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2 And Half Hour Funded Sessions Question


laura
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We have had A LOT of children arriving at our session asking us if they can just do the free sessions of 2 and a half hours. They have been to other providers in the area and they have been told that they must pay the extra half and hour as their sessions are 3 hours. Our sessions are 3 hours too but we let these children come from 9-30 to 12 or 12 to 2-30 as it is what is laid out in the EYEE.

 

I cannot believe that 4 other providers in the area don't know about this. Have also found out that somewhere else is claiming 5 sessions when the child is actually only doing 2..... They wanted to use the other 3 with us! This child is also receiving a bill for hours attended after the 2 and a half. They have been told that you can't use two sessions in one day! Er, yes you can!

 

This has really made my blood boil as we play by the rules and the other settings are getting away with it.

 

Do you all know that you must accept children for the 2 1/2 hour sessions and you can't make them top up?

And also that you can't take the funding amount off the bill if your 2 1/2 hour session costs more that the EYEE as this is effectively charging a top up?

 

I can't believe that I am the only person to know this!!!! Just want to get an idea as I am looking into what to do about this situation.

 

Thanks!

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Firstly Laura, what is the EYEE?

 

Secondly, we are allowed to charge the extra half hour we offer each day, and we are under no obligation to take children for only the 2.5 hours they receive funding for. If we did we would be out of business. However, we cannot charge extra if the funding doesn't cover our fees. Which it doesn't. Also, we can only deliver our 12.5 hours funding in 5 x 2.5 hour timeslots, even though on a Friday we are open for more than five hours.

 

I've checked and re-checked this with our local authority, so I'm sure I'm right.

 

With regard to the setting claiming five sessions when the child is only actually taking two, this is probably fraud which would come to light when you started claiming your three sessions for the child.

 

Maybe things are different in your area? I know that each Local Authority can differ in the way the NEG is administered.

 

If you feel strongly about it, I'd contact your Local Authority and raise the query with them. If you feel that your setting is abiding by the rules and others are not and your group is being disadvantaged because of this, you have every right to complain. However if I were a parent and I could choose between a group where my child could attend free of charge or pay a top up for an extra half hour I didn't want, then I know where I'd go, if standards of practice were comparable. Perhaps you could turn it to your advantage to ensure a full role and good waiting list?

 

Maz

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What part of the country are you in Laura? Your LA may have different rules than the rest of the country.

 

Of course, that doesn't get over what is happening with the other local nurseries to yourself.

 

Obviously allowing the children to come in later in the morning allows them to access just the 2.5 hrs, which is a good thing to do.

 

As you state, no one should be asked to top up the 2.5hrs. It is clear that although the funding should not be seen as a "discount", unfortunately some parents do see it as just that and LA's may still be turning a blind eye to nurseries bending the rules. For many of these nurseries, they have been forced to accept the funding rules virtually by deception - many years ago when we signed up to the funding scheme the government put forward it seemed a good thing for families, but written into the small print which most people didn't realise were restrictions which would eventually be placed on them and the way they ran their private businesses. A couple of years ago a movement began by PVI's to force the government to change their policy, but regardless how much lobbying took place the government would not change their position, and began to impose their mantra of "free must mean free" and force LA's to make sure that nurseries were towing the line.

 

For many who own properties from which they run their businesses, pay excellent wages to well qualified staff, they cannot run their nurseries on the hourly rate set by government. Many nurseries close round the country every year because the ends just don't meet any longer. It's not about making huge profits, it's about breaking even in most cases, they can't even do that at the set hourly rates. As long as LA's turn a blind eye to PVI's charging what they must, you will have the anomolies you are so concerned about.

 

Personally, in my setting I am only open for 12.5 hrs per week anyway, so any child once they receive funding gets a free place, but, if I was open for longer than this and a child attended longer than this per week, i would feel quite entitled to charge a parent for that extra time they attend, be that half an hour per day or longer.

Edited by Panders
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Our LA allows claims for up to 12 1/2 hours divided up any way but no more than 5 hours in any 1 day.

Our sessions are 2 3/4 hours so children who attend 4 are fully funded while those who attend all 5 pay the extra.

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we too were allowed to say how long sessions were and charge the extra, we were not obliged to have them stay 2.5 only, our setting could have 3 hour sessions with a charge, this could be part of our admission policy, for us the LEA did not but this restriction on the settings.. it was about the only one they didn't!

 

yeas funding has to provide the time claimed free, and cannot be used to just offset the whole bill... so we used to give a bill with free entitlement shown and charges shown individually.

 

as it was we did allow the 2.5, and 2 session in a day back to back etc. until the 3hrs kicked in for them this year. now they have 3 hour sessions, 5 a week per child. Having more flexible caused them a nightmare and losses so they had to go this way.

