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Pre School - 3 funded hours


rosepetal
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Hello, I wonder if anyone can help please?

We are a pre school with a morning session and an afternoon session. We don't provide lunch for the children it is two totally different sessions with a totally different group of children in the morning session to the afternoon session. We currently offer 2.75 hours per session for our funded 3 to 4 year olds and the same hours for our funded 2 year olds and the same hours for fee paying parents.

We are considering offering the full 3 funded hours to our parents but are only discussing it at the moment before the committee make a final decision.

Our start of the day would change by fifteen minutes and all my team have said this would not be an issue with any of them :1b however the main issue which myself and my deputy agree with the rest of our team is the end of the morning session and the beginning of the afternoon session which would cause the main issues which are as follows:

  • the morning session would start for the children at 9.00am - 12.00pm as opposed to our current time of 09.15am - 12.00pm. The afternoon session currently starts at 12.45pm - 3.30pm but we are thinking of starting at 12.30pm- 3.30pm.
    Does anyone else do these times and if so how do you over come the change over from 12.00pm - re opening at 12.30pm. At the moment by the time the key persons have spoken with the parents or if we have a late parent it can be 12.15pm to 12.20pm before the last parent has left the building. If we decided to go ahead with the new 3 hour sessions that is only giving the afternoon practitioners about ten minutes to get ready for the 12.30pm opening of the nursery doors.
  • I realise we would have to change the lunch breaks for the team as at the moment the full time practitioners get around 20 minutes all together but this would change if we go to a 3 hour funded session - however this is not an issue as cover would be provided for staggered breaks ,the only issue is the setting up and preparing for the afternoon session - what do others do if you work similar hours to us?
  • We have a full time room leader in four of our classrooms and 2 part time practitioners in each classroom - one classroom has a part time room leader and a part time practitioner for the AM session and a different room leader and part time practitioner for the PM session.
  • Any thoughts are greatly welcome :1b

Thank you in advance :1b

Rosepetal :blink:

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  • the morning session would start for the children at 9.00am - 12.00pm as opposed to our current time of 09.15am - 12.00pm. The afternoon session currently starts at 12.45pm - 3.30pm but we are thinking of starting at 12.30pm- 3.30pm.

    Does anyone else do these times and if so how do you over come the change over from 12.00pm - re opening at 12.30pm. At the moment by the time the key persons have spoken with the parents or if we have a late parent it can be 12.15pm to 12.20pm before the last parent has left the building. If we decided to go ahead with the new 3 hour sessions that is only giving the afternoon practitioners about ten minutes to get ready for the 12.30pm opening of the nursery doors.

Could you explain all of this to parents when you introduce your new times???

I use a 'Daily Contact Book' system - they only take a few minutes to write -it does cut down on all the "how has he/she been this morning" type conversations :1b equally I ask parents to write in them too - this provides a good two way flow of info daily and that cuts down on the start of sessions conversations too :1b

Anyone would think that I don't want to spend time talking to parents ;):D :rolleyes:

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Hello, Thank you for your replies :1b

Woodlands 1997 - at the moment we offer the funded sessions as 2.75 hours per session but we want to change this to the full 3 funded hour session for our funded children - our funded children get 5 sessions per week but 2.75 hours per session is only 13.75 hours per week and we want to increase this to 15 hours per week but need to work out how to manage the transition period from the end of the morning session at 12pm to the possible start of the afternoon session which at the moment starts at 12.45pm but we are considering opening the afternoon session at 12.30pm so the afternoon funded children can access their full 15 hours per week and not just 13.75 hours which they access at the moment.

 

Mouseketeer: The pre school have never offered a full day session it has always been the morning session or the afternoon session. We open at 09.15am to 12.00pm for the morning children - children then go home - the team set the classrooms up for the afternoon session then all have lunch in the staff room and at 12.45pm we open the doors for the afternoon children. The pre school has been open for many years and is a great pre school. I think it originally opened for two split morning and afternoon sessions to meet the demand of the community at the time.

