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Funded hours


Bluebell76
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We are a relatively small setting that can take a maximum of 27 pre-school children a day. We are open from 0905 until 1205 Monday to Friday and then offer Lunch Club (until 1300) Monday to Thursday and Late Stay on days where there is sufficient demand. All staff are contracted to work 5 days week until 1330 (Fridays are planning and staff meetings for the last hour). When I took over as manager 2 years ago, the setting offered parents the option of taking the 15 hours EEF in a flexible way - 5 mornings of 3 hours, 3 days with Lunch Club plus 1 morning session or 3 long days (0905-1400).

 

This has always worked well until this last year. During this last academic year we have found that a lot of parents are only putting their children in for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (0905-1400) meaning I have been over staffed on Monday and Fridays. Naturally, the staff haven't wanted to give up a days wage so at times there can be 4 members of staff for less than 10 children.

 

Having received parents requests for days/hours for September 15, it looks like I am going to be in the same position again. I am considering changing our funded hours policy and only offering EEF Monday to Friday, 0905-1205. Any additional hours for Lunch Club and Late Stay will be charged for.

 

I was just wondering what other pre-schools do, has anybody been in a similar situation etc? The committee agree that it's not ideal to continue in this manner but I don't want to go down the route of having to reduce staff hours. Any thoughts would be hugely appreciated.

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Hi Bluebell76 I have found that the problem with offering extended hours is exactly what has happened with your setting - obviously Parents choose whats 'best for them' and not what will make the setting sustainable and your staff keeping their hours!

LAs like us to offer a choice - however when you only have a small setting it really can become a problem financially - the Parents get their choice - but staff can lose their hours OR the setting makes a BIG loss!

Personally I would send out a letter detailing how the current situation puts the group in financial jeopady and you will have to charge for lunch clubs etc. We offered extra lunch club/Transition hours x2 once a week at an extra cost and lots of Parents dropped a session so as not to have to pay! But this put me in a no win situation, only having to pay extra rent and wages. Shall NOT be offering this next year!

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Could you offer your Monday and Friday mornings to two-year-olds? If the trend is going to stay that way, you could then 'feed' your two year olds into the mid week days when they are old enough. Of course you might not want little ones, but it would be extra income and perhaps a way of staying sustainable but still offering parents what they want.

Edited by Stargrower
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We are a small setting max 20 per day (12 in afternoon) Being flexible works well for us. Manager and deputy on 17.5 hour permanent contracts. Other staff on temporary flexible, hours worked out term by term. Opening hours may change but we would open min 15 hours. We own our building so rent not an issue. Child numbers are high at the moment so open 9 to 12 Mon and 9 to 3 rest of week. Parents can choose which hours they want. Several have over the 15 hours funded. Staff seem happy at the moment. Everyone's hours dropping in Sept but will still manage to keep everyone -hopefully.

 

I always keep a watch on numbers to ensure we are sustainable and explain to parents that opening hours may be subject to change. Not many families with 2 working parents in the area and they need all year round care.

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We do not offer our lunch club as a funded option even if they claim under 15hrs, we do 3 HR sessions with lunch club on 2 days, rest we are only there one session per day. It's simple and straight forward, as the long days are the height of demand if they want it then they pay for it. We clearly offer the full free hours without cost so abide by all rules, we must be sustainable to operate and if this means being more tighter on flexibility then that's what has to be unfortunately. Can not wait to start juggling these 30hrs a week :(

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We do not offer our lunch club as a funded option even if they claim under 15hrs, we do 3 HR sessions with lunch club on 2 days, rest we are only there one session per day. It's simple and straight forward, as the long days are the height of demand if they want it then they pay for it. We clearly offer the full free hours without cost so abide by all rules, we must be sustainable to operate and if this means being more tighter on flexibility then that's what has to be unfortunately. Can not wait to start juggling these 30hrs a week :(

.

 

Hmmm. I should have said that! Time to toughen up!!

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Thanks for your replies. We already have 2 year olds as we have another room for 1-3 year olds which doesn't have a problem. Parents seem happy to spend an absolute fortune before the kids are 3, but then just want it all for free!

 

It is really hard to plan our numbers as 70% of our children are military and we therefore have a lot of movement each year. I think realistically with the minimum wage increase later this year and fewer grants from our LA we are going to have to do something to ensure we break even, let alone make a profit.

 

I'd better start writing that letter and wait and see what the fall out will be!!

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I believe that so long as you offer 15 hrs free and that you inform parents it is up to you to decide. Just make sure you say to parents the funding hours are x to x so that they know. We have 3 he funded session every morning and then optional, paid for lunch club for an hour following it everyday.

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