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I am a manager at a committee run pre-school. Our committee has decided they would like to put in 2 new sessions in the afternoon for our 3 yr olds. I just wondered what times other pre-school ran them from and too. None of my staff are happy to stay past 3.o.clock. As we have to put all the equipment away at the end of a session, i can't see us completing this by then which means i am left with my supervisor doing all the clearing away yet again. our morning session finishes at 11.45am.

What do you do about Lunch, do you have seperate staff to do the afternoon sessions?

Another point i am quite concerned about is that some of the parents already bring their children to the five sessions every morning and would like to bring them to the afternoon sessions as well, i feel very sorry for these children, its like their parents don't want to spend anytime with them, they say they will pay for the afternoon sessions as their five mornings are funded, but there will only be about half an hour in between, are they having lunch in the car!!!!!

how do other pre-schools operate.

Thanks for any advice received.

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Hello simcity,

I have some parents who ask for their children to stay all day. I find this is for a variety or reasons. I now provide full day care for 3 days a week and part-time for 2 days. The pre-school used to be closed for 30 minutes in between and I did find that children were eating their lunch in odd places and parents often expected to come in early because their child needed to use the toilet. Sometimes parents used to take turns in looking after one anothers children off the premises but children and staff often got confused as to who was collecting them.

Two staff stay to both sessions and cover lunch club whilst 3 are replaced by different staff at lunch time.

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if you had different staff in the afternoon could children stay for some form of lunch club between sessions? either the morning staff could stay later or the afternoon staff could arrive earlier


could you open a corner of the hall for parents to sit with their own children to eat lunch?


are you registered as sessional care? how does opening all day affect registration?


we did consider opening aftenoons but couldnt physically juggle the sessions to include a lunch break and be out for 3.00pm to collect our own children


sorry I seem to be adding to the questions rather than answering them!?!?!

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for staying to lunch you will have to be full day care and ofsted will have to reinspect to see if you meet the requirements it will also put app £1oo pound on your annual bill ad you will have to let your insurance company know.

If you are thinking of just providing 2 extra sessions but not the same children you only have to be closed 10-15 mins before you can open again which you could do with new staff in the afternoon perhaps and then reopen 12 til 2.45 giving your staff time to tidy up obviously the children wil have to have had an early lunch :o

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Thanks for your replies.

At the moment we are registered as sessional care. We already open for three afternoons for the 2 yr olds but these are shorter sessions,we only do from 12.45 till 2.30pm. I also only have five staff not including parents etc i use for emergency cover.

Another stumbling block we are having is that staff are paid for 3 and a quarter hrs per session for the three years old and 2 and a quarter for the two yr olds, as soon as there time is up they are out of the door. I really think we need to rethink staff hrs, plus start and finish times.

I also set up with just my supervisor, we come in at 8.20am rest of the staff at 9am because that is when they are paid from and they say they have to drop their kids at school. i am also paid from 9am. We are also left tidying up after the two yr old session because the tidying up is not completed because we have to put everything away.

I already work every session doing the paper work at home in my own time.

I'm sounding depressing now i must stop moaning, i think we only do this jobs for the kids. I do really like my job!!!!

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When I extended from sessional to day care I was given a grant to cover extra costs untill Iwas self sufficient. I was re-inspected but this was done during the holidays and took about 30 minutes. Our sessions are 9.00-11.30. and 12.00-2.30. Some of the morning children stay to lunch and some of the afternoon children come in at 11.30 for lunch. About 10 of the older children stay all day. It works well for our group. Even though children eat early they all seem to have adapted and eat well. On the days we are open all day we do open the snack bar at 9.30 and only offer fruit with the drink.

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I understood that if you were registered for sessional care children could only come for a maximum of five sessions a week-am I out-of date on this point?



I checked this with the PSLA, they have informed me that as long as they leave the setting for half an hr they can return but i must offer a differnt curriculum for the afternoon, it mustnt be repeated from the morning session.

As they have funding for five sessions they can pay for the others

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My sessional pre-school runs 8 sessions a week, the morning session runs from 9.30 til 12 and the afternoon session from 12.20 to 2.50 pm. Most of the staff have children that need collecting from the local school at 3.10. Some staff work all day and have only 20 mins for lunch! We dont allow children to attend 2 sessions in one day. I was under the impression that the children had to have 1 hour inbetween sessions, therefore they couldnt come to both! I cant believe your staff dont come in until 9am. We start daily at about 8.45 but only get paid from 9am and staff dont leave at the end until everything is put away, regardless of whether their paid time is over! :o

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We offer one afternoon session for a much smaller group of children. Our morning session finishes at 12 and the afternoon 12.30 - 3. Occasionally we have had a child do both. The parent has to come in to give them lunch or take them out for that half hour. One of the morning staff usually sets up while the 2 staying on have lunch.




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the national standards define sessional care as 'facilities where children under eight attend day care for no more than 5 sessions a week each session being less than a continuous period of 4 hours in any one day. Where two sesions are offered in any one day, there is a break between sessions with no children in the care of the provider'


So a child can attend two sessions in one day but I don't see how they can attend more than 5 a week. I'd be very interested if anyone can point me to something in writing which says they can!

