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Attendance Trend?


Stargrower
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Having looked at our dwindling bank account and wondering what was going on, I have been comparing numbers/hours/attendance with the last couple of years. We are a full daycare setting and we are busy, full for nearly all sessions in our three rooms. This is why I couldn't work out where the shortfall in income was coming from. I've realised now, that we are losing our 'full daycare' children - those that attend for long days - we are open 8am - 6pm. We have lots and lots of children who attend for their 15 hours of funding, including 12 funded two-year-olds. But where are the professional parents who need day care? This also means we are very quiet in the holidays as the funded children don't attend. It's getting quite worrying. Are others experiencing the same down turn? Does anyone have any bright ideas on turning this around?

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Do you have many children that do not take up their whole 15 hours? How about offering them the option of spreading the hours over the whole year? It may change the way your staffing works. I know it will not increase your income but might lower staff costs?

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Thank you lsp, I have thought about using the 'stretched' offer for funding and I think we will have to do this, although I don't really want to for two reasons. Firstly, it means we will have even more children doing fewer hours. We currently have 101 children on role which is a lot of families to work with. Secondly, I do not really want to offer 'early education' sessions all year round. I know children are learning from everything they do, but it is nice for staff to have a break from the formality of planned sessions during the holidays. However, I don't think we're going to have much choice but to offer this. I don't know what sort of take up we'd have but there's only one way to find out... :mellow:

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Having looked at our dwindling bank account and wondering what was going on, I have been comparing numbers/hours/attendance with the last couple of years. We are a full daycare setting and we are busy, full for nearly all sessions in our three rooms. This is why I couldn't work out where the shortfall in income was coming from. I've realised now, that we are losing our 'full daycare' children - those that attend for long days - we are open 8am - 6pm. We have lots and lots of children who attend for their 15 hours of funding, including 12 funded two-year-olds. But where are the professional parents who need day care? This also means we are very quiet in the holidays as the funded children don't attend. It's getting quite worrying. Are others experiencing the same down turn? Does anyone have any bright ideas on turning this around?

If you didn't offer funded places are you confident that you would have enough self-funding children? If so, why not restrict how many funded children you offer places to? In Kent we fill in a questionnaire every year which states how many funded places we offer to each age group now my own setting doesn't restrict numbers, but I feel that if I were confident I would get enough parents who could afford to pay fees I would restrict.

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Have a similar sort of issue with the pm sessions - we have quite a few children who attend 1-4pm so have surplus staff 4-6pm. Like you, I don't want to stretch the free entitlement to cover school holidays, so have decided that we will offer new children 3 x 5 hour sessions from 1-6pm on the basis we can then fit in more children and maximise the income (hopefully!)

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If you didn't offer funded places are you confident that you would have enough self-funding children? If so, why not restrict how many funded children you offer places to?

No, that is the problem. We have hardly any self-funded children. So most children are attending for their 15 hours a week but we are open for 50 hours a week and have hardly any children doing full days or longer hours than their 15. We used to have lots (although we've never had many doing five full days a week) and this is where we are losing money (or not making enough!). We need to target working parents who need us year round for daycare not just 15 hours a week.

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Sort of understand. We are preschool but offer places to children aged 2 1/2. I am finding parents are not taking up place then but waiting til children are funded after 3. So yes shortfall in our younger age group.

Messes up my business plan!

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If you are close to business area or shopping area think I would do a leaflet blitz of the area, or give out at local train station to likely parents and perhaps come up with a "come and buy me" offer!

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Sort of understand. We are preschool but offer places to children aged 2 1/2. I am finding parents are not taking up place then but waiting til children are funded after 3. So yes shortfall in our younger age group.

Messes up my business plan!

This is our problem too - until children are funded they are only doing the minimum allowed number of sessions (for us 2)

We are losing so much money now, that we aren't making making up the shortfall anymore, we are only surviving due to the amount of fundraising we are doing :-(

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Thanks for your replies. I was going to say I'm glad it's not just me, but I'm not glad that others are having the same problem. We've had to cancel our big annual bash in the summer because we just can't afford to it. :(

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About 6 months ago I had an enquiry from a mum who's 3 year old took 13 hours at a day nursery because she worked part time.

She then called me to ask if she could use her remaining 2 hours with us ... I replied yes she could and pay for the other 1 hour for the full session, she declined as she wanted to "use up her free hours, not pay for anymore"!!!

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We are sessional. I have preschoolers attend morning and we are full.

My younger ones are offered afternoon sessions. These are the parents who are holding out until they get funding. I faced with making half my team redundant in September only to rehire in April! How ridiculous.

So I've decided to open for longer sessions. We will be offering 6 1/4 hour day.

I'm still getting parents trying to squeeze 15 "free" hours out of this. Most understand when I explain that the funding just does not cover our costs but some don't. But it is the attitude about free irrespective of whether it is in their child's interest and how their child will feel being dragged out of a session early just because that part of it is free.

Oh well.

I keep telling myself - keep thinking about the children.

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Hi there, this is really interesting as currently we offer a whole host of different session options for our funded parents- we're doing ok, but its a minefield to manage. Many of them tend to do 16 hours a week so pay for the extra hour. However from September i am only offering funded sessions 9-1 or 1-4. We are expanding and any new staff taken on will only be working these hours term time only to keep the cost down. We started of doing 5 hour blocks but found that a) at 8.00/6.00 we still had a full nursery so i had to pay staff for longer and b) it was just too long for some of our 2 years olds, which resulted in a host of other problems. I just wish we were in a position where we didn't have to take only funded children.

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