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:huh:Hi we are having trouble in our borough as the Flexibility bit of what we have to offer is about as clear as mud!!!!

We have been told that we have to offer 15 hours over 38 weeks. that bit is fine!!

But then it has told us a minimum of 2 1/2 hours per day up to 6 1/2 hours. OK still fine on that. What we don't understand is:

If my setting is open 9am to 12am can I say my free entitlement part is 9.30 to 12.00 and the first half hour you have to pay for because my session is 3 hours long?

or

do i have to allow parents the 3 hours because that is my session time.!!

 

We have a huge debate going on as the DCSF hasn't put out clear enough guidelines nor has our Borough.

 

I thought that if my sessions are 9 -12 or 9 - 1 or 12-3.30 or 1.00 to 3.30 parents have the choice to choose and tha they all had to be free entitlement, but from what I can understand as long as we offer a core amount of hours free we can charge for the rest. It will make a big difference to our income as our Borough was cutting our money down to £3.10 from next April. We are on £3.44 at the moment.

 

 

Would be interested to hear what any one else thinks or does :(:(xD:(:o

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hiya

 

hope this make sence

 

we offer 9-12, 9-1, 9.245 and 12-2.45

 

all the childs hours are free until they attend over 15. so what ever sessions they attend you cannot charge if it is under 15 hours

 

one of the things we were told is not to think in sessions any more but hours.

 

if i had a child doing 9-12 5 days a week it would be totally free to the parent, but if they wanted one day to 1 i would only be able to charge them for 1 hour

 

hope this makes sence. am in hampshire and have been doing flexible for a year now, as was in pilot, money has dropped a bit now but still ok. ours is calucalted on how felxible we are and how qualified staff are.

we arent allowed to have chargeable parts of the day ie charge from 9-10 and claim eye for the rest as it is thier first 15 hours that is free

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yes that was how I though it was but our Borough is telling some providers that if they are open 9 - 12 and only have a core free entitlement of 9.30 til 12 then the parent has to pay the extra or go to some one else who does 9 -12 if that is what they want. I'm worried it could back fire on some of them!!

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Confusing isn't it? I may be a bit confused by your question so hope this answer fits.

I am just wondering if you are confusing the minimum 2 1/2 hours as being the minimum you offer for the concession, rather than the minimum the parent can take for the child in a session? We interpret that as the parent has to place the child in the setting for one session but it needs to be a minimum of 2 1/2 hours, so not so flexible that they take an hour here and there. If a child is coming into your setting for 5 mornings per week for 3 hours each day that would be 15 hours, which the child is entitled to for free.

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would agree with cybertwin and jacquie, that you cannot charge for anything within the 15 hours, only hours that are over this. I also wonder if the flexibility aspect is that parents cannot choose say 2 hours one day, 4 the next, 1 the next, 6 the next, 2 the next...they must take a minimum of 2.5 hours in one go. So my thinking is that they can choose say 9.30-12, but you can't expect them to pay extra if they choose 9-12.

 

We have some settings that are unable to offer 15 hours (eg due to premises) and in this case they would find another setting that can provide the extra hours.

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Our problem is that our Borough doesn't seem to understand the "rules" and is telling setting different things.

Some settings are saying that they will only offer 2 1/2 hours as the free entitlement but their setting is open for more hours as a session.

Example :

Setting is open 8.30 til 4.00

sessions are divided in to

8.30 to 9.00 optional

9.00 til 12.00morning

12.00 to 1.00 lunch

1.00 to 3.30 pm

3.30 to 4.0 optional

9.30 to 12.00 is free entitlement

1.0 to 3.30 free entitlement

 

if they take 9 to 12 then they have to pay 1/2 hour

if they want to take all day then it becomes a free entitlement of 6 1/2 hours

 

I thought that the hours you are open are the hours parents could take the free entitlement, and having just read the government guidelines i think I'm right as it does say "No conditions of access / completely free at the point of delivery" which to me says you can't say to a parent that they must take the extra half hour if they don't want to.

 

Don't think that the Borough workers understand it so are giving out mixed messages.

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If they are open for the 3 hours then they cannot charge the parent for half an hour of that unless it is over the 15 hours entitlement per week.

if you Google 'nursery 3 hours free entitlement' lots of LA's come up with the advice they are giving their settings. You may find your LA there or at least compare what you have been told with what others are saying.

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This is from Surrey LA

 

"When can my child take the sessions?

 

From September 2010 the number of hours of early years free entitlement will be increasing up to 15 hours a week for 38 weeks a year. Some early years providers will be able to allow you to use your hours flexibly over the week but you won't be able to have:

 

More than 10 hours in one day

Less than 2.5 hours in one day

Any time before 8am or after 6pm "

 

Other LA's are saying the same things and interestingly this could be taken as 9 hours per week over 51 weeks according to one LA.

