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Explaining why we can’t afford to offer 30 hours!


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I have just received back the parent surveys that I sent out.  As predicted they are all crying out for us to open five days a week.  We used to open five mornings, then we were put under pressure from parents to open for two days and a morning (to make the 15 hours) which is what we have been doing for the last few years.  I made the decision that with the numbers we have on roll (14) that to provide the 30 hours funding would not feasible. (I also don’t think we have many families that would qualify) Last year it was touch and go on the 15 hours that we could remain open.  How do I explain to the parents that we just cannot afford to run at a loss which is what we would be doing if we opened 15 hours.  It is making really anxious, I am sure they think I am just being difficult! And I want to be able to explain clearly in my response.  Any advice would be most appreciated.  

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I think this is a  tricky one for parents to really get to grips with.

Maybe clearly showing the figures as a scenario  say,     for "child A"    who attends    X hours      their funding   against    your true hourly cost.    Lay the figures out as simply as you can, surely then most people can see the maths.

 

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We don’t have a waiting list at all.  I just don’t think that enough of our families would qualify for 30 hours funding. Last year we ran at a loss just on the 15 hour entitlement, although numbers have increased this year so we may break even. I just feel strongly that there is such a huge misunderstanding with the words ‘free entitlement’ and I understand that parents feel entitled but I am not prepared for our group to close trying to provide it.

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I feel your pain zigzag :(

I agree with Panders - lay the maths out for them

We don't/can't offer 30 hours either - we do, however advertise that we work in conjunction with a local childminder where 30 hours are required - would that work for you?

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It’s a bit of a ‘catch 22’, if you could open more would your have more children on roll and a waiting list? Maybe as you say you don’t have many that would be entitled to 30hrs but could that be because what you currently offer doesn’t  suit the families that would be eligible.

Have you introduced a ridiculous consumable charge yet? I’m now seeing a number of settings invoicing for say 6 hrs a day at their fee rate, deducting the ‘free 6 x funded rate’ and charging the rest as consumables (therefore getting around calling it a ‘top up fee’) If I was an owner I’d def be doing that but not so easy when the committee who will have to pay it  need to ok it :-( 

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We had a setting nearby to ours which "charged" a voluntary fee, effectively a top up, but was "voluntary" and parents in the main were happy to part with the cash.   A reasonably affluent area, but still rather normal families, nothing too outrageous.   Local authority knew about the situation and were quite happy with it,  I haven't checked but I have no reason to suspect any change, as I knew the owner rather well.

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On 2/19