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Ok I've Bitten The Bullet


mrsbat
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Please can you tell me if the below makes sense, and also if it sounds a reasonable fee to charge?

 

If your child will be aged 3 before 1st September 2009 they will be entitled to 5 x 2.5 hour funded sessions per week. Up until now, Pre-School have subsidised the extra time that the children attend, unfortunately we just don't have the funds to do this any longer so it is with regret that we need to introduce a small fee to cover staff wages etc for the extra time the children spend with us.

If your child is funded the new costs will be:

Main Hall sessions

Mondays and Fridays 9-1 - £2 per session

Tuesday + Wednesday 9-12 and Thursday 12-3 - £1 per session

Thursday am – This is a 2.5 hour session so there will be no extra fee.

You are of course entitled to take your children out of the session after their 2.5 hours but you must tell us this at the beginning of term please and it will need to run all through the term so that we can ensure we always have the correct ratio of staff to children.

 

does anyopne get parents taking their children out after the 2.5 hours?

 

Hope some of it makes sense lol

 

Thanks x :o

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The costs seem very reasonable. The only thing I'd query would be that you are charging £1 for an extra half hour on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings and Thursday afternoons and £2 for an extra hour and a half on a Monday morning. Would the parents notice this difference or do you think they would just accept them as the cost? Everything else seems fine though.

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agree may be better to have £1.00 for every extra half hour... then no disputes over wanting Mondays as it is cheaper..

 

you could word it as such too..

eg any additional time over the 2.5 hour funded session will be charged at £1.00 per half hour.

 

ensure they also know about payment in advance,

what will happen when / if they fail to pay,

how to pay,

when,

to whom,

notice period for change in sessions,

how to do this, ( I suggest in writing, we had some constantly change their minds)

 

charge is more than reasonable... in our area it is usually 1.75 per half hour

 

Inge

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Thank you both :o I've now changed it to 75p per half hour, I know it is low but it is still more than we were getting (we were getting nothing) also we have quite a few "disadvantaged" families in the setting who send their children to 5 funded sessions and I know they would find it hard to find more than that. I'm too much of a soft touch I think xD

 

The only thing I do wonder though, is it ok to do this being as the funded rate we receive is £3.30 per hour? thoretically (sp?) I guess it should actually be £1.65 per half hour??

I won't get penalised by having the low rate or anything will I?

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Please can you tell me if the below makes sense, and also if it sounds a reasonable fee to charge?

 

You are of course entitled to take your children out of the session after their 2.5 hours but you must tell us this at the beginning of term please and it will need to run all through the term so that we can ensure we always have the correct ratio of staff to children.

 

I would be more inclined to say that if they wish to reserve a place for their child during the non funded time they must do so by the last day of the previous term in order to allow time for arranging staff cover. I would also say that once they have made this arrangement it must be paid for whether it is used or not or maybe give a notice period as Inge said. Just so that they are very clear about their obligations.

 

I also would charge the same hourly rate throughout.

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Seems fine to me but I think you will need to make it explicity clear to parents that they can take their child out after 2.5 hours and that they don't have to do the extra hours and pay for them. Where I am "top-up" isnt allowed.

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But the extra fee isn't as a top up - its payment for the time the child attends that isn't funded ie over the 2 1/2 hours.

 

We've been doing this for years and no one complains (or has removed their child after the funded time). We also have a letter from County which the parents all have had to make it clear that no top up fees are allowed.

 

Aren't you on the 15 hours a week yet? Not even from September?

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But the extra fee isn't as a top up - its payment for the time the child attends that isn't funded ie over the 2 1/2 hours.

 

We've been doing this for years and no one complains (or has removed their child after the funded time). We also have a letter from County which the parents all have had to make it clear that no top up fees are allowed.

 

Aren't you on the 15 hours a week yet? Not even from September?

If we are on the 15 hours flexi funding from september I haven't been told xD:o

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Would your parents stick to picking their children up on time after the 2.5 hrs? Or would it be better to say start the children later in the morning so that all the children finish at the same time?

 

Whichever way you do it there is a disruption, but thinking about my own particular group's routine, I would prefer they came in later rather than being picked up earlier.

 

I don't think it would be viewed as a top up fee, but the way I have chosen to do it is 12.5 hours continuous attendance before paying anything towards extra time they are with us.

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I don't think it would be viewed as a top up fee, but the way I have chosen to do it is 12.5 hours continuous attendance before paying anything towards extra time they are with us.

 

I was wondering whether it could be seen in that way so that if parent's chose to do 2x3 hour sessions, 1x4 hour session and 1x2.5 hour session they would not have to pay any extra. Is that allowed?

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Hi Mrsbat

 

I do feel your letter of explanation sounds very 'apologetic' - you don't have anything to apologise for!

 

I would charge the 'extra' at the same hourly rate as your NEG - I think that would be easy to 'justify' and 'explain'.

 

Will parents be able to use their 12.5 hours in varying ways - i.e. over three days insted of five?

