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We are a committee run pre-school and we try to be flexible in the sessions that we offer parents.


We are in a village and have a room in the primary school - all our children this year have applied to join the reception class...


We are at the point now where some children attend 5 or more sessions, which is fine, but some only attend 2 or 3 but will want to increase this throughout the year.


Our problem ( :o ) is that we can see that if we take on new children now (who only want to come 2 sessions per week) those current children won't be able to increase because we'll be full and we'll end up with lots of children on roll but non can claim all their funding with us.


How to others work this? would you hold sessions for current children? or look at availablily term by term?


Any advice would be gratefully received!


I feel in such a muddle as to their fairest way to operate this. Last year we had a parent ask to increase sessions for their child who started school in September and we couldn't do it - she was horrified!- and I think I would be too....


but then on a business side we're losing an income for held places.... although luckily this isn't a financial problem....


Hope that all makes sense!



confused of fsf

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We have similar scenario - what we do is approach the parents of the children and explain the situation - that they have to increase now or they will loose out. They all understand as its a business you cant afford to hold places till they want them especially if you can fill them with with children from the waiting list . We put out a note saying if you would like any extra sessions please let us know as we are about to offer whats left to children who are on the waiting list.

Hope thats helpful Dizz

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Thank you! :o I think we're trying to be too kind... The trouble with living/working in a village is that many of these parents are neighbours, some are friends, many the staff have known for a long time - my children are at school with older siblings, etc. (you get the picture...) so we have quite a relaxed relationship with them. not always easy.


Thanks for your reply. I think we'll take the same approach.

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We have this problem every year as our main feeder school (and all others in area) have a single entry in September.


We would be unable to 'hold' spaces for children as we have such massive overheads. We do explain this to parents at the beginning of the year and it is usually the children who we retain for the following academic year that we are unable to accommodate. When the September comes round they can then have all days they require.


We send out our Admissions Policy to all new parents explaining if we are unable to offer all days required a waiting list is then put in place and spaces are allocated in age order.


Some parents split their Free Entitlement over two providers and some do go elsewhere if they can get the sessions they want. We unfortunately cannot create spaces in the 7 sessions we offer, at the moment we have only 6 spaces available after Easter with 7 children entitled to funding next term and 9 on the waiting list to start!!!

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It's a nightmare for us too.

All our parents seem to only want 2 sessions (thats the minimum we allow) until they are funded and then they want their full entitlement. As funding is worth more than our fees at the moment we end up waiting for those children to take their funding.


We are thinking of trying to bring our fees upto the same amount as funding and then at least we won't be waiting for funding to kick in to get more money, which will hopefully make the choice easier for us, hard though as we are a small village and know most of the people too - I end up ducking and diving on the school playground sometimes :o


We also have lots of parents who want to start after Easter but I know they definately will leave to go to school nursery in July and I feel whats the point of them starting, I would prefer to have younger children who will be staying for the September.


Would anybody start children after Easter that they definately know will leave in July?

Admissions policy doesn't work for that situation either!

Edited by thumperrabbit
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We get round this issue by not doing an Easter intake. Due to the nature of our local primary schools I can never be sure who will get a school nursery place and like you I feel it is unfair on the child as well as being bad business sense. I also explain to parents that it is difficult for some only just 2 year olds to settle in with our big ready for school four year olds, and that the term length can often be similar to the holiday length so it is almost like starting again in September anyway. I recognise the ducking in the school playground too though!

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Such a familiar problem. We say that if you start part time, you may have to stay full time until the age of the NEG when we reserve each child the full entitlement. Budgeting and allocation of spaces is a nightmare, and I have to run complicated spreadsheets to forward plan as best I can. Would love to hear how other settings cope,

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Such a familiar problem. We say that if you start part time, you may have to stay full time until the age of the NEG when we reserve each child the full entitlement.



I think our situation is complicated even more as we are open for 5 mornings and 4 afternoons, and children can attend for any combination of am,pm or all day!


How on earth are we supposed to offer flexible sessions and be ableto budget/allocate sessions :o

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this is a nightmare, we take children from 2 so when they turn three we need to find 3 year old sessions for them as we run sessions from 2-3 and then 3 till when they o to school...........it's so hard to sort out especially when there birthdays fall after christmas, do we leave sessions free for them but then we are loosing money, its so hard to juggle...

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This is a hot topic for us at the moment too- we started as a new pre school 15 months ago wondering if we would be able to fill all our spaces making he buisness viable - now I have register nightmares!! where I really do dream about fitting everyone in.

I have just amended our admissions policy

''Admissions Policy


It is our intention to make *************Pre-School accessible to children and families from all sections of the local community.



We aim to ensure that all sections of our community have access to the pre-school through open, fair and clearly communicated procedures.



In order to achieve this aim, we operate the following procedure:


• We ensure that the existence of the pre-school is widely advertised in places accessible to all sections of the community.

• We ensure that information about our pre-school is accessible—in written and spoken form.

• A priority list and waiting list has been adopted to ensure certain priorities are fulfilled.

Priority List:

1. ************ residents and children hoping to attend ********School.

2. Residents outside *********, with previous siblings who attended the group and now go to *********** School.

3. Children from outside the community.

Funded places

Children will be allocated a funded place the term after their 3rd birthday (permitting there is a funded place available) Occasionally, especially when a child turns 3 during the Spring Term due to limited funded places a funded place may not become available until the following Autumn Term. We try to make sure that children attending the setting before their 3rd birthday receive a full year of funded sessions.

Waiting List:

• In the case of the Pre-School becoming full a waiting list will be started.

• Parents are required to give one month’s written notice of intention to withdraw a child from Pre-School.

Signed ........................................ Date ................................. Date of Review .....................................

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