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Fee Increase Sept 2013


thumperrabbit
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Morning

 

We had a comm meeting last week and had to talk about if we wished to increase our fees for Sept

 

A decision will be made by our next meeting, but it was a tricky one which caused lots of discussion!

Some felt that as the dearest in our area (only by £1 per session) on top of the fact that with the current climate people just can't afford it.

Others felt that our costs are rising too and although we are above minimum wage, staff haven't had a pay rise for over 3 years and that minimum wage is catching us up.

Our numbers are very low for September, and increasing the fees may not help our cause either.

 

What is everyone else doing for September?

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We won't be putting fees up. Last time we did it we made fees match funding but we noticed people changing their start date so they would be funded.

 

Thanks for you response Rea - Yes, we've also had that happen

 

Also we have had a lot of people request only 1 session per week (we always had a policy of a minimum of 2 sessions) and I feel that is to do with lack of money too

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we always change fees so that they match funding ...so we have increased by 50p from september. (we find if we dont do this then at some time we would need to do a big hike to cover expenses) last year we had lots trying to put back agreed start dates so that they didn't have to pay but we have got strict with that this year and ensured they all know and have signed the contract (we reserve the right to charge for 6 weeks if they do not start....even the funded ones!!) we are in the very lucky position (at the moment) of having a full waiting list ...but we've had this before and then lost lots!

 

Thumperrabbit what is your breakeven number? are you near that yet? I guess you really need to look at expenses if you are not covering costs then you will have to increase fees whether you like it or not...you cant be left with a debt. :(

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we always change fees so that they match funding ...so we have increased by 50p from september. (we find if we dont do this then at some time we would need to do a big hike to cover expenses) last year we had lots trying to put back agreed start dates so that they didn't have to pay but we have got strict with that this year and ensured they all know and have signed the contract (we reserve the right to charge for 6 weeks if they do not start....even the funded ones!!) we are in the very lucky position (at the moment) of having a full waiting list ...but we've had this before and then lost lots!

 

Thumperrabbit what is your breakeven number? are you near that yet? I guess you really need to look at expenses if you are not covering costs then you will have to increase fees whether you like it or not...you cant be left with a debt. :(

You've reminded me I don't think I've heard if we are having a funding increase or not - as we've not heard i'm thinking it will be a not, but worth checking!!

Absolutely nowhere near 'breakeven number' :( but then we aren't there yet this academic year either :( just living on money raised in the past which will have probably gone by the end of the next academic year unless we have a sudden rise in children.

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can you raise fees in a different way...for instance paying for snacks ? do you sell uniform etc? It's really tough out there but we are in baby boom years so there should be children to pick up ...just need to find them!! Have you got someone who could look at your accounts and see if there are any savings to be made?

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Have you registered for childcare vouchers? we 'sell' the idea to any families who are working....they basically get 20\% free so that helps!!

Hi, thank you for all your ideas we do take childcare vouchers (and are seeing an increase in their use!)

In response to your other helpful post we don't have a uniform as lots of our parents in the past have always said that is one reason they like pre-school rather than school nursery.

We do have a wish list with snacks, stationery, cleaning products etc and we do get a lot donated - always the same parents, bless 'em :1b

Unfortunately it is staffing that is taking up all our costs, our ratios are amazing :P for September - but as we are packaway we are now running at the minimum number of staff to actually make the wheels of the cog turn.

Very tough times for us at the moment and we are trying to remain positive and keep smiling through it :1b

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No, we're not increasing ours this September, though we remind parents that we always review them this time of year. We have another setting a few hundred yards away that charges the same as us ( we do make sure we match with them and both of us match with funding.) and we find a lot of people are now waiting for their funding, or book just one day a week. We have never had a minimum number of sessions a child must attend; I always felt that it was difficult for me to impose something like that, especially where parents might find money tough. Better to have them in for one session than none, I think. I do say that one is a long tme between sessions for the child, but ultimately, as long as I can pay my bills and have a small contingency fund, all is good in my world.

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We haven't had the discussion about september fees yet, but looking at our register, we may need to do something like make mornings more expensive than afternoons, because, honestly, it's ridiculous! We have 20 in the morning and on one afternoon we have only 2! Ludicrous!