 

It probably varies in different areas (I don't know this) but in Kent - parents are able to claim for 'hours' rather than 'sessions'.

 

Hope that is useful

Sunnyday

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Hi Mrsbat

 

I do feel your letter of explanation sounds very 'apologetic' - you don't have anything to apologise for!

 

I would charge the 'extra' at the same hourly rate as your NEG - I think that would be easy to 'justify' and 'explain'.

 

Will parents be able to use their 12.5 hours in varying ways - i.e. over three days insted of five?

 

It probably varies in different areas (I don't know this) but in Kent - parents are able to claim for 'hours' rather than 'sessions'.

 

Hope that is useful

Sunnyday

Hi, thanks sunnyday :) as yet we don't have the flexible funding so hours do need to be claimed in their 2.5 hour blocks :)

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Mrsbat - me again!

 

Do you have any other settings close to you - how do your charges compare?

 

Also just to explain my comment about 'being apologetic' - experience has taught me that if you start with an apology it gives parents the feeling that they have something to feel 'aggrieved' about and in this case they really don't!

 

I would simply head my notification with something like - FEES AND FUNDING SEPTEMBER 2009.

 

Sunnyday

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My pre-school is open from 9 - 12 (3 hours) daily, five days a week and I had not been charging for the extra half hour each day for the funded children. Almost two years ago I made the decision to stop "subsidising" them and gave parents the choice of either 2.5 hours (funded) or 3 hours and pay £1.50 for the extra half hour that the government did not fund. Two parents opted to just have 2.5 hours and came at 11.30 to collect the children. After about a month they changed their minds and stayed until 12noon and paid the £1.50 daily. I wrote to parents explaining the situation and enclosed the leaflet from EY that clearly explains about funding and what parents are expected to pay for, over and above the 2.5 hours. It was probably the worst letter I have had to write as I am quite generous, easy going and .....soft ...... as some have said. But, the thought of all those thousands of pounds I had lost due to letting them come for an extra 2.5 hours a week free, made me make that decision. After all, I am a business and I have staff, rent, bills, etc to cover.

A few years ago I went on a business course and they told me never to apologise for increasing the fees. I always started off the letter saying "It's with regret......." or "I am sorry to say that....." . I don't do that now, our Fees, Funding and Payment policy states that the fees will increase yearly. There is always an increase to cover rent rises, etc.

I am in the scheme that starts in September - offering 15 hours flexible funding. I have been to a conference that explained everything but still have not had anything that I can use to explain the new system to parents. They said that they would publish something before the end of term - hope it's not going to be much longer, has anyone heard of anything similar - have I missed it?

 

Sue J

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we offer 2.5 sessions and full day care, children who access the 2.5 NEG funded bit go home at lunch time and the others stay, then another lot come in the afternoon to join the all day children for their 2.5 NEG funded bit. THe children who are with us all day receive 2.5 hours free term time but parents pay for the rest of the day.

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I previously used to charge the same 'hourly' rate equivilent to the funding rate for any time over and above the 2.5 hrs. I did this so that no-one could suggest that the NEG money was being used to subsidise the additional time. (illegal, I think). How can you justify that non funded times are 'cheaper' in terms of running costs to the setting than funded times, especially if ratio's remain the same?

 

Parents, if working, can claim WFTC to help towards the cost of non NEG times attended by their child.

 

I've attached an example invoice which shows how the various rates information can be included on one sheet. If you click on the figures it shows you the calculation.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Peggy

invoice_example.xls

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I previously used to charge the same 'hourly' rate equivilent to the funding rate for any time over and above the 2.5 hrs. I did this so that no-one could suggest that the NEG money was being used to subsidise the additional time. (illegal, I think). How can you justify that non funded times are 'cheaper' in terms of running costs to the setting than funded times, especially if ratio's remain the same?

 

Parents, if working, can claim WFTC to help towards the cost of non NEG times attended by their child.

 

 

I agree with you about the subsidy - with half my head! xD The other half says 'why should I have my fee structure dictated to me by County, who have no idea of my running costs etc' We charge a fee which is lower than the NEG, but it is what we would need to charge without the NEG (if you get my meaning) If County want to give us more than that, well that's up to them. :o

 

I try to keep my fees as low as I can as we are in a deprived area and about 60% of our parents aren't working so can't claim WFTC. In lots of cases, these are the children who really benefit from Preschool, so I'd rather they were able to come.

 

We were audited by County last autumn and it didn't turn anything up, there was no suggestion that what we are doing isn't legal. I think if our fees were higher than NEG it's illegal to 'top up', but I'm not sure about the other way round.

Edited by Cait
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so long as you can justify the cost for the extra time it is up to you what to charge.. but you must ensure that the cost for that time could be self sufficient and not rely on the NEG to pay/ subsidise some of it... which is why many charge same as NEG.

 

It is as others have said not a top up but charge for additional childcare, just as nursery or all day settings do, it is the phrase 'top up' which became used in different ways and causes confusion.

 

Inge

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