Fimbo - Yes our morning sessions are different to the afternoon sessions totally different group of children and families and we also have a change over of part time practitioners.

Sunnyday - love the daily contact book idea- we do this as a home link book but have difficulty with lots of parents not using the home link books and or not returning the home link books - it's an on going issue - however it could be we do another big promoting of the home link books if we do go ahead with the full 15 hours funded sessions - something for us to think about :1b.

I do like the idea of providing a full day, say from 9am to 3.30pm that way parents have a choice of using either the morning and use the afternoon or just use one or the other - something for us to think about - not sure what my team would say as they have been so good with lots of changes over the past two and a half years with me :1b this would be something for us to think about for the future.

Thank you to everyone - I am still interested in hearing from anyone else who might do similar hours to us or who is thinking about offering the full 15 hours who might not have done presently. Thank you .

 

Rosepetal :1b

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We start at 9 til 12 morning session and afternoon 12 til 3 , some children do the all day , some just do morning and some just come for afternoon, they bring their own packed lunch , staff working the morning only finish at 12.30/ 45 , this is the time staff working all day take a break of 15 mins , therefore leaving other staff to supervise lunch. As one set of children leave sometimes only a couple others arrive , one member of staff responsible for this.

We have no issues with this , we even have some childrn leaving at 1 after lunch. We changed our system for leavers and arrivals by using the back gate therefore not disturbing other children . We still get time to chat to a parent if needed , it's just a fine art of getting the communication between staff right but it works for us.

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A thing to consider if you are thinking of doing all day is now they have to be allowed to 'join up' their morning and afternoon session with a funded hour over lunch which makes it a bit more confusing! It's so tricky nowadays working out what to do for the best!! Good luck and I hope someone in a similar position can help you out :-)

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Hi Rosepetal

We were like you except we did 9 to 12 then 12.30 to 3.30pm but we were then asked by parents to do all day and asked by schools to do afternoon pick ups at 12.00 noon so we had to look at what we could do.

We now offer 8.30 to 11.30 or 8.30 to 12.00 or 12 to 3 or 8.30 to 3pm.

Members of staff take different dinner slots and parents bring packed lunches for the children. We started in January 2013 with 2 children staying for lunch and last week we had 12 children staying for lunch. Its been a great success.

Morning children have singing time at around 11.10 so rest of staff tidy and get ready for afternoon. It is sometimes bedlam but children are growing and thriving.

Planning well thats another tale :rolleyes:

Hope this helps :1b

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Nursery opens 9-3.

There are morning children 9-12 and afternoon children 12-3 and some stay all day.

 

The middle hour 11.30 -12.30 is the children's lunchtime so morning children finish with lunch and afternoon children start with lunch!

 

It has been working well for us since about 2007!

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We offer two completely separate sessions every day 9-12 and 12.20 - 3.20. No opportunity to offer full days as we are a small setting and only have max 18 children per session. Have 49 on books at moment! Lack of space makes offering lunch impossible.

We cover change over by having at least one member of staff working only one session of the day and another coming in at 11.30 and being responsible for getting out resources for pm ( this is for those going to school in Sept only session - am is for any child) and doing some clearing up if necessary. Staff member leaving in morning works to 12.15 and helps set up for pm at 12. Staff staying on try to get lunch in 15 mins after children leave. Extra member means that 1 staff can start lunch earlier if necessary.

It just about works but does depend on co-operative parents arriving on time. We couldn't alter starting/finishing times for sessions as we have two primary schools - one next door 8.50 - 3.25 and the other 20 mins walk away 9 - 3.25 As it is we have late arrivals in morning and early pick ups in afternoon. Thought of opening later in pm but staff have own children to collect. We also have to pack away and clean building so do not finish until 3.45.

korkycat

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we are not too dissimilar we start 8.30 and finish 11.30 then 12 till 3 However we do also offer lunch club so that we can do full days too..Staff are on a lunch rota but sit with the children and supervise while the rest of us run round like idiots butterflies (!) getting the setting ready for the afternoon...which for us also includes changing some of the activities because of the full day children!....we try to get ahead by doing some of this quietly during circle time...but sometimes we are needed to support! Busy but do-able!

