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Maintained Nursery Funding Changes


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I am the teacher in a maintained nursery and we currently trying to work out how we can extend our hours to 3 pers session instead of 2.5. We have also been told that from next year we will only be funded for each child in the setting rather than for the places available. Our LEA ensured us that we would not be put in the position that many PVI settings are where we have to take on temporary staff to cover busy times but our funding will be based on a head count in September and January so any child we have arriving between January and July we will not be funded for - how immoral is that! Can I ask are PVI settings also only funded on a head count based on numbers in September and Januray?

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welcome to our world....

 

Ever since funding started we were funded that way, and many still are, hence the constant problem of sustainability in Sept when numbers could be very low, as in our case and increasing over the year.

 

it had always been an issue for us that settings such as yours got regular income despite numbers when many PVI struggled, reducing staff hours, not knowing regular income, and our rent, insurance and outgoings always remained the same regardless on child numbers and this often caused hardship.

 

we were lucky in that we are in an area which funds mid term etc. we have to complete an adjustment form whenever a child joins or leaves us and funding is calculated appropriately and adjusted at end of term, however it can mean we have to pay back money as well as receive more!

 

but in the past yes we had to take children and received no money for them attending. ours was on a 3 year headcount, sept, Jan and april.

 

Inge

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Personally I have to raise my head here and say that I think this is a much more equitable way of funding pre-school provision - as you say, we in PVI groups have always had to juggle funds as the numbers of children ebb and flow. Our counterparts in maintained settings have been able to maintain staff and expenditure levels whether they are full or not, which has never been fair, in my view.

 

However I would question the way the funding is administered within your local authority - we complete termly headcount claims and are funded based on the number of children attending on headcount day, and only for the days the children actually attend. If parents want to increase the number of sessions their child attends after headcount day, then they have to pay the full fees. If a new child joins from another setting then the funding is adjusted accordingly - and of course as Inge says, this can mean we have to pay back money as well as receive more funding.

 

Added to this, many of us in PVI settings find that our funding does not cover our hourly fees, and so we balance the books by being able to charge extra for whatever time the child attends above the two and a half hour free entitlement. When the 15 hour entitlement comes in, we will find our 'profits' squeezed because lunch clubs will fall into the 15 hour entitlement, possibly at a rate which doesn't cover our costs. Since we don't yet know what that new hourly rate will be from September next year, we can't really plan with any confidence to ensure that our groups will be sustainable in the long term.

 

Can I also ask you a question with regard to funding, susieb and specifically about what your funding will cover? Will you have to pay for rent, building maintenance, staff salaries, training, resources etc out of the funding you receive for each child? Or does your local authority have a separate budget for the provision and upkeep of buildings, salaries etc in order to maintain their nursery education provision?

 

Sorry to hit you with all this (and especially if it seems a bit uncaring towards the situation you now find yourself in), but I think you can tell that you've started a debate about a subject that is so fundamental to what we do and how we do it, and our aspirations for the children we care for. I'll follow this thread with interest!

 

Maz

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From past budgets we've been given the amount we have been allocated in school per child has been significantly lower than the figures mentioned on the other thread but as Maz says other things come out of a Capital fund which cover building maintenance/heating etc

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From past budgets we've been given the amount we have been allocated in school per child has been significantly lower than the figures mentioned on the other thread but as Maz says other things come out of a Capital fund which cover building maintenance/heating etc

So with the advent of the single funding formula Marion, do you think your funding per child will increase in line with those enjoyed by PVI settings? And if so will the local authority have to reduce the capital fund to take account of this increase?

 

No wonder it is taking LAs some time to agree the funding levels/mechanisms for funding the 15 hour entitlement - I can just imagine the heated debates going on between colleagues as they wrestle with negotiations!

 

Maz

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as with maz and inge we have headcount days early in each of the three terms and have to adjust as necessary, sometimes paying money back. we are told by our finance people in the LEA that if children have too much time off (e.g. sickness or holidays) during term time (more than 10 days in total within one term) we may have to pay that money back too. despite the fact that we cannot help it if parents do not send the child in.