 

as to claiming when child not present... our parents fill in a declaration form and they have to sign for sessions claimed. therefore it would be possible for parent to say no and only sign for the ones attended. If someone was claiming the extra I would send in a claim form for the sessions with a note saying the child is now only attending 2 sessions at xxxxx and 3 with me... then it would be up to the LEA to check with parent and setting.. I have known them ring a parent to confirm the sessions booked.

 

I think I would claim for the 3 sessions and see what happens.. if I didn't have the declaration form I may ask fro a letter to confirm sessions attended and where to send with it. But I am one who really does not like to see a parent told incorrect information just to get the money. we had several around us who said they had to do 5 as it could not be split... luckily parent told us and we sorted it for them...

 

funding is one area which irritated me, as it was so different from area to area, rules, amount etc... and will be even more now with the enhancements for EYP and area of deprivation enhancements.. but I can see why they are there, and from my ex setting point of view all gratefully appreciated as we always struggled to support the children and parents, who were so good at fund-raising even though they all had very little themselves..

 

Inge

 

Inge

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Hi don't know if someone has mentioned this as I've not read all messages properly - just scanned - but in some authorities if a child attends state run provision then that provider can claim all five sessions regardless of how many the child actually wants or attends. This is due to change soon to make it a more fair playing field. If this is the case - then they (the other provider) are not breaking the law.

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This is taken from the current code of practice available to download from teachernet

 

"Providers can charge for additional services. The level of such fees is a private matter for agreement between the provider and the parent. However, parents should

not be required or expected to take up additional services in order to access a free place. Parents who do choose to take up additional services should not be charged any more for those services than parents of children who are not accessing a free place. Above all, arrangements for charging for additional services should be clear and transparent."

 

In short it doesn't matter how long your sessions are parents do not have to take up the additional hours - neither do they have to have 5 2.5 hours sessions per week.

 

Under the current rules for 12.5 hours funding parents hold all the cards.

 

I used to run a 3.5 hour session and on several occassions had parents who wanted 2.5 hours or would take 3.5 for a while and then switch to 2.5. Most of them were well informed of their right of entitlement by our local children's centre who co-incidentally had to stop advising parents they had to have a minimum of 4 hours with them - can't think how this came to light !!!!

 

Until recently if parents wanted more than 1 2.5 hour session per day we had to have a break of 0.5 of an hour between them - totally impractical.

 

As of September we do 2 x 2.5 hour sessions a day and parents may choose to have an optional setting provided snack for which we charge.

 

If parents choose a maintained setting for 5 sessions eg. school in the morning and nursery/childminder in the afternoon the maintained session gets first dibs on the funding.

 

Although our LA were sympathetic to parents not utilising whole sessions over 2.5 hours it is a case of hands tied.

 

If it works this is the link to the download

 

Link to EEF Code of Practice

Edited by SueJ
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I've just followed this link - but in it it says on page 5, this code of practice reamains in force until 08-09 and then it will be replaced by new statutory guidance.

 

Has anyones else got anything about this? This something I'm a little worried about as I think we (as a settling) are treading in muddy waters, but owner says not!!

xx

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As far as I know this has not been superceded and there is a new guide out download only at the moment (over 70 pages) called

Implementing an Early Years Single Funding Formula Practice Guidance which I suspect will go someway towards replacing the current guidance.

 

I have yet to plough through it ready for meetings with LA

 

The link to this one is below (i hope)

 

Implementing an Early Years Single Funding Formula Practice Guidance download link

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Thank-you for that link....

I think I may send it to my 'owner' they seem to want to 'bury head in sand' rather face the issue.

 

In the meantime I suppose I have a little reading to do this week-end!!

 

xxxxxxxxx

When you have read it Louby loo - please condense into no more than six sentences and let me know what it says!

 

Sorry - that sounds soooo flippant - but I for one can't keep pace!!!

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When you have read it Louby loo - please condense into no more than six sentences and let me know what it says!

 

Sorry - that sounds soooo flippant - but I for one can't keep pace!!!

 

 

Well I started to read it - and then got cross asking myself 'why the **** am I reading this as unpaid work on a friday evening while the owner does nothing!!!. I'm going to ring my LA on Monday for advise before putting my claim in.

 

I'm not very good at 'online' reading so I'm going to send of for hard copy that I can highlight and write all over!

 

xxxxx

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Hi

 

Thanks for all your replies. Our pre-school is in Linclonshire. We are allowed to have 2 funded sessions in one day. The EYEE is the Early Years Education Entitlement.

 

I have spoken to welfare as I am still not happy. I have been told that settings have had a phone call to say they can't ask parents to pay for anything over the 2 and half hours if they don't want to attend.

 

The funding does not cover our 2 and a half hour session fee so we make a loss. I worked out that over the 14 week term we lose nearly £25 per child and we have 28 funded children and 15 more to get funding after Christmas! Also for those doing the 2 1/2 hours we still have the staff in at the normal hours.

 

In July we had a contract to sign in order for us to get the funding. The first page and last page both state the rules of funding. Obviously most places round here din't read it.

