven't claimed for.

 

Our fees policy states that sessions are to be paid for if child is absent/on holiday.

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If you are open ie paying rent, wages, etc and providing a service that your chairperson does not choose to take for a week, she still needs to pay for it, schools do not get their budgets cut by the amount of weeks a child is absent or on holiday, The same goes for if a child is ill, you are open - its their choice ....you are providing a service...we have a termly headcount day if a child is registered and attending on the week of the headcount day then they are funded for that half term even if they move away the week after. I cant see it being much different in Somerset as the terms and conditions of NEG are statutory, I think your chairperson is very cheeky....dont let her get way with it :o But as mentioned before you need a fees policy, SO THAT YOU CAN NIP THIS IN THE BUD!!!!

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I agree with the majority of posts.

 

Our fees policy states that fees are still due even if the child is absent through illness or holiday and we treat funding in the same way. After all education isn't compulsary at this age as it is in schools so it is the parent's choice and I believed that funding was based on the place applied for and not how many sessions were attended.

 

Our LA states in the funding letter that 'A claim should not be made for any child who has not attended on a regular basis prior to the headcount date, even if a signed parent/carer form has been received, unless it has been established that there is a clear intention for the child to subsequently attend (e.g. where a child has only been absent because of illness or a family holiday). If in doubt, providers should check with the parent in order to ascertain their intentions before including a child on the headcount return.

 

Hope this helps (cheeky chair I say!)

 

Rachel

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Thanks for your replies !

I'm still a bit confused ! We are a pathfinder area so have been opened for 3 hours a day since, gosh can't remember now but it seems a long time ! We normally work out our funding per child by how many days the parents wants x how many hours we are open each day (3 hrs)x how many weeks in the term. For example this term we are opened for 12 weeks (180hrs) but grant funding is only for 165hrs this term, this makes a shortfall of a week (15hrs). So the chairperson thinks that because her sons having a week off then she can use those hours to fund the last week, unfortunately the grant funding for spring stops on the 31st of march (tues of last week) and the rest of week is in summer term funding,(1-3rd April) I'm assuming that you can't transfer one terms funding to another ?

Sorry if I'm being a bit slow but writing it down helps me take it in !

We do have a bit in our prospectus about having to pay for days that you have book your child in for, but I don't know if this would apply to grant funded children.

Oh well not really my problem now as i'm no longer the supervisor, ( left end of the summer and now back as deputy)but I guess i'd get the blame if anything wasn't right with the grant funding before.

I've been asking for a fees policy for nearly a year, but couldn't get the committee to decide anything to write one, I wrote a new health and safety policy 18 months ago, then updated it in september and still they have not even looked at it ! AGRRRRH !

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I'm still a bit confused ! We are a pathfinder area so have been opened for 3 hours a day since, gosh can't remember now but it seems a long time !

Well in that case Motherclanger, you definitely need to speak to whoever at your authority is in charge of administering the NEG funding. It will largely depend on the funding model your authority uses and there will be clear guidelines on whether you can carry over funding from one term to the next, or use it in the way your Chair hopes to.

 

If you have something in your prospectus that says days booked but not taken must be paid for then that must include the Chair's children too!

 

How frustrating for you!

 

Maz

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Hi motherclanger

I am the supervisor of a pre-school which opens the same hours as you and in an authority with 15 hours per week NEF and the same problem with term times and funding 08/09 because of the financial year. ie am in same boat! We can claim funding for children on holiday or sick as long as we have a written holiday/sickness form. This was discussed recently with our funding people at the LA and in fact we got a grade 1 (v good) in our last financial inspection. We also have in our welcome pack confirmation that notice must be given for leavers of 4 weeks or they will be charged at the funding rate (if they qualify).

I think we all need to realise that everything must be in writing these days both on the setting and parents side to cover all eventualities.

Hope this helps but agree I think you should check with your own LA.

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Hi !

I wonder if anyone can help ?

