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Schools And 2 Year Olds


thumperrabbit
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I have just heard of yet another local school opening a '2 year old unit' this will be the 3rd one I've heard of since we started back in September.

 

I wondered if others are experiencing this in their areas?

 

We are really struggling for money due to low numbers (for the first time in 30 years!) and have today realised that this is where all the 2 year olds are going :(

We don't know what to do, we have enough money by using everything available to get through 5 months, I feel as if we've done nothing but fight for survival since schools started taking the 3 year olds but if this is the way forwards, taking from 2, then I honestly feel as if I can fight no longer

 

We have had a horrendous start to the year with people swapping sessions, or just totally dropping out after a few sessions but not having paid their fees, parents not wanting to give permission for 2 year check, on top of scrapping through another AGM with only 2 parents the rest made up of staff really really feel like what the point

 

sorry for the rant, so hard to stay upbeat and positive for the staff when you just feel like putting up a closed sign :(

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Sorry to hear things are tough for you and your setting.

 

What area are you? I am not sure why the school would want too, what benefit is it I wonder.

 

We are in a small village approx 3 miles from the nearest town.

The benefits are totally for the schools, they are all fighting for children as obviously they need the funding too, the earlier they 'get them' the more chance they have of them joining the main school ready for Reception

All our schools have nursery classes and when they first opened it was 26 places just in a morning for those who were already 3 in the September term. Within 18 months they suddenly started to open in an afternoon so that they could 'get them' from the term after they turned 3. Last year it changed to not waiting until the term after they were 3, they would take them the day they turned 3. Now its lets open a 2 year old unit!

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thumperabbit ...what do your LEA sat about this threat to your business? i seem to remember somewhere it says that units should not be opened if there is an existing setting meeting the demand...perhaps contact your head of service and express your fears...it would be interesting to see what they say. I assume that the school has to get funding for this, can you contact the council and tell them that you already do this and it would be a waste of resources to double up on provision...in this economic climate they will have to justify such large investment. Contact your MP/Local councillor and get them on your side...oh and the press! fight for your rights!!!!

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Oh my, that all sounds horrendous. I can't imagine schools in my area taking them as young as that, the one entry schools take them from 4.

 

I suppose I might feel better if I had had a moan to LEA about unfair competition if I were in your position, and we have all experienced parents who will take the easiest route to childcare, if the older ones are at school, and their youngest can attend the same place, that's what will happen.

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The LEA know, sympathise but that's it, there is very little support now for committee run settings from the LEA.

Also because the schools are setting them up under a 'governor run private setting' they can do what they want!

so where are they getting the funding from to set it up?

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Part of the reason for more 2 year olds in schools, is the government target of providing free places for 20% of the most disadvantaged 2 year olds by next year and then deciding to double it by the year after. This means for many LAs, (certainly the case in mine), having to find huge numbers of places, which currently may not exist, and which have to be 'grown'. This may be looked at within the context of geographical areas within the authority rather than a village by village basis (if rural that is), but the 'growing' is happening now in preparation.

Your La will have some sort of strategy to deliver this target at the same time as ensuring that the places go to the highest quality provision.

 

It may be worth your while finding out what your LA criteria is for receipt of that funding and if you meet it (Thumperrabbit, I don't know if you do already?).

 

Your LA may have different issues of course, but in mine, we have huge demand for 2 year old funded places and this will increase 10 fold in the next 2 years. maybe this is the case in yours also?

 

Another possibility is if your LA has a sustainability budget?

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Part of the reason for more 2 year olds in schools, is the government target of providing free places for 20% of the most disadvantaged 2 year olds by next year and then deciding to double it by the year after. This means for many LAs, (certainly the case in mine), having to find huge numbers of places, which currently may not exist, and which have to be 'grown'. This may be looked at within the context of geographical areas within the authority rather than a village by village basis (if rural that is), but the 'growing' is happening now in preparation.

Your La will have some sort of strategy to deliver this target at the same time as ensuring that the places go to the highest quality provision.

 

It may be worth your while finding out what your LA criteria is for receipt of that funding and if you meet it (Thumperrabbit, I don't know if you do already?).

 

Your LA may have different issues of course, but in mine, we have huge demand for 2 year old funded places and this will increase 10 fold in the next 2 years. maybe this is the case in yours also?

 

Another possibility is if your LA has a sustainability budget?

 

Unfortunately we are in what is considered a very affluent area, I have spoken to the LEA about the 2 year old funding, but was told "not a chance"!

 

We did manage to get a sustainability grant for the end of the last financial year, we have already made someone redundant for this academic year and have had a pay cut and reduced hours for those of us still employed - we survive on parents fundraising, but because we are low on numbers we don't have them to fundraise.

 

I have also spoken to the PLA and their suggestion was to ask staff to volunteer whilst the fees coming in don't match the outgoings....erm not sure I would still be living if I suggested this to the staff!!

 

Suppose my question is when do you just give up??

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As someone who has been in your position Thumper in the past - not enough coming in and too much going out I had to give up when I realised I was subsidising the Nursery every month with my own money, and was getting deeper in debt. I called it a day but ten years later am still paying off the debts. It takes time to even close a setting, and if you are in this position now maybe the time has come to admit defeat ?

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As someone who has been in your position Thumper in the past - not enough coming in and too much going out I had to give up when I realised I was subsidising the Nursery every month with my own money, and was getting deeper in debt. I called it a day but ten years later am still paying off the debts. It takes time to even close a setting, and if you are in this position now maybe the time has come to admit defeat ?

 

Was this a private setting or committee run?

I'm presuming as committee run, we have to keep going until either the children or money runs out

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