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Child Commencement Frequency In A Year


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Could you please tell me how often your setting takes on new children. At present our playgroup takes on any child as soon as they reach 2 years 9 months. This is obviously very confusing when working out invoices and how many places we have available the following year. It also leads to the problem that if a child does not reach 2 years 9 months until say June, at present we would hold that space and receive no monies until they started (ie. no monies coming in from Sept-June). We are considering taking on children in say September and January only, therefore I feel it is more cost effective but not so great for the parents of a child that is eligble to start after this date and misses out. Your thoughts would be much appreciated as we need to make some changes due to finances!!

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we took them when they turned 3 or eligible for funding most of the time so it fell in with the funding payments..

 

we did not keep any places open but filled them when the children turned 3, parents were informed of this when they filled in any forms etc.. and we did not offer any places until 2 weeks before the child was due to start.. so they took any we had available, if we did.. most of the time we could offer 2 days but summer term we seldom had many to offer.

 

we needed the funds and could not afford to keep a place open all year.. and we often had children move to the area who needed a place , so we could offer them something when we could.

 

Always done it this way, have never kept places open wherever I worked.. always on age...

 

we did look at all individually though as we often had siblings in the setting and would ensure they had same sessions etc..

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We take children from 2yrs at our playgroup.

Fortunately we are always full from September but should a place become available we allocate on a 'strictly eldest first' criteria.

Should a place become available we wouldn't wait until a certain time of year, we would fill that place straight away, we just couldn't afford not to.

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Could you please tell me how often your setting takes on new children. At present our playgroup takes on any child as soon as they reach 2 years 9 months. This is obviously very confusing when working out invoices and how many places we have available the following year. It also leads to the problem that if a child does not reach 2 years 9 months until say June, at present we would hold that space and receive no monies until they started (ie. no monies coming in from Sept-June). We are considering taking on children in say September and January only, therefore I feel it is more cost effective but not so great for the parents of a child that is eligble to start after this date and misses out. Your thoughts would be much appreciated as we need to make some changes due to finances!!

 

I can see your difficulties - it is a bit of a minefield isn't it!!??!!

 

We used to start children in September, January or April, depending on their age or parent's requests. Nut like you, we found that we were having 'empty' spaces until Easter for which we weren't receiving any income, and while that was OK if no-one else wanted them but we then found that we were turning away parents saying we were full, when in fact the spaces weren't yet being used. This seemed ridiculous, not just from the financial side but for those disappointed parents who we had to turn away or postpone until the following September.

 

This year, we therefore said that we would hold spaces until January, but if anyone else wanted it then they would have to pay a 'retainer', or give up the place..... (never happened though)

 

I guess the main difference is that we take children from 2, and there is therefore a longer time for flexibility over when they start....

 

Not sure if that helps at all!

 

Good luck!

 

N

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We start from the term after the child turns two which means Sept and Jan. We rarely start a child at Easter as the long summer holiday means it is almost like starting them again in Sept. We often know how many children we will have coming in so although they don't start for a few more months we can plan how we manage applications for earlier starts by older children (we go off birth date order). Very occasionally, and sadly not for some years now, we have had to ask a just 2 year old to defer starting until the coming Sept as we have had a number of older children wanting to start and not been able to keep the place open, but we always warn parents this might happen so they are aware. We've never had a problem with that. As we have been quiet in the last 12-18 months we have taken some children the week after their 2nd birthday even though it was part way through the term. These have tended to be children already known to us through siblings/cousins and who we felt were ready to start mid term.

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i do excately the same as the first poster! (sorry name escapes me!)

 

but to combat it i have the flexibility of staff knowing hours are reduced in september, therefore only haveing enough for ratio working and being paid, and we also have the option of only booking half the hall

 

we can take 42 and if we are less than 26 this is an option. we always make a slight loss in the autumn term, but this is boosted by the previous summer term so is not a prob.

 

guess we are lucky.

 

has always worked for me, and does not disadvantage the summer borns, which does happen in another local preschool and as i have a summer born, they need it as generally only have 3 terms with us, we take at 2/9

 

x

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My setting is a bit different in that it is mainatained in the morning and then "goes" private from 11.30am

 

So morning nursery has new children start in September and then in January and Easter (IF places are available) and this is in line with when their 3 year old funding kicks in.