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Nursery opens 9-3.

There are morning children 9-12 and afternoon children 12-3 and some stay all day.

 

The middle hour 11.30 -12.30 is the children's lunchtime so morning children finish with lunch and afternoon children start with lunch!

 

It has been working well for us since about 2007!

Interested to know you say that you have lunch at 11:30am - do all the children stay for this or can they get picked up to go home at this time? and do you find some parents, shall we say push the boundaries if they should be collected at 11:30? knowing that you are still open! <_<

We currently don't offer the full 15 hours either, we offer 13hrs per week over 4 mornings, LEA are saying this is why we may not be full as parents like to think they are getting all of their 'free entitlement' - what are other peoples take on this?

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I hadn't realised any settings run separate am/pm sessions not linked by lunch, I don't think we'd have as many children if they couldn't stay all day, I'd say 80% do, we either have collection at end of morning session or end of day, not after lunch! this keeps the size of lunch group manageable, am staff mainly do lunch rota, all day staff have lunch break so enough in ratio after lunch. Most our ours access their funding by doing 2.5 days, this is 15.5 hrs so they pay for 0.5hrs a week.

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Thumperrabbit, 99% of the time all children have lunch at nursery!

 

Occasionally someone is picked up at 11.30 instead of staying.... Really not often though.

 

As for parents not picking up on time well again we have two sets of parents who push the boundaries....... There's always someone!!

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We open 9 - 3, children are able to do 9-12 or 12-3 or 9-3. We have lunch at 1pm - so the 'all dayers or afternooners' (lol ) sit and eat packed lunch with the staff . But we only open 3 days a week,

Edited by fimbo
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We run a morning session until 11.45 and then open up again at 12.15 for another 'afternoon' session. Its a tight turn around with chatting to parents, cleaning and setting up but completely achievable. In our area we have a full day care facility nearby so our sessional day care suits our parents.

Because the afternoon children bring their lunch at 12.15, we sit and eat our lunch with them.

As for breaks, well, we all grab a coffee when we can but as we finish at 3.30 we dont have as such a long day as some :1b

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We open 9 - 3, children are able to do 9-12 or 12-3 or 9-3. We have lunch at 1pm - so the 'all dayers or afternooners' (lol ) sit and eat packed lunch with the staff . But we only open 3 days a week,

Fimbo - can I ask, do you think that parents are bothered that you aren't open for 2 days?

I'm having a bit of a 'thing' with an advisor about this as we are only open 4 days she thinks this is why we aren't full, whats your take on it?

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We are only open 4 days and have also been told this is the reason we are not full. However, our 2 full days are full and only got spaces for older children on the half days! We can only have 12 children per session though so that does make a difference! None of our current parents want the 5 days, they like the fact that we do 2 half days (3hrs) and 2 full days (6hrs).

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My setting is only open 4 mornings. My parents like the fact that we are closed on Wednesdays, it gives them a lovely opportunity to do something with their children such as swimming, visiting, outings, library, dancing etc. We can't offer as much flexibility as the government would like, so we are not really much good for parents they want to get back into work. Ours is dominated by 2 parent families, one income - which is fairly substantial, these parents are not interested in full daycare, some may fit in a little part time work around our hours, or with some family help, but overall they want somewhere good for their children to go, to have fun and learn and make friends, that's why they choose us. Sometimes we are not full - or Autumn is slow but we pick up after christmas when more get their funding.

 

We are in an area where there are a complete mix of parental needs which is widely catered for - how about you? Are there enough families in your area that could fit your opening plan that you are not reaching?