 

After speaking to welfare they appear to be just putting out an article in the next newsletter. I don't personally feel this is enough. When I spoke to them about the setting 'topping up' she just said it is up to the parent to speack to their setting. How can they do that when they don't know the rules!!!

 

As for the setting claiming funding for a child when he doesn't attend the sessions, the parents went in and asked to speak to the manager. They had not done the headcount and so said they wouldn't claim for it. I wonder how many more children they are doing this for..... Welfare didn't seem overly concerned. Just said that if 2 settings were claiming for the same child and the totals didn't add up they would check.

 

I want to know why someone isn't down there checking parent declaration forms against what they are claiming for! I am still not happy with the outcome. Can you tell!

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What I want to know is why do we as providers have to do all this paperwork, chasing around after parents who don't understand the system or try to claim more than their entitlement and then we end up phoning other settings and the LA to try and sort it out?

Why can't the parents miss us out and deal directly with the LA's and vice versa? - let the LA's do all the checking up etc. and then just send us the money - a simple checklist of names sent to us to verify we have the child is on our books and is attending the sessions the parent has told the LA. Is that too easy?

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Obviously this system would be great for PVI's and in fact, when the scheme started 13/14 years ago this was what happened. Parents were given vouchers from the government to spend as they wished.

 

One can only assume that the man hours were too expensive and that is why it was handed over to the providers to do! We take all the risks, we collect most of the info for LA's and the government want to get away with paying us peanuts and tell us how to run our businesses

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Hi

 

I have been following this thread with some interest, we are a new privately owned Pre-School and at present are offering 5 2 1/2 hour sessions a week. However I have had quite a few parents asking if we could extend to three hours and they would be happy to pay an additional fee for the extra half hour. Really not sure if I want to go down this route as collecting the additional fees would involve more admin/time for myself, and if not all parents wanted to do it then we would have the disruption of some children leaving at 11.30 and some at 12.00!!

So I am considering offering a lunch club on certain days, parents would pay a minimal amount and provide a packed lunch for their child.

Has any other setting offered this? Not sure if this is the way to go, or if I should continue to just offer the 2 1/2 hour session until next September.

I have received a letter from Essex County Council with regards the new funding, and I have to say have read it twice now and I'm still none the wiser!!

Any advice anyone.

 

Kristina

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We have always offered this. Some children go home at 11.30 others stay untill 12.00. Some come in at 11.30 have their lunch and stay untill 2.30. Its not a problem to sort out because a list of homes/lunches is on the table. Also the children get to know what they are supposed to be doing.I tthink children benefit so much because they stay to lunch.

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We have always offered this. Some children go home at 11.30 others stay untill 12.00. Some come in at 11.30 have their lunch and stay untill 2.30. Its not a problem to sort out because a list of homes/lunches is on the table. Also the children get to know what they are supposed to be doing.I tthink children benefit so much because they stay to lunch.

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They should go back to vouchers. My mum (who is the pre-school manager) would get many a person knocking on the door saying 'What do I do with these duck'! At least then ALL parents were aware that they could get funding. It amazed me to have someone arrive this week after a friend told them about funding. The child could have been receiving funding since easter. On all our posters and leaflets it says about the funding but not everyone can read them.

 

We are having a welfare audit on Tuesday as are all settings in Lincolnshire this term. You would think they would come armed with a list of who we have said is being funded and how many sessions then check that off against our parent declaration forms and registers. Simple I would have thought.

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Hi

 

I have been following this thread with some interest, we are a new privately owned Pre-School and at present are offering 5 2 1/2 hour sessions a week. However I have had quite a few parents asking if we could extend to three hours and they would be happy to pay an additional fee for the extra half hour. Really not sure if I want to go down this route as collecting the additional fees would involve more admin/time for myself, and if not all parents wanted to do it then we would have the disruption of some children leaving at 11.30 and some at 12.00!!

So I am considering offering a lunch club on certain days, parents would pay a minimal amount and provide a packed lunch for their child.

Has any other setting offered this? Not sure if this is the way to go, or if I should continue to just offer the 2 1/2 hour session until next September.

I have received a letter from Essex County Council with regards the new funding, and I have to say have read it twice now and I'm still none the wiser!!

Any advice anyone.

 

Kristina

 

Hi Kristina

I used to run a 3.5 hour session 9 to 12.30 and offered a lunch club from 12.30 to 1.30 but the uptake was very poor as no one wanted to pay the small fee for the extra hour on top of the one hour top up fee. At the time we couldn't offer back to back sessions. Now we can do back to back 2.5 hour sessions I do 9.00 to 11.30 and 11.30 to 2.00 with children in the second session bringing lunch and the uptake for this is much better (probably because it's free!!).

 

Given that the number of hours rises to 15 in Sept 2010 you might be better off considering doing 5 x 3 hour sessions then. I think I will stick at 9.00 until 2.00 so that I can offer a mix eg 3 x 5 hours or 5 x 3 hours or mix and match but how it will pan out is anyone's guess.

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