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Fining Late Pick-ups


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Hi All,

We have a couple of families who continually turn up late to collect their children but all of the offending families only use NEF; does anyone know if it's legal to set up a fining system?

For one family, they have twins, the children will be dropped off at obscure times (have repeatedly said how difficult this is for the children as they're quite withdrawn already) and are then collected between 5 and 15 mintues late.

We run a lunch club so staff are around but only 2 which means we go over ratios if we already have 15 or 16 for lunch. The families who are late at the end of the day, deliberately so in my opinion as they live very locally, 5 minutes walk away, but have other children to collect from school so have to wait around for 20 minutes, as do lots of other families.

 

We have asked EYFSA (!) and other departments but have yet to receive an answer.

Any information appreciated, as always!

Sam

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We have it written into a policy and also make it clear that we 'reserve the right' to charge. Yes, I most definitely think you can charge - you need to cover a salary for staff who are held up. If they've let us know it will be happening, we don't mind so much - it's just the bald assumption that we won't mind that annoys me.

 

As for the lateness, we lock the door at 9.10 and they have to ring the bell. Then the children are ushered in but parents not - as this can unsettle children who have just settled after Mum left. This treatment generally at least makes them think - they don't get the additional kiss and cuddle with their child, or get to choose their book or what they are going to do, or help them register. Tough!

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Hi Sam

 

Well obviously I'm no expert, but in my opinion I would think it is legal to make a charge since you are in effect providing a service for these families over and above the agreement that you have in place to care for their child. If you think about someone going into a pub and ordering and paying for a pint of beer, they wouldn't expect to be able to drink half a pint and then go and fill it up again and not pay for the extra beer, would they? In effect this is exactly what your parents are doing!

 

It is very serious if you are going over ratios to care for these children, and I'm sure Mrs Ofsted would take a dim view of this if she happened to be visiting when it happened. You may need to develop some kind of contingency plan to cater for these instances, and perhaps it is time to write to your parents explaining that if they are late to collect their child then you are in breach of the welfare standards and will have no alternative but to make a charge to cover the extra wages necessary to maintain the safety of children in your care.

 

Good luck - this is one of those situations that we all face from time to time, but needs careful handling if you are to preserve goodwill whilst ensuring that you continue to meet your legal obligations.

 

Let us know how things go - and what the answer from the experts is!

 

Maz

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It's worrying enough now but when we introduce the new times in september, with flexible drop off and pick up times (flexible in that people will have to choose to either drop off at 9am or 930) , i can't see how we'll be able to afford to cater for such families without either staff staying through their unpaid lunch or as you say, breaching the welfare standards.

 

It's one of those things isn't it, where you'd think, of course we can fine, it's our time, but if they refuse to pay you can't tell them their children can't come because they're entitled to the NEF. Such a headache. I will keep you posted.

 

And another little query, if a child is only attending say 60% of their sessions, no given reason, do you think i'd be within my rights to say "decide which 3 sessions you want, rather than the 5 you're taking up because i have a queue of children who have no sessions or very few and would like the ones your child doesn't attend".

 

Not having a bad day, just inundated with applications for children i have no room for and fed up of marking the same child absent. Might be premenstrual. Or need a cuppa.

 

Sam

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or both? I think I'd approach that parent and ask her 'straight off' if she wants the other sessions as you have a waiting list of children to take any available spaces. 'use it or lose it'. Perhaps stress that if she knows the day before that her child won't be present she should let you know as you can fill the space easily.

 

Not sure how you'd stand regarding NG though, I believe that by accepting 5 sessions a week of grant, you have to make the 5 sessions for that child. Maz will know. I've not been in that position before. I know I had to pay some back one year when a child moved house and didn't tell us!

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And another little query, if a child is only attending say 60% of their sessions, no given reason, do you think i'd be within my rights to say "decide which 3 sessions you want, rather than the 5 you're taking up because i have a queue of children who have no sessions or very few and would like the ones your child doesn't attend".

Is this a child whose family receives nursery education funding, or are they paying the full fees? If its the former then you would need to tackle it early on because otherwise if your setting were to be audited you might be questioned very closely about why you were claiming funding for session the child rarely or never attends. If its the latter then I don't see what you can do other than use gentle persuasion!

 

Maz

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Is this a child whose family receives nursery education funding, or are they paying the full fees? If its the former then you would need to tackle it early on because otherwise if your setting were to be audited you might be questioned very closely about why you were claiming funding for session the child rarely or never attends. If its the latter then I don't see what you can do other than use gentle persuasion!

 

Maz

 

 

The problem is, there's no pattern. Some weeks he comes twice, some four times, some not at all. Mums on the committee too. One of my concerns was that we'd be pulled up on an audit too, but as i said earlier, i have other children desperate for places.

We have a committee meeting tomorrow night & it's going in my preschool & admin report that it's an issue which needs addressing immediately.

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Aha! I have a formula for this (late pick-ups)

 

Step 1 - "we seem to be running on slightly different times as you are always late"

 

Step 2 - "it really must be quite disturbing for xxx to always be the last child here"

 

Step 3 - "I'm afraid we can't carry on like this - it's not fair to your son/daughter or us" - this step is always accompanied by my coldest look and believe me it's freezing!