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hi we are a committe run group open 5 mornings 9.30 - 12 and two afternoons 12.15 - 2.45 the staff go on lunch break in shifts of 20 mins and we have seperate children in the pm sessions.

i am sure that as a sessional group all children need to be off the premises for lunch and children can only do 5 sessions per week no more. :D

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We do two lunch sessional week whcih takes the children up to four hours so we are still classed as sessional. Like you simcity , we have some staff arrive dead on time( when everthing is set up )and leave dead on time regardless and the same people set up and put away - we have fifteen minutes to set up and put away equiopment and even with four staff it is not possible. Its why I sat at my PC this time of night doing a report for one of our children unpaid at that!! I love working with children but am snowed under with paperwork and becoming more removed from the children every day. I am thinking about opening for an extra session because we havwe so many children waiting to come in - can I sepcify an age group for a session?



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we are committee run.


we offer 7 sessions per week, 2 full days 3 part time. part time is 9.30-12.00 and full day is


9.30-12.00 - morning session of 2 1/2 hours so can take funding

12.00-1.00 - lunch time - fee paid by parents and supply packed lunch

1.00- 3.30pm afternoon session of 2 1/2 hours so can take funding


but we do have the problem of staff children being picked up from school, we tend to take turns in collecting each others children from school, and i have a very understanding husband who i make pick up when im working the afternoon. As we too have to pack everything away each day, we dont finish till 4.00pm - long day, and yes, suprise suprise, i then go home and do paperwork (in my time, yes) why do we all do it?????


as we offer an hour break, and each session is 2 1/2 hours long, we can take funding for both sessions


we had to re-register as full/extended day care from sessional care to offer this.


for those children who attend all 7 sessions, they get their 5 free entitlement and then pay the fee of non-funded children


smiles, you can specify an age group for this session, but would advise you have it somewhere in writing such as a policy or procedure just in case.

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hi Sue,

there is no reason why you cannot specify age on a session we have 5 sessions just for our children in the last year before school and 5 for younger children but the older children do also attend these sessions.

If you are committee run obviusly pass it with them have it stated clearly in your prospectus/policy doc and be ready with a clear valid reason when asked by parents why.

We are able to do so much more with our 3-4yr olds on the older sessions,building up their concentration,sitting etc linking with reception as well which our 2.5 yr olds would not beable to do.

We may have to do more mixed sessions in the future to tip the balance of children but we will keep some sessions just for older children.

ofcourse it depends on your numbers wether this will wok.

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Committee run and we currently run 2 sessions a day -10 a week- (have been for 5 years now)plus a recently started lunch club.


Sessional care, and we do not allow any child stay more than 1 session each day.

we are open 9.15 to 11.45 (funded)

lunch club for ams only 11.45 to12.15 (paid for with packed lunch)

afternoon sessions 12.30 to 15.00 - (funded)

this was at parents request not to finish after 3pm.


Staff arrive at different times but are paid for hours worked between 8.45 to 15.15 so if they are late they do not get paid for that time. They have a 20 min break during the day staggered so ratio is never compromised.

One member of staff gets paid from 8.30 and comes in to clean and check the room. (other hall users not always very considerate and leave place in need of a clean!)


some work all day, some afternoons only, some mornings only, some a bit of both! rota can get a bit complicated at times (but got a lot clearer with help from Peggy - thanks all going well. :D )


we take children from age 3 so have mixed age groups.


As we have to clean, get set up and put away every day we have a story or group time for the last 15 or 20 mins each day. This allows for the staff to put everything away while the children are involved with the playleader and usually 1 other staff member depending on numbers of children in an area away from the movement of tables chairs etc into the cupboard.


it can take several forms depending on children and once the room is clear gives plenty of scope for large group play which takes space, parachute, football remote control cars or a simple obstacle course with a couple of tunnels, stepping stones, hoops etc which can be very quickly put away with no effort. Music and movement is a childrens fave as are circle songs.


finding staff as dedicated you are is hard...most will only work if they really have to or for paid hours only. Our contract has it written in that we have to stay until everything has been put away at the end of the day regardless of how long it takes. Surprising how many hands can put things away very quickly.


we all wish for an easy solution to this... dont think there is one


Back to paperwork!!



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Hi simcity,

We are a sessional pre-school and open 7 sessions per week. We had to hold afternoon sessions because of the waiting list - very long! To provide this service we have had to make compromises and we only have a 20 turn around between sessions and have got around the school run with staff by closing at 2.45. The children and staff all have lunch together, which is wonderful, but it does mean we don't get a break as such, but it is the only way we could open afternoons. The staff wanted to have extra sessions, so they are prepared to work like this. I'm not sure how legal it is, because the staff don't get an official lunch time, as I said we do have a 20 minute turn around in between, but this is usually tidying up and setting up for the next group. Saying that, the children are now very good at leaving things tidy because they know their friends will be playing in the afternoon. We too have to pack away, therefore it is important that all members of staff get involved, we have 2 members of staff doing circle time activities for about 10 minutes while the remaining 3 clear away, this leaves another 15 mins when the children leave to clear the hall completely. It's not easy, by any means, but I am lucky enough to have a good team and they work their socks off!

It is exhausting work and you know that tomorrow will bring the same amount of work, setting up, joys and problems within a session and then pack it all away again - And THEN go home to do all that paperwork. Great eh!!!

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  • 3 months later...

hi all,


on the same lines,


im a committee run, village hall, full daycare, mon fri full day, tue thur half day.


new committee now want to drop afternoons from september. taking us back, and re-registering as sessional care.


am i the only one who thinks "hang on" "are we not ment to move forward instead of going back to what we were doing 5 years ago?

im aware numbers of children are low and we have to think of finacial reasons, but this will make us the same as all the other groups in the area but more expensive.


i have meeting with the committee tomorrow and need more amunition to encourage them to keep them open.


any ideas?????



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