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Funding question


Rea
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We've have unfortunately had to close about 4 times recently due to no heating, hall being used as a polling station and shortage of staff.

One parent has queried and has asked it to be bought up at tomorrows committee meeting, as to why she still had to pay for one of her sessions.

She has 15 hours free, Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday.

She's asking why she has to pay for her Friday session even though we were closed on a Thursday, why can the funding be moved across the week?

 

I kind of understand why she would ask, but at the same time we're a business so have to decide which days are funded.

 

What would you do?

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Hi Rea - Kent have become quite strict about this - not only would we have to make the hours up but if we closed on a Thursday for example - it would be the Thursday children that would have to be given the 'extra' hours - does that make sense?

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Yep! Just spoken to our EY people.

:(

Its never happened to us before, but now we offer 3 full days and 1 morning its caught us out. So that means free sessions for last weeks polling day and another free session for June!

 

We're never, ever going to have money in the bank!! :(:(

 

Thank you ladies :1b :1b

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If they only have their 15 hours entitlement I try to offer them an alternative session - if possible. It's harder this time of year as we are fuller. If they pay or pay for extra I offer alternative or refund.

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So how do you offer a session if all your others are full? We have no spare sessions to offer at anytime, each of our sessions are totally full. We could possibly offer an afternoon to a couple of children but would then have to employ another staff member for the session. What do you all do then?

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Exactly!! The lady at EY understood that but has advised that I email the question in and see where we end up. I'm checking the parents cantask for that funded money...me & her think we know the answer, but noting is written! She also suggested I email the council regarding loss of income. ?

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Children are entitled to a set number of hours per year.. what slots you choose to make available to your children to utilise these hours is your choice however if you make any entitlement hours unavailable or inaccessible then it stands to reason you should provide this lost time during other periods where possible.

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Okay so this is going to hit us twice this year. Once was for the Police Commissioner elections and secondly for the European Referendum.

As our facility is used on both occasions we have had no alternative than to close. The second date we are going to use as our annual day trip. So all children are invited to join us. I contacted our LA and was told that this is out of our control so there is nothing we can do.

However we do always try to offer additional opportunities for the children to come to events irrespective of their sessions, so sports day, concerts, soft play day, so we more than compensate generally.

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Surely if you are forced to close because of elections etc, then really you should (in my humble opinion) not be paying rent for that day, and should account for the day as a staff holiday. In that's the case, then just open for an extra day at the end of the term....then it should work. i.e. no effect on rent, no effect on wages and children receive their full .entitlement.

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So another thing....we are open a week more than the funding as we follow school and have inset days (5 per year - staff work them as I am on school contract). However, these inset days are decided by the school...so could be two Mondays, two Fridays and a Wednesday. I have always thought swings and roundabout here given that we open and are not funded for one week and of course we do not ask for payment from parents that would use their funding. Am I expected therefore to take sessions off those that do Tues/Thurs to give to those that have lost out on the Mon and Fri? This would of course not fit in with any parents due to different work patterns and would be hard to sort out!!

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No we don't pay rent for that day. But again it's not the staff's fault either that we are forced to close. So we have used the other date for completion of learning journals. Staff who do not work that day are paid the hours too, so it's fair to everybody.

Edited by Fredbear
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Do any of you offer extra things like a Chrismas party or leavers trip and invite all, some chn who might not usually attend that day are getting what they missed ? We find our parents are not as quick to shout 'do we owe you anything' for extras as they are to shout 'you owe us a refund/extra session'.

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Yes we do this throughout the year. So unless all the children were getting the fully funded hours with us which they are not, everybody gets a little extra, or any recompense for hours lost due to closures out of our control.

We try so hard to be fair, sometimes at our cost.:(:(

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So how do you offer a session if all your others are full? We have no spare sessions to offer at anytime, each of our sessions are totally full. We could possibly offer an afternoon to a couple of children but would then have to employ another staff member for the session. What do you all do then?

We have to offer a catch up session.

 

We open in school holidays if we need to offer an extra day - of course, hardly anyone turns up :( .

 

We had to close for a day in January as our front door wasn't closing securely unless double locked, and as it is our second fire escape, I refused to have children locked in...! (I expect the staff might have had concerns about it too!)

 

We knew about it on the Saturday, so I spend 2 hours contacting every parent possible (making a note of the phone numbers that were unobtainable to refuse that child till we had an updated phone number!), adding it to our facebook page, emailing Ofsted, putting a note on the front door, etc.

 

We did a planned make up day on the Monday of February half term, put a note out to all funded parents asking if they'd bring their children in 'so we made sure we had enough snack etc' (for etc, read staff).

 

Our 3 children who had a funded all day on a Monday also do extra hours later in the week which we do charge for, so we swapped their funded days that week for the day later in the week (so lost fees for 1 day for 3 children).

 

Of all the other children just accessing ams or pms, only 5 said they were coming in, so we arbitrarily offered 10am to 1pm (instead of 8.30 to 11.30 or 12.30 to 3.30 as our usual sessions are) and got enough staff in to cover. Well over staffed of course, as only 3 of the children turned up and we had 5 of us in, 2 with the children, 2 sorting the craft cupboard out and me sorting the shed & garden out and going off to the dump afterwards with a car full of rubbish.

 

The time before that, when we had to close for staff sickness, we only had 1 parent say their child would come in. Combined it with a staff clean up day and said to the parent that they were of course more than welcome to bring Little Edgar in, but he would be the only child. Dad said he wouldn't bring him in.

 

Historically, if we've had to close for an unplanned day like this, staff have been expected to come in to make up the hours they've missed but have been paid for (hence 5 staff in with 3 children), but the directors have most recently said that they'll pay the staff for the day they should have worked as it was not the staff's fault they missed the day's work, and pay any staff who are in for the catch up day for the hours worked as well. Very kind, but means we'll be running the extra days at even more of a loss.

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I find this quite incredible- so all the schools that are closed due to being used as polling stations (and in our area we have just had one closure for London Mayor and another in June for EU ref) have to open for 2 days in the holidays. Surely it would make more sense for them to just not pay you the funding for those days? However as someone has already stated, if I was forced to offer additional sessions I would be inclined to be asking someone about compensation for loss of revenue.

Edited by lynned55
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So.......schools that ARE closed for polling days and/or teacher training days,do they have to offer their funded children an extra day to make up for it? No?? thought not............so why do we?

Edited by narnia
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Schools are required by law to offer all children over 5 years of age 380 sessions (190 days / 38 weeks) of education. I presume this happens and I haven't actually checked if these polling days take away these sessions?

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It used to be that schools had 5 inset days and some were set by LA and the rest set by individual schools. Our local school used to be used as polling station and used one of their 'floating days' to close and staff had training day. We always used to close when they closed to give us the 38 weeks.

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I don't see why you should offer them an alternative session. We've had this discussion and will take these days into account when doing the invoices for the paying children but don't do anything for the funded children. They choose to come on those days and if, unfortunately, those days aren't available then tough, if they want another session this is classed as extra and they have to pay. If they are sick do they get to chop and change their days - no they don't.

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We've decided not to claim for those 2 days...it'll cost us loads but as this parent has been speaking to other parents we thought this way we'll be covering ourselves against further questions and should the council decide to do an audit, we haven't had one for about 5 years! I'm not happy!?

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