 

Has never failed to work so far! - Hope I'm not tempting fate here!

 

I have never wanted to introduce 'fining' as I think some parents would feel that means it's OK to be late as long as you are prepared to 'cough up' - in my book it is just not acceptable.

 

Sunnyday

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we charged for late collection, stating welfare requirements ans made the charge high so they didn't just see it as a way to be late and pay for it.. ours was £5.00 per 15 mins. and we always called them after 5 mins , no reply a text message was sent.

 

as to non attendance we had to ask all parents to provide a written note for non attendance, even if they called we had to have written evidence in case of audit,

if child was away a lot they could remove funding for some of the unattended sessions..

we had a parental agreement which included regular attendance and written reason for non attendance.

If regular we would approach and make it clear that we could lose the funding so could they please ensure they attended on days booked or reduced sessions so someone else could benefit..

we found that as they did not have to pay cash to you they were more relaxed about time off than if they had to pay.

 

Inge

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forgot to mention, we also had a late collection form.. this gave details of what we had done to contact parent/collector , times of calls, etc time child should have been collected, time of actual collection, reason for late collection and parents had to sign this.. it also included a note for 1 warning and then they would be charged next time..

 

making parents complete and fill out the form actually made them think about it, and made it more obvious that we felt it unacceptable.

 

it was the parents who continually arrived late with no reason or apology that really used to irritate us.

 

Inge

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That form's a good idea Inge - it will hopefully make them realise that it's a formal agreement that they collect their child on time. Did you have it in your contract with parents too? We have it in ours.

 

And yes, £5 for 15mins is to cover the salary of 2 members of staff, so it needs to reflect that!

 

 

.....................................

 

Have you still got a copy of the form Inge? could you send me it if you have?

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Aha! I have a formula for this (late pick-ups)

 

Step 1 - "we seem to be running on slightly different times as you are always late"

 

Step 2 - "it really must be quite disturbing for xxx to always be the last child here"

 

Step 3 - "I'm afraid we can't carry on like this - it's not fair to your son/daughter or us" - this step is always accompanied by my coldest look and believe me it's freezing!

 

 

 

Yep, have done this many times & it has no effect on any of the families involved. Also, I send google mails every half term or so reminding people of our running times and the need for punctuality - no response from such families. Complaints about my asking for mens clothes for dressing up, but no acknowledgement of the lateness issues!

 

Inge, that sounds like a good workable system. I'll put it to the committee tomorrow night!

 

Thanks so much for your replies everyone - greatly appreciated.

Sam

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That form's a good idea Inge - it will hopefully make them realise that it's a formal agreement that they collect their child on time. Did you have it in your contract with parents too? We have it in ours.

 

And yes, £5 for 15mins is to cover the salary of 2 members of staff, so it needs to reflect that!

 

 

.....................................

 

Have you still got a copy of the form Inge? could you send me it if you have?

 

will have a look for form tomorrow it is on the other pc if I still have it......if not will try to get a copy from pre-school for you

 

Yes we had it in our parental agreement which they all signed before child started .

 

Inge

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I just have to know now - why have parents complained about requests for mens clothing for dressing up?

 

Sunnyday

 

Ok, you asked, are you ready for it?

 

she wondered, quite agressively, whats wrong with the tabards where children are doctors or firepeople, they are after all genderless. She was cross that i was specifically asking for mens things because we have a plethora of ladies clothes (all staff being female may have something to do with that) and felt i was being unrealsitic by having either available and should put anything gender specific away. In the same breath she complained about her girls always taking home books about mummy, which is absolute rubbish and to prove it i happened to have in my arms at the time, 3 books about daddy bears (we were doing lots of things about various bears at the time) I said if her chn were taking home the books about mummies it was because they were the books they chose. At this she spluttered about how ridiculous it was that children were given a choice at 3.

I love my job.

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Oh my goodness - you're right - I'm sorry I asked!

 

What is wrong with these people?!?

 

How often do you find yourself having completely ridiculous conversations - I know I do.

 

You do love your job really!

 

Sunnyday

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You do love your job really!

 

 

Of course i do, i love it more than anything, which is why I take it so personally when I'm having yet another ridiculous conversation! Keep us on our toes don't they!

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That form's a good idea Inge - it will hopefully make them realise that it's a formal agreement that they collect their child on time. Did you have it in your contract with parents too? We have it in ours.

 

And yes, £5 for 15mins is to cover the salary of 2 members of staff, so it needs to reflect that!

 

 

.....................................

 

Have you still got a copy of the form Inge? could you send me it if you have?

 

Form attached.. it is an old one but does all we needed it to do.. made parents think every time they were late..we gave them up to 5 mins lea-way.. but this was because the car park they use is small and often clogged at those times...

 

Inge

LATE_COLLECTION_INFORMATION_1.doc

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Form attached.. it is an old one but does all we needed it to do.. made parents think every time they were late..we gave them up to 5 mins lea-way.. but this was because the car park they use is small and often clogged at those times...

 

Inge

 

 

thank you Inge - have printed this off to take to our meeting tonight.

 

Sam

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We had 2!!! the persistent offender who was only repremanded on monday was 10 mintues late, and another who literally lives over the road who i had to phone by 10 past 3 and he stiil managed to take 10 minutes to get to us!

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