Has anyone ever had differing costs like this?

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We haven't had the discussion about september fees yet, but looking at our register, we may need to do something like make mornings more expensive than afternoons, because, honestly, it's ridiculous! We have 20 in the morning and on one afternoon we have only 2! Ludicrous!

Has anyone ever had differing costs like this?

yes we have always had a difference but now offer full days too which evens out the score.....our other issue with this is that our very 'local' children get morning spaces and the children from further afield get afternoons....they all come from an area of high ethnic minority so i end up with lots of EAL children in one session!

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Hi it's a struggle isn't it for all.:(

We have increased our fees by £1.00 per session from September, this is to take account of the increase of minimum wage in October 2013.

We have certainly noticed parents waiting now until many are funded. Those that are not funded are in the minority so the extra few pence pays a little towards the higher ratio for under threes.

Just a thought could you start a mother/father toddler stay and play session, to get people through the doors on the days you are not to capacity.

Have you spoke to your Early Years team with regard to sustainability, I know some areas can access additional support in the way of grants etc.

Best wishes Fx

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So does anyone charge differently for two year olds? We have same price for all, but 2 year olds have higher staffing needs

Hi Cait,

No we don't as we thought it would make parents wait until they were 3 before they would start with us. Nowadays that would mean that we would be shut as most are starting school nursery the day they are 3 - we are now lucky if we have a child for the whole of an academic year :(

However it was advice given to me by our PLA advisor when we were talking about money, if you don't have a shortage of children then it might be worth it.

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Hi it's a struggle isn't it for all. :(

We have increased our fees by £1.00 per session from September, this is to take account of the increase of minimum wage in October 2013.

We have certainly noticed parents waiting now until many are funded. Those that are not funded are in the minority so the extra few pence pays a little towards the higher ratio for under threes.

Just a thought could you start a mother/father toddler stay and play session, to get people through the doors on the days you are not to capacity.

Have you spoke to your Early Years team with regard to sustainability, I know some areas can access additional support in the way of grants etc.

Best wishes Fx

Thank you for the idea Fredbear, we do run 2 Toddler sessions one in a morning and one in an afternoon, both of which are extremely popular, this has proved to be our main feeder to pre-school, we are beginning to think that there is more job satisfaction in Toddler groups!

We were lucky enough to get a small (£1500) sustainability grant last year, I can ask but can't see that they would give to the same setting twice?! Unfortunately we are in a very affluent area and all our LEA money seems to be going to other settings who will be having 2yr old funding, which as of September we could access, but the likelihood of anyone approaching us is pretty small :(

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We have got the two year funding from September, but don't yet know what that will mean for us - we don't know the amount, or actual criteria, or even how it's managed! Do parents approach us or the LEA? do Health Visitors action it? It's not organised anything like the 3-4's funding was when we first got that.

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We have got the two year funding from September, but don't yet know what that will mean for us - we don't know the amount, or actual criteria, or even how it's managed! Do parents approach us or the LEA? do Health Visitors action it? It's not organised anything like the 3-4's funding was when we first got that.

For our County there is quite a criteria list for parents to meet, but basically if the child would be eligible for free school meals then chances are they would qualify for 2yr old funding. Parents can now choose which setting they wish to attend and then the setting speaks to the LEA about setting the funding paperwork wheel in motion!

Having spoken to the Headteachers at 3 of my 6 feeder schools, they don't have any free school meal children, which backs up what our advisor is telling me which is, although we have signed up for 2yr funded children the chances are very slim for us getting any.

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Thumper - I'm not 'increasing' this September but it will be the first time for years that I haven't.........

 

Cait - as you know I don't have any 'two' year olds - mine start at 2.5.......but yes I charge 0.70p over the funded rate.......

 

I have often had parents who want to wait until funding kicks in - I explain in great detail :blink: why I can't 'hold' places - they can then make their own choices :1b

 

Finleysmaid - I feel exactly like you - I think our very existence is 'being threatened' from all sides :(

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It always seems insane that a childminder can be on her own with a few children and yet at preschool, when there's only two children, there still has to be two staff in! I know it's an ideal time for one to catch up on paperwork or cleaning or whatever, but it's one of those strange inequalities.

