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Stretched offer for funded places


Stargrower
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I was just looking at the new Statutory Guidance that Sue kindly posted and have been thinking about the "stretched" offer. We are a day nursery and are open 51 weeks a year but we don't currently offer the "stretched" option where parents can use fewer funded hours per week but over the whole year rather than only during term time. There are lots of implications and considerations but I wanted to know if anyone else is "stretching" and offering funding all year round? If you do, what do you find are the pros and cons?

 

Sue here....just for ease here is a link to the guidance if you haven't seen it

Edited by Sue
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I have always offered the stretched option and find it gives parents more flexibility and ensures we don't carry empty sessions through the holidays. Occupancy levels are therefore easier to work out as I know that I have a set number of children for a set number of hours per week for a set number of weeks per year, it makes invoicing much simpler as parents are paying the same each week thoroughout the year.

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I have always offered the stretched option

The flexibility for parents and the consistency is one of the plus points for me too. One of my concerns is more from a staff point of view in that they get no break from the full-on planned early education sessions for the whole year. At the moment we 'go with the flow' a lot more during holidays. We do some planning, but its more just to plan fun activities that children will like rather than next steps, observations, learning intentions etc. I think to do this for 51 weeks a year would be quite a lot to ask...

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We are only open 46/47 weeks but offer 'relaxed' planning during the school holidays that we are open for, but we still loosely plan from childrens interests and are aware of next steps, we just drop our focus aspect and cut back on activities like SEAL and letters and sounds so that there is some break for staff. I am hoping that now we are using Tapestry our obs/ assessments will be less time consuming so less of a problem as well during these relaxed weeks

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We are also full day care 51 weeks per year, we offer stretched funding, we don't have too many parents who do it as the vast majority of our children take more than their 15 hours per week so fees are calculated term by term (paid monthly) but for those who have chosen to stretch, it has had a couple of advantages for us, firstly as already said above, it helps keep occupancies a bit more consistent but more than that I have found that for the children who do two mornings or afternoons per week (10 hours) when they turn 3, their parents want to increase to their 15 hours, which is fair enough but we do not always have the space for them to do that, so stretching the funding enables them to keep two their 2 sessions but to come every week (as they have been doing before they were 3) we are full with a waiting list so not having to try to keep spaces open for when these children turn 3 (especially as we try to be flexible with the hours parents want) is not always an option so this is a good compromise :)

 

For parents who have more than their 15 hours, we also offer to stretch so that they have the same fee every month as its easier for them to budget, however I was advised to be cautious on this as it is a headache of they then leave part way through the year as you have technically given them the benefit of all the funded hours before you have actually claimed it from the LA

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we are full with a waiting list so not having to try to keep spaces open for when these children turn 3 (especially as we try to be flexible with the hours parents want) is not always an option so this is a good compromise :)

This should of course say we are not always able to keep spaces open, excuse the mistake, I'm tired and have been knee deep in occupancies and EYFS information all day so my brain is a tad frazzled, oh the joys of our job :P

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