 

I have worked as a qualified teacher in a maintained primary school and so I can see both sides. working in a PVI setting has been such an eye-opener and I have to say that on the whole those working in a maintained nursery have had it good. contrary to popular opinion, many PVI settings provide very good quality experiences and have to follow exactly the same EYFS guidelines as well as being subjected to NO NOTICE Ofsted inspections, unlike schools. We have nothing to hide, but could tart up an awful lot of paper work in a two day notice period.

 

A

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Currently the rest of the school is suffering from financial cutbacks too so yes the Nursery funding will have to cover resourcing, staffing, training etc., not too sure about the building costs though as we are part of the main school building so that may be a separate budget. I have long thought the private sector have been underpaid especially since they are now expected to do the same amount of paperwork that we are in maintained settings. I know I have a degree and I also lead 3 subjects for no extra pay across the school so I feel that I earn my money.

One other thing, we are currently considering a lunch club and offering full time places, charging for additonal hours which will obviously put us in direct competition with the PVI settings, maybe this is what the LEA wants.

Finally isn't it ridiculous that I pay my dog walker £10.50 an hour to walk my dog but the LEA only considers children to be worth £3.68 an hour!

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It's always been a big bugbear that pvi settings get so much less than school nurseries. We have different staffing ratios - more salaries to find and have rent and utility bills etc to find out of our fees.

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The system is unfair to everyone. There should be a level playing field, and I feel that early years workers are undervalued and underpaid. I think that the Government is looking for childcare on the cheap, relying on the skills and dedication of caring individuals whose skills are actually priceless. What concerns me is that there is a scaling down in terms of funding, where in fact quality care should be properly valued, and financially supported.

I would like to see all under-fives care out of schools (including Reception) and in specialist early years settings where everyone is working for the best outcomes for the children, without the pressures and often inappropriate requirements from SLT in schools. I am frequently horrified by the situations some of our FSF members are in, and impressed and humbled by the expertise and quality care that they obviously give. Undervaluing the skills and qualifications in the PVI sector ultimately undervalues our young children. Times have changed, and the way professionals are trained for the early years sector also needs to change. To some extent EYPS has moved towards this, and also teachers whose QTS is an EY qualification. The pay for graduates should be appropriate whatever kind of setting they are in, and similarly for Level 3s/2's etc. As a teacher I would be very miffed if I was to be paid differently to a teacher in another key Stage, as I am as well qualified and doing a job as valuable as theirs. Similarly for graduates in the PVI settings, but because of equalities in funding this just isn't possible. The whole thing is a mess and needs sorting out.

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Whoops I meant inequalities in funding.

You could just have edited your post, Jacquie - none of us would have been any wiser!

 

I'm liking the sound of early years provision in Jacquie-land! How can we make it a reality do you think?

 

Maz

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Last week we met with our EY's team who are on the schools forum that is dealing with the single funding formla. Although this has to start next April, they still haven't decided how/what they are going to do or how we will all be funded. SEpt-Dec will be a consultation period, they say,so they need to get moving on this. As we are open for 3 hrs already & charge for the additional 30 mins, I am a bit concerned that funding next year will be less then we currently charge. When tis was put to them all we got was "Indeed, it's a problem isn't it" Susieb we have headcount days 3 times a year as well as Sept & January we have one in April as well, I would imagine yours will be the same. However as others have said we have always had funding for the amount of children that are in on headcount days, As for the epaperwork- PVI's have always had masses of the stuff- we dont have secretaries or (for most of us) photocopiers at work. Unfortunately I dont think any of this will be taken into account when the powers that be set our single fundig formula!

 

Can I just ask, someone (forgive me cant remember who) said that if a child joined them after headcount day or in middle of term then they had no funds for that child. Now I understand why this wouldnt be forthcoming from your LEAbut why not just charge the parent then? or can we not do that? Always been full on headcount day so not been in this situation

Edited by lynned55
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