At our community run preschool we always claim the nursery grant even for the time that some of the parents take their child out for holidays. Are we allowed to do this or do we have to ammend the hours at the end of the term and give the funding back ? What do you do ?

I ask as we had our chairperson say that because her son would be away for a week next month that she was going to use those hours to pay for the shortfall in funding we have at the end of term. I am now completely confused ! (which I know doesn't take much to do !) the parent asked us for five mornings a week, we only open from 9-12, mon-fri.

Not sure how to resolve this problem we do not have a fees policy ! It will also really mess up our budget if we have to return funding because of holidays, we have two going on holiday this term at the moment.

I don't know if the grant funding code of practise vary from county to county or not but I'm in Somerset.

Any help or suggestions will be much appreciated.

 

You should not have to pay it back you are holding that child's place open until they return from their holiday you are not going to be able to get another child in in their place for two weeks so there would be no way of re-couping the money if you paid it back. We take children who are not yeat receiving their funding and we always let parents know that they still need to pay for their child even if they are not going to attend due to illness or holiday because we are holding their place for them and not giving it to someone else. this is the way we have always worked.

 

Debs

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  • 4 weeks later...

I know this is a bit old so hopefully resolved now, but we have parents take children out to go back to home country for 1 or 2 months and still claim the funding for them on the advice of our LEA (oddly enough parents of non-funded children take them out rather than pay 2 months fees to hold the place).

 

If they'll be back after the end of term, we do put another child in their place, and have to find room for both of them the next term. And if they're leaving before head count day, we don't claim for them, but take them as a paid child, then fill their space with a non-funded child.

 

This term, boss thought we wree getting 12 weeks funding, and realised we were getting 11 weeks after term started, so we surveyed parents to see what they wanted. Enough have said they'll pay for some sessions the last week of term (begining 30 March) that we'll be open at reduced staff, but if they don't pay, they can't come in!

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This term, boss thought we wree getting 12 weeks funding, and realised we were getting 11 weeks after term started, so we surveyed parents to see what they wanted. Enough have said they'll pay for some sessions the last week of term (begining 30 March) that we'll be open at reduced staff, but if they don't pay, they can't come in!

This sounds like a good compromise, Lyanne. It will be interesting to see whether you'll get a sudden influx of parents wanting to send their child for the extra week once they realise how close the end of term is getting!

 

Maz

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In our area funding ended on 30th March and any days from 1st April came into the next funding period... so Spring was only 11 weeks but the summer funding included the extra days before any Easter break .

 

this could be 2 days or a week before the Easter break..... did cause confusion but meant we did not have the problem of charging for any days.... maybe worth checking if this is what is happening ......

 

Inge

Edited by Inge
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In our area funding ended on 30th March and any days from 1st April came into the next funding period... so Spring was only 11 weeks but the summer funding included the extra days before any Easter break .

 

this could be 2 days or a week before the Easter break..... did cause confusion but meant we did not have the problem of charging for any days.... maybe worth checking if this is what is happening ......

 

Inge

 

I don't think ours then comes under summer (pretty sure not as other settings went back the week after we did so are running the Spring term sessions up to 3 April), but wouldn't that then create the same problem at the end of the summer term?

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I don't think ours then comes under summer (pretty sure not as other settings went back the week after we did so are running the Spring term sessions up to 3 April), but wouldn't that then create the same problem at the end of the summer term?

 

 

not necessarily, depends on term dates, we operate same dates as schools so not an issue, if you are open longer than this it will involve some payments.

 

we have to give dates open to LEA each year from 1st April to 30th march to ensure we are open enough days to claim the funding.

 

Inge

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Before we got 38 weeks funding we used to charge parents for the additional weeks we were open. We used to get 33 weeks funding but usually opened for approx 36/37 weeks. However since we went to full 38 week funding we have never had to charge parents as even if one term is funded for less weeks then we are open the following term it will even out. Of course as Inge says if you are open for longer then the standard school year (38 wks) then you would have to charge

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