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Updating Policies - Help!


Guest terrydoo73
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Guest terrydoo73

Our Playgroup has been open a year at the end of January 2012 and I am starting to review the policies put in place for our Early Years Registration - it is amazing how many changes have occurred since then! My Early Years Registration advisor has suggested that I take a set number each month that relate specifically to parents (ie those we included within the original information booklet) and revise them, then point this out by way of the monthly newsletter to parents.

 

One situation that has arisen is in relation to our fees. We had set £15 a week which is basically £3 for a 2 1/2 hour session but to get the Playgroup off the ground we lowered this to £10 a week for a full 5 days or £3 for individual days (we have just 2 children who fall into this last categroy and they only come 2 days a week at present).

 

The problem we have faced in the immediate past is when a parent sends their child to Playgroup on a Monday and then takes sick and does not attend the rest of the week - the parent has automatically assumed that they therefore don't pay for the following weeks as the child missed out due to sickness - I know I know it is a bad situation and I am desperately trying to rectify it now!!

 

Second problem we have is when we as staff take a day off mid week to attend training and have had to close the Playgroup. Obviously parents are not entitled to pay for when the Playgroup is closed so they should by right say OK instead of 5 days this week my child has only had 4 days so as it is £10 for a full 5 days that makes it £2 a day. The parent then says OK so the Playgroup was open 4 days x £2 = £8 and this is what I will pay. Confusing or what?

 

Do you think it would be cheeky to say right the price for a week is now £12 ie £3 a day and you can take off the £3 for when the Playgroup has to close say to training or other circumstances?

 

What way could I word it so that parents clearly understand that if a child is sick the Playgroup is still open and therefore they have to pay for their full fees regardless of the child not being there? Obviously I would like a clause that states if a child remains ill after say 2 weeks the parent must inform the Playgroup of intended length of absence so we can work out an agreed fee structure.

 

Which policy would I include it under? I have an Admissions Policy but I was thinking of creating a new one called Fees? Is this correct or is there another terms for it? At present the parents receive the following Policies as part of their Information Pack:

 

 Settling in

 Arrival and departure

 Partnership with parents/carers

 Programme/Curriculum planning and Evaluation

 Observation/Record keeping and assessment

 Understanding Children's feelings and behaviours

 Child Protection

 

I am hoping to review 2 Policies a month over the next 3 months and include a copy within the Newsletter as they are only 1 A4 in length for each.

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We have a fees policy. In my last setting I used to put the fees policy on the back of the invoice, so that every parent had the information.

 

It states something like...in the event of your child's absence for any reason, fees remain payable. You might invite them to discuss longer term absence with you, for whatever time you stipulate.

 

In our setting, we would only close for severe weather, or lack of power not staff training but as you say you cannot charge the parent if you choose to close for staff training. Things must be very different in NI. Our session fee is £12 for 3 hours!

 

To share your policies in the way you suggest with parents is comendable and I am sure good practice. However, personally I tend to put a 'policy of the month' on the noticeboard for parents to read if they wish.

 

Hope my comments are of some help.

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we had a fees policy

 

It stated things like fees must always be paid in advance, after 2 weeks on non payment a reminder would be sent with a payment date set, if not paid by that date we reserved the right to fill the place with someone from the waiting list.

 

Fees must be paid for all places booked, even if absent for illness or holidays. There will be no refund for this time off. Any longer absences or if anyone has problems paying the fess please speak to xxx who will help you . Any changes are at the discretion of xxx and on an individual basis.

 

 

We regularly review the fees and there may be a change in the amount payable, we will give you 1 months notice minimum of any changes. This is usually on an annual basis, but may be more frequent if the need arises.

 

If the preschool closes for any reason no fees will be payable for that day.

 

as you seem to operate a discount system for some of the children who attend per week then you could add something about this and how it will operate, so that the discount is for a full week, but if you close for one or more days the daily rate applies..

 

 

 

we also had a letter/ agreement which each parent had before their child started stating all this along with the agreed sessions and amount payable, when by each week or month, how they could pay, who to make cheques out to etc. they had a copy and we had a copy signed by the parent with the registration forms.. this made it very clear what was expected and we had less payment issues once we introduced it.

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Yes, I have fee policy and am in agreement with Inge.I also include on invoice that fees are for sessions booked.

 

In your policy you should state that fees are based on booked sessions.If a child does not attend, payment is still due and you can explain about staffing, ratios, insurance, meeting eyfs etc.

Basically, parents need to be made aware of the reality that staff and other costs still need to be met.

 

Personally,I think you need to make sure you can budget etc by knowing what fees you are expecting each month in order to plan.

 

I don't know where you are and what other local groups are charging but I also know that average is £ 11 for 3hr session and that fees are usually based on hourly gov funded rate in our area. Do you have lots of children? Do you struggle to pay staff or do you have lots of volunteers?!

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Guest terrydoo73

We are not government funded as yet - a thorn in the flesh as far as we are concerned because we are begging and pleading every month but the governing body who decides which playgroup gets what cannot seem to tell us how and when we might actually get it - they are quoting a displacement issue with another playgroup just 2 miles away ie if we give to you then that will have a knock on effect for them, they have been there a long time, have a quality service to offer in a local community and our Playgroup would be detracting from them in some way.

 

Fortunately we are community based and the community have funds at present (though not for much longer) to pay the 2 staff salaries but obviously we would like to build up a reserve for the day and hour that money runs out hence our fundraising efforts. This does not account for continued update of resources specifically consumables. It is easy to work our budget which I know I am not meeting at present - we have 12 places and if all 12 are full timers then it is £120 income a week which mutiplied by 4 is £480 over a period of 9 months (taking into account holidays etc) makes a total of £4320. At present we have 9 full timers and 2 part timers bringing in a total of £102 - £18 short of our budget. We have however 2 children who were due to start and would have brought in another £12 a week but mum is holding back because she is just not happy with their toileting!! At this stage in the year I don't know whether it would be advisable to start any more children as most of the children are so well settled and it might upset the apple cart - as well as the problem of actually getting children to use us!! One of our part timers was meant to be full time then mum said it was 4 days - in reality it is now 2 days!

 

We would be landed if we did receive government funding but obviously not all our children will be entitled to it as there are only 6 who are in their preschool year but at least it would be something. Our reasoning for going to so little a fee was as I say to get the project off the ground and if we did receive funding we would still be asking for a voluntary contribution which we would like to think of being about £10 - £15 a week to cover things like heating, lighting, snack and consumables.

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