 

As I said earlier i think the 2 1/2 hours is being misinterpreted as something a provider only has to offer as a minimum, rather than the minimum a child may take in one session.

 

Put another way if a child does 3 hours per day and is charged for half and hour of that then that child is only getting 12.5 hours per week and should be getting 15 if the setting is open, and not be charged for the increase in entitlement.

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Greetings from Dorset!

 

I think it is very useful to think of the offer in terms of hours instead of sessions as has been suggested.

 

I don't think it can be right to apply a blanket session charge for half an hour in this way. If a child only accesses 3 sessions (3 x 3 hours), and didn't attend another setting, they would be entitled not to pay anything. It's much more simple to deduct the 15 hour entitlement from the hours actually attended, and then charge for the extra if any.

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It's much more simple to deduct the 15 hour entitlement from the hours actually attended, and then charge for the extra if any.

 

in terms of administration it is so much easier :) However, in business terms there's a potential of losing a significant amount of funds.

Edited by gingerbreadman
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This is very interesting; with Government (albeit what has been inherited from the previous Labour Gov) being implemented as Local Authorities "see fit".

 

I've just discovered that Bristol state "Bristol's current maximim of 6 hours in any one day is below that of the government guideline. This is because we believe that this helps to encourage regular attendance at settings aiding children in building relationships and experiencing consistent learning opportunities"

 

My sentiments exactly! and I mean it for the reasons they have stated, but the cynical side of me thinks that it is because they probably have mostly maintain provision and offering 10 hours would not be possible that this is their "chosen" mantra. Stockport also say their maximum is 6 1/4 hours.

 

I sincerely believe that children aged 3 gain nothing from two sucessive long days at nursery, but shorter periods over five days on a regular basis far outway two tiring days.

 

Have I just gone off on one about this "flexibilty" offer - ba humbug?? :o

 

BMG

Edited by BMG
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I've just discovered that Bristol state "Bristol's current maximim of 6 hours in any one day is below that of the government guideline. This is because we believe that this helps to encourage regular attendance at settings aiding children in building relationships and experiencing consistent learning opportunities"

 

But what happens if your 3 year old attends nursery for 8 hour days already? does that mean you have to play for the extra 2 hours? My neice attends nursery for 2x8 hour days a week and my sister was expecting to only have to pay 1 hour per week when she turns 3. This would mean she would have to pay 4 hours a week- is that right? If so that doesn't seem very fair to me! that would also mean there would be 3 'unused' hours.

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I have to say I agree that the situation you describe, missc, does sound unfair. I suspect also that if challenged Bristol (and any other authorities with similar lower maximums) might have to back down on that. If your neice only attends those two 8 hour days, then she is accessing 16 hours, 15 of which should be free, as I understand it.

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These points have been lifted directly from the guidance document

 

3.13 Local authorities should seek to support providers to deliver the free entitlement as flexibly as possible, including supporting providers to make their sessions more flexible, for example, longer or shorter, or available at different times of day or over fewer days a week (i.e. 12.5 hours over 2 days). Local authorities should not, as a rule, expect providers to move to offering the free entitlement on an hourly (rather than sessional) basis.

 

3.9 The Government has set a national framework for delivery, outside of which local authorities should not fund providers to deliver the free entitlement. These limits secure an offer which will enable children to access regular, quality provision, in keeping with the evidence of the benefits of doing so, and promote continuity whilst also maximising flexibility for parents and ensuring a degree of stability for providers. The limits are:

o No session longer than 10 hours

o No session shorter than 2.5 hours

o Not before 8am or after 6pm

o The full 15 hours over no fewer than 3 days (this would permit up to 12.5 hours over 2 days)

o A maximum 2 providers at any one time

 

 

3.10 These limits are not what local authorities should make available to parents. The limits are parameters outside of which the local flexible entitlement should not operate. There is no national expectation that local authorities will expect all providers to offer the sessions at the outer limits as a matter of course. Where provision of the full entitlement is secured through a partnership of 2 providers, their combined offer should be within the national framework.

 

 

5.17 Local authorities should make clear to parents that they may not always get their preferred pattern of free entitlement provision at their provider of choice, although parental preferences are, of course, one of the factors that local authorities should take into account in planning their local offer of flexibility.

 

 

My understanding is that if as long as we don't offer funded entitlement outside the limits given in 3.9 the LA cannot dictate what hours we are open and if we are sessional then sessions that fall inside the limits can be used as funded sessions.

