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Free Government Funding 3+ Yr Olds


dottyp
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Would anyone be willing to share how their setting offers their 3+ yr olds the 15 hours free funding?

 

Our setting currently offers 9.30 - 12.30 Free, with breakfast club and lunch club chargeable.

 

One parent has demanded that we offer '3' flexible hours a day so she could drop her child off at 9am and collect at 12noon.

 

Does anyone offer this flexibility of time in their setting and would you deam it 'reasonable'?

 

thankyou

 

dottyp

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My understanding is that the parent can choose how to 'manage' the 15 hrs. We open at 0900 for optional early start, main session starts at 09.30 and runs til 12.30 then we offer optional lunch club till 13.30 - if a child attends all 5 mornings the parents pay for early start and lunch (if taken) - if they wish to do 3 mornings the early start and lunch club are included in their 15 hrs. That is how we run it and have never been critised but I would be interested to know that we are doing it correctly.

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Are you aware if your LEA will allow the funding to be used for breakfast or lunch, rather than charging your parents for it?

 

Would you be able to open at 9.0'clock to accommodate this parent or would you all still be there setting up?

 

I haven't been to any meetings yet to sort out how we will be allowed to deliver the 15 hours, that is the maximum we are open over 4 mornings, but would need 3 of the hours to be our lunch clubs.

 

I suppose it is within the spirit of flexibility that you could offer this parent what she wants but only if it is safe to do so, if I was setting up at that time, as undoubtedly we are I would have to have a re-think we are a packaway and I think it is too dangerous for youngsters to be underfoot while we are doing our utmost to set up on time, but if we were there, ready for business and offering a breakfast club, I don't see why not, particularly if my LEA said I could use the funding for it.

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We are set up and ready to receive 'breakfast club' children from 9am so your comments are interesting as we do deliver the eyfs requirements from this time ie. resources, learning opportunities etc..... thank you.

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In our authority it has been made clear that it is not individual settings' responsibility to ensure their parents are able to access their 15 hour entitlement flexibly, but it is down to the Local Authority to do this. Groups state the time span during which the free entitlement will be offered, and anything taken outside that period can be charged for.

 

If your free period starts at 9.30 and the parent wants to come at nine then she must pay for the extra half hour. The alternative is for her to speak to the Local Authority for advice about which settings offer a 9.00 start.

 

This sounds harsh - but if your funding doesn't cover fees (as in our area) then you have to balance your group's need to make some money against the possible loss of this family. Bearing in mind that if one parent is able to access their free entitlement by including breakfast club then others will want to do the same, resulting in revenue dropping even further.

 

Maz

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I agree with Maz (again!).

 

We can't afford to offer "free" at any time as we have so many children who want a full morning (7.30 / 8.30 til 1.00) and are happy to pay. We are therefore only offering completely free in the afternoons (1 - 4). We are discounting the cost of the mornings by the value of the grant and parents will pay the balance or, parents can come from 10 til 1 and pay for lunch - we have cook on site so packed lunch is too difficult. Our parents asked for the paying for lunch option when we held our consultation with them and it was written many times on the feedback responses from parents - so the LEA are happy. We are also offering a range of 'stretched offers' to families who come all year round and who want to level out their payments. We didn't want a range of arrival and departure times - far too unsettling

 

Maz is right - the LEA has to prove its flexibility across all settings. Settings have to prove that they have consulted and offer the core offer as a minimum offer [3 x 5 hours (which will be 1- 6 pm with a parent provided packed tea) or 5 x 3 hours (which will be each afternoon)]

 

Our LEA (East Sussex) is happy with our offer

 

 

pw 1 xx

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After contacting our local authority, they advised that we can offer 15 free hours in which ever way we

decided (after consulting with parents through questionnaires). So we are correct in offering 9.30 - 12.30 five days a week to ALL parents.

 

If individual parents are not in agreement with our 'free' times, we have been given a number for them to contact the local council directly, who will give names of settings that do offer different hours.

 

dottyp

Edited by dottyp
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Hi All, the 15 hour provision has provided us with a huge headache, we currently offer a 2 1/2 hr session on a Monday & Wednesday morning and afternoon with a lunch club on a tues, thurs & Fri, the lunch club was charged extra for, however I now realise that this has to be offered to parents as part of their 15 hours, that is all well and good but we now have 36 parents battling for 30 spaces available on these days and we have had to withdraw them. I have 36 parents currently on role for September and am only up to June Birthdates, I have another possible 10 children who are funded requiring spaces that I can not offer with no flexibility for the rest of the year. Feel like I am going mad, can not see a solution to this problem apart from doing a 3 hr am session every day with a 2 1/2 hr session every afternoon. And still I wont have enough spaces!!!! Arrrggghhhh somebody wake me up when its all sorted. Oh and just to top things off a Mum said that she would have to 'knife' me if she couldnt have her spaces (hope she was joking)

 

Debbie

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Hi Lyanne

 

This sounds great but due to the constraints of us being in a community building and staff having young children we couldn't open or close at these times.

 

We have settled for opening at 0905 - 1205 in the morning and 1220 - 1450 on some afternoons but dont know how this is going to run. Will have to wait and see.

 

Debbie

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  • 2 weeks later...
Hi Lyanne

 

This sounds great but due to the constraints of us being in a community building and staff having young children we couldn't open or close at these times.

 

We have settled for opening at 0905 - 1205 in the morning and 1220 - 1450 on some afternoons but dont know how this is going to run. Will have to wait and see.

 

Debbie

 

I couldn't do it without my fantastic childminder!

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The whole point of the 15 hours funded is supposed to be for the improvement of children's educational prospects, not simply as free childcare. Breakfast and Lunch may have some learning benefit, but it is the access to activities and opportunities for play that are the important factors here. If funds for the parent are tight, then maybe they should claim working tax credits or child tax credits to cover the difference.

 

Fe

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The whole point of the 15 hours funded is supposed to be for the improvement of children's educational prospects, not simply as free childcare. Breakfast and Lunch may have some learning benefit, but it is the access to activities and opportunities for play that are the important factors here. If funds for the parent are tight, then maybe they should claim working tax credits or child tax credits to cover the difference.

 

Fe

 

Don't know if you claim it for your children if applicable, but it's never made much impact on how much I pay for childcare. I know some people get up to 80% of the childcare paid by Working Families, but hubby and I have never had as much as 20% even when younger son was a baby with the childminder 3 days a week.

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