 

However, in the afternoon although they can get their 15 hour free entitlement as per the morning with the same criteria for funding, I can take 3 year olds as they hit 3 if parents want to pay! So for instance if a childs birthday is Sep 6th and their funded place wouldnt start till January they can attend afternoon nursery from sep 6th if parent wants to pay.

 

I always make sure the parents know the extra terms ie starting in January or at Easter are only offered IF places are available.

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We are similar to cybertwin in that I would keep spaces available for the summer born children who will start in January / February- we take children from 2yrs 6 months. In practice we have never really been that full in the autumn term so it has not been a problem - we might make a loss that term but it balances out over the year. They can start as soon as they turn 2 and a half - they don't have to start at the beginning of a term - we find its easy to settle them individually that way - last year we had 6 starting in February together and it was a nightmare!

 

Otherwise, the children born in July and August would have to wait till the September after they turn 3 and would only get 3 terms with us before starting school.

 

More of a problem is those children born in Sept - Dec who the parents want to start as soon as they are 2 and a half who would then get 7 terms with us - I do try to put them off till September so I can keep spaces for older children who want to increase their sessions when their funding kicks in. Its a balancing act and luckily our finances are not so stretched that I can have a bit of flexibility!

 

Jo

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We take them from 2 at any time during the year. But if we haven't got room in the summer term, we usually suggest they wait until September. This year we are full now and at the moment I am holding 15 sessions for the children who will be funded after Easter. I could easily fill them now but as part of out LA's agreement about funding we have to keep the 15 hours available for existing children, as funded children have to have priority. I do know other settings in our area don't do this, but equally I understand that from a business side it is not financially the best thing to do.

I recently had someone visit whose child is 2 in May, and I went down the line 'well by the time they've had their settling in sessions it'll almost be the summer holiday so why don't you leave it until September'!

Edited by laura
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i take from 2 1/2 and am full from september, we could not afford to hold places

 

i love having one intake and know i am fortunate to be full from September each year. I cannot take everyone on my list some will wait till the following year others will find else where

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We have always had 3 intakes, but as there is a change to the admission to schools this year, we will have to reconsider and pack as many as we can in during September. This won't be ideal for the child as I need to replace 42 children - or half a Pre-school.

 

Think I will have to stagger half in September and the younger ones after the half term. The other issue is a lot of parents won't want to pay for unfunded places, as most have started in the past when they get the funding entitlement.

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We take children from their second birthday, whenever that is. If parents pre-book their child's place from the start of the year, we hold those places for them, but make them available to other children already in Preschool, on the understanding that it's just until May or whatever. It also helps to have these as emergency places for 'one off' occasions. As we have children starting all year, this means we have a 'spare' place right up until June generally, for emergencies.

 

We are almost full by staffing ratio all year round, (sometimes I'm supernumerary to do paperwork) staff increase their hours as the numbers of children increase.

 

If parents don't pre-book, I have a list of any available places within the current ratio and advise parents on what we have.

 

It's how we've always done it, and it works for us, in our circumstances. It's never a 'one size fits all', and I think you do what's best/easiest to maintain for your own situation

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We have always had 3 intakes, but as there is a change to the admission to schools this year, we will have to reconsider and pack as many as we can in during September. This won't be ideal for the child as I need to replace 42 children - or half a Pre-school.

 

Think I will have to stagger half in September and the younger ones after the half term. The other issue is a lot of parents won't want to pay for unfunded places, as most have started in the past when they get the funding entitlement.

 

 

It is hard when you lose so many children in July. Many areas have always had this.. I worked for 15 years plus in this way.. we used to have about 6 or 7 left out of 50+ children... daunting to say the least, but the children starting did not all start in the sept.. financial implications all round... but you learn to budget some of the good times to cover the lean ones , you have to or end up running at big losses.. unless very lucky.

 

as to parents not wanting to pay.. you are offering the chance of the sessions they want and pay for the interim. should they choose not to take the days we used to say we would try to offer a place later but it would be what we had available , there was no guarantee we could offer a place as we may be full / not have the sessions they want... we just had to fill them as soon as we could.. If parents chose to wait, then they had to take the consequences.

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We take children from 2 1/2 as and when they turn 2 1/2. This can mean numbers change throughout the year but we generally know in advance all those except new people moving in. We are generally full every day by the summer term and over the past few years certain days have been full by Jan.

 

Rachel

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