 

We are open 9.00am to 2.00pm Mon, Tue, Thur and Fri and 9.00am to 12.00 noon on Wed. We are trying to be flexible BUT ALSO SUSTAINABLE therefore we offer five places of 3 hour blocks per week (some of which are allocated on an additional needs basis after that first come first served) once the five x three hour block spaces are gone we offer five hour blocks.

 

As providers we are not obliged to offer the model most desired by parents (would be foolish to ignore our market though) gov. or la but this is a bit of a doubled edged sword because if we are not flexible enough then the la can cast us adrift in trying to fulfil their duty to ensure enough optimum models of entitlement are available in the borough. Providers do carry some weight however - too many saying they won't play and the borough definitely won't meet their provision obligations so working together is the key. Having said all of that in my borough we do not have agreements yet and letters are going to and fro between the la and central gov. :o

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That's interesting, Sue. Thanks for that - I haven't actually seen the guidance as I don't have anything to do with that side of business (DN), just been told how we are working it in a general way so I can answer simple queries from parents.

 

I'm particularly interested in 3.13 - the bit about NOT offering on an hourly basis - it's exactly what we have been told to do - work on an hourly basis!! Hmmm. Must get to look at it properly and discuss with them!

 

Sue

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I'm particularly interested in 3.13 - the bit about NOT offering on an hourly basis - it's exactly what we have been told to do - work on an hourly basis!! Hmmm. Must get to look at it properly and discuss with them!

 

Sue

 

Same here! and there is even discussion about moving towards it being seen as 570 hours per academic year and parents being able to carry forward unused hours to the next academic year!

 

So little Billy has 10 hours a week for 38 weeks and therefore has 190 hours unclaimed. the following year Mums working hours increase and little Billy is able to claim 20 hours a week ie: his 15 entitlement plus 5 hours a week from the previous year!!

Edited by Geraldine
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Same here! and there is even discussion about moving towards it being seen as 570 hours per academic year and parents being able to carry forward unused hours to the next academic year!

 

Yes - same here

 

So little Billy has 10 hours a week for 38 weeks and therefore has 190 hours unclaimed. the following year Mums working hours increase and little Billy is able to claim 20 hours a week ie: his 15 entitlement plus 5 hours a week from the previous year!!

 

OK - I have just fallen off my typing chair!

:o

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At what rate I wonder does little Billy carry his hours over as they are likely to fall in a different EEF financial year at some point and rates change? Ho Hum the powers that be so think these things through don't they :o

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This is the link to the code of practice for September 2010 - if and when you read it keep in mind that the LA has the duty to - not the individual provider and we are all being advised to work together - that doesn't mean giving in and changing your whole provision model, especially if it is detrimental to your sustainability and quality

 

Code of practice for delivery of free early years provision

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At what rate I wonder does little Billy carry his hours over as they are likely to fall in a different EEF financial year at some point and rates change? Ho Hum the powers that be so think these things through don't they xD

 

But of course little Billy's mum isn't bothered about rates as she is getting it free and as for us then we just 'give the hours' irrespective of what the Government condescend to pay us as an hourly rate :o

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At what rate I wonder does little Billy carry his hours over as they are likely to fall in a different EEF financial year at some point and rates change? Ho Hum the powers that be so think these things through don't they :o

 

I can't believe we will be actually asked to administer this? It will be a nightmare keeping records of who has had what and rolling unused hours over.

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This is the link to the code of practice for September 2010 - if and when you read it keep in mind that the LA has the duty to - not the individual provider and we are all being advised to work together - that doesn't mean giving in and changing your whole provision model, especially if it is detrimental to your sustainability and quality

 

Code of practice for delivery of free early years provision

 

 

You STAR!!

 

How did you guess I might have 'real difficulty' accessing the guidance?

 

:o

 

Sue x

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Most Las will continue to support settings who cannot necessarily be that flexible in their provision as long as the quality is there. We have a number who only offer 2.5 hours over 3 days due to premises and are continuing to do so, their parents then access the remaining hours at another setting.

 

With regard t 3:13, the bit about the hourly provision is really to reinforce the idea that parents cant request an hour here and there (ie using settings as a creche or drop in service)..hence the minimum requirement of 2.5 hours in any session.

 

LAs are able to set their own limits that they are prepared to fund as Bristol have done, and so they can state that their maximum day is 6 hours. I don't know if any parent will bring a test case to challenge that..who knows?

 

In regards to who knows what in any given LA, everyone has different roles..there will be a team (or a person) whose job it is to ensure they meet the code (and write their own local code), and ensure that providers meet it.

This person or people will not necessarily be the people that come out to settings for whatever reason. So it would not be unusual for the person visiting you to not have chapter and verse of the code, but they should at least be able to tell you who does!

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