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My setting is only open 4 mornings. My parents like the fact that we are closed on Wednesdays, it gives them a lovely opportunity to do something with their children such as swimming, visiting, outings, library, dancing etc. We can't offer as much flexibility as the government would like, so we are not really much good for parents they want to get back into work. Ours is dominated by 2 parent families, one income - which is fairly substantial, these parents are not interested in full daycare, some may fit in a little part time work around our hours, or with some family help, but overall they want somewhere good for their children to go, to have fun and learn and make friends, that's why they choose us. Sometimes we are not full - or Autumn is slow but we pick up after christmas when more get their funding.

 

We are in an area where there are a complete mix of parental needs which is widely catered for - how about you? Are there enough families in your area that could fit your opening plan that you are not reaching?

You have described our setting perfectly!

Are you offering the 15 hours over the 4 mornings??

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Since the introduction of the funding we have dabbled with a variety of different opening times and sessions arrangements. Originally (way back when the dinosaurs still roamed the earth) we were a "typical" pre-school offering 3.5 hours (9.00-12.30) Mon to Fri during term time.

When the 2.5 hour (limited) funding regime came in we continued (at parents' request) to offer 3.5 hourly sessions and parents paid a 1 hour top up.

Once the 2.5 hours became universal demand increased so much that we changed and began offering 2 x 2.5 hour sessions - funding rules at the time said that there had to be a 1 hour break between funded sessions so we did 9.00-11.30 and then 12.30 -3.00. At the time no one wanted to take their child away from the setting between sessions so we had completely different children mornings and afternoons and basically re-set and grabbed lunch.

Then the 1 hour break between sessions restriction was removed - more parents wanted a straight 5 hour session but a significant number wanted 3 hours so we offered 9.00-2.00 and for those wanting 3 hours 9.00-12 or 11-2. This was in terms of staffing, routines and the smooth running of the setting the worst scenario.

Eventually we ended up with only two children out of a total roll of over 50 wanting some kind of split session arrangement so at the end of the year a couple of years ago we moved to a straight 5 hour session. For parents wanting only the 15 hours (98% of the roll) their children attend 3 sessions per week. - Throughout this we have remained a term time setting.

As more and more of our families become 1/2 worker households we are looking at changing our model again - the current thought is that we do 9.00 to 3.00 and become semi-term time by offering care during the half term breaks and into the first two weeks of the summer holiday so that parents don't have to juggle their holiday time so much. There is insufficient demand for us to open all day all year round and we don't have sole use of our church hall either. Whilst this will not help some of our current parents we are going to ballot them all for their opinion to get a feel for whether this is a goer or not. This model would also enable us to generate some much needed income as our current model is 98% reliant on funding and with rates as poor as they are there is less and less "wriggle room".

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You have described our setting perfectly!

Are you offering the 15 hours over the 4 mornings??

Yes, we are Kent agreed some while ago that we could include the hour for our lunch club within the funding so we have 3 lunch clubs.

 

If I am truly honest from my own perspective I don't think I could do a 5 morning week any longer as we have only done 4 mornings for about 18 years!

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Since the introduction of the funding we have dabbled with a variety of different opening times and sessions arrangements. Originally (way back when the dinosaurs still roamed the earth) we were a "typical" pre-school offering 3.5 hours (9.00-12.30) Mon to Fri during term time.

When the 2.5 hour (limited) funding regime came in we continued (at parents' request) to offer 3.5 hourly sessions and parents paid a 1 hour top up.

Once the 2.5 hours became universal demand increased so much that we changed and began offering 2 x 2.5 hour sessions - funding rules at the time said that there had to be a 1 hour break between funded sessions so we did 9.00-11.30 and then 12.30 -3.00. At the time no one wanted to take their child away from the setting between sessions so we had completely different children mornings and afternoons and basically re-set and grabbed lunch.

Then the 1 hour break between sessions restriction was removed - more parents wanted a straight 5 hour session but a significant number wanted 3 hours so we offered 9.00-2.00 and for those wanting 3 hours 9.00-12 or 11-2. This was in terms of staffing, routines and the smooth running of the setting the worst scenario.

Eventually we ended up with only two children out of a total roll of over 50 wanting some kind of split session arrangement so at the end of the year a couple of years ago we moved to a straight 5 hour session. For parents wanting only the 15 hours (98% of the roll) their children attend 3 sessions per week. - Throughout this we have remained a term time setting.