 

Wouldn't like to be on my own in a setting with a couple of children, particularly, but you know what I mean.

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I know what you mean possum, the inequalities strike me most when we get back following the summer holiday and in 6 weeks the children have to be on a 8-1 ratio with us, yet we get back and the TA is taking all 30 of the children that have just left us on her own for PE and on occasion I've even seen a student with the whole class :/

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Although we take funded two year olds we still only take them from 2.5 because we have one family grouping so that works best for us (our non funded children start from 2.8) We get £5 per hour for them (i think this is the set amount for ALL counties) They have to match criteria (which has just been changed again!!) so now they must have sen or come from a low income family. They approach us or the LEA then get passed to the officer in charge who sends out an acceptance letter and a list of possible pre-schools ...they then go through the application process with us. The funding is sent direct to us and is dealt with in an identical fashion to the 3 year old funding...just a different form.

 

Of course this is just our LEA

 

Our non funded children were coming in for less time last year...just having discussions whether to give them 2.5 hours or charge them more!

 

 

oh forgot to say have 3 registered for sept 2 with sen/medical needs and one who is' looked after'

Edited by finleysmaid
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We have got the two year funding from September, but don't yet know what that will mean for us - we don't know the amount, or actual criteria, or even how it's managed! Do parents approach us or the LEA? do Health Visitors action it? It's not organised anything like the 3-4's funding was when we first got that.

Our 2 year old funding is run exactly the same as the 3 year old funding, we even use the same claim forms with no shown diffentiation for age. Parents apply for the funding in somerset and all settings and HV have the claim forms for those parents who wish to apply, strange how differently each LEA manage funding. Back to the original thread, I won't be raising fees in september but I was advised at my last audit 3 years ago by county to charge an extra increment for the 2 year olds to reflect the higher staffing needed, however I have a full financial audit next week so it will be interesting to see what they advise this time as the new term is going to be hard financially for us again
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'We get £5 per hour for them (i think this is the set amount for ALL counties)'

 

nope,finleysmaid, we get £4.85 for our 2 year old funded children

Edited by max321
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'We get £5 per hour for them (i think this is the set amount for ALL counties)'

 

nope,finleysmaid, we get £4.85 for our 2 year old funded children

Humm thats interesting i thought the government had set this and LEA's weren't allowed to topslice ....be interesting to see what others are getting then??

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Our 2 year old funding rate is also £4.85/hour - nowhere near enough for what is involved - we are looking long and hard at whether taking these two year olds is financially viable at all as most have come with difficulties that have had staffing impacts.

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Well after reading all these comments i am going to be controversial and say we are thinking of reducing our fees in September for toddlers! We are not going to offer the 2 year old funding either, although our local authority says there's sufficiency in our area! SO we are breaking the mould, so to speak if we go ahead with this! What should this achieve?

 

By offering full time only places (40-50 hours per week) at only £120 per week, it should encourage the working parents, or parents wanting to go back to work a chance of affordability. At the moment the prices of childcare as we are all aware doesn't make it worth it for many parents so they opt for either not working or a child minder. Yes they could also get a similar price if funding was available, but the negative effect of us offering funding is we would have to be more flexible, and it is this flexibility that costs us money to be blunt! Yes it might take a while to fill the places we have available because of the small window we have, but i am sure we can make it work.

 

Offering the 3 year old funding has been great, don't get me wrong, but it does actually lose us money like many people have said here on this forum. We could argue we wouldn't have the children if it wasn't for the funding etc.. but i think with reduced costs to nursery prices, things could actually improve. We have noticed a reduction in full time places being took, and find parents are using family members or other arrangements due to affordability, even though tax credits are available! The tax credits system is all wrong as i have mentioned in my earlier posts and could be worked much better. If you look at my earlier posts you will see how i feel it could work better.

 

I am in 2 minds whether to go for this scheme, due to not wanting to offer 2 year old funded places, we might need to do it just to compete!

 

I know i might sound ungrateful or fortunate to be in a position to be able to reduce costs and be able to offer a scheme like this. I read many posts of nurseries just about making money or losing money even and we have been in this position ourselves, but we are in a more fortunate position at this time but things can change come September!

 

Thoughts please :)

Edited by boltonnurseries
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