As more and more of our families become 1/2 worker households we are looking at changing our model again - the current thought is that we do 9.00 to 3.00 and become semi-term time by offering care during the half term breaks and into the first two weeks of the summer holiday so that parents don't have to juggle their holiday time so much. There is insufficient demand for us to open all day all year round and we don't have sole use of our church hall either. Whilst this will not help some of our current parents we are going to ballot them all for their opinion to get a feel for whether this is a goer or not. This model would also enable us to generate some much needed income as our current model is 98% reliant on funding and with rates as poor as they are there is less and less "wriggle room".

 

I like the idea of extra during holidays and will be interested to know your take up on that, but I don't think we can offer it as I would have to accommodate too many staff children as well! Have you decided on your hourly rate for it?

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Extra hours would be at our normal hourly rate which is usually pegged at the same rate as the funding hourly rate. I am proposing that parents "stretch" their funding over the extended term and pay a small amount each week to make up for the non funded hours - or at least that's the plan. I don't think the take up will be huge but providing we get enough children each session it is doable and I have some staff who no longer need the school holidays off as their children are grown up now so staffing shouldn't be an issue.

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We are an 8am -6pm setting. We open at 8 for our breakfast club, mostly acomerdateing our children that go to school, although we do have some nursery children which start first thing! The actual nursery opens at 9-12 then 12-3. We have am and pm sessions. Sometimes children go home at 12 and some come in at 12 most stay all day till 3pm. On the cross over we wash the children's hands and do toilets... Think that should be round the other way, but it think you get my drift lol.

 

Anyway so we sit down for lunch around 12:10ish all staff sit with the children and we have social time.

At around 12:45 all children have finished and go off and play. At 3pm most parents come to pick their children up.

At 3:15 we then turn in to an after school club for ages from 2-11yrs. We provide biscuits and a drink as soon as children come over, then around 4:30 we do a snack of beans on toast etc. Then the remaining children get picked up at 6pm and that is our day over!! :)

 

Oh we also provide a holiday day club throughout the year, except christmas. Well we do deserve a break sometimes...... :)

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Having read a lot of the posts regarding not enough space for lunch club , or setting up for afternoon it may help to re evaluate your day. We do not set up completely differently for the afternoon , we have a staff duties rota , so all staff know what they are doing, at 11.30 we have 2/3 group al activity , staff member on cupboard will change some resources where needed . All children sit down for lunch at 12 so whether they are already there or just arriving a couple of tables are set for lunch , when lunch is finished staff member on kitchen duty clears tables and children are either outside or playing with other resources and then tables are set up with activity. We are in a very large village hall tho.

Those children who do all day are not charged for lunch club as it is included as part of their funded hours.

I think it is best to have a firm rota in place and trial and error until you get right and see what works for your setting the best.

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Hello to everyone who replied,

Just wanted to say a big thank you for all the replies :) it has certainly given us something to think about. I have asked all my team for their views if we were to go ahead and offer parents the choice of a longer day with a lunch time slot. We have discussed their concerns such as how would the staff get a lunch break, how would the key person system work if for example we had a child in all day but had to have 2 different key persons as the morning key person only works part time so would have to have a different key person in the afternoon, how would the change over work from children getting collected at 12 and some children arriving at 12 and some children having lunch at 12. I am going to have a meeting with my deputy and on a big sheet of A3 sugar paper write out the individual concerns and then write a suggestion of what we can do and work out how the cover would work for the staff lunch breaks - this should not be too hard as out of a team of 23 we only have 5 full time practitioners, myself and my deputy are also full time, so it is really only organising lunch cover for 5 practitioners as my deputy and I don't need cover for our break.

Ah well, lots to be going on with and sorting out if it all goes ahead. Decision is being made tomorrow if we go ahead with it!!!!!!!

Thank you again for all the replies :)

Rosepetal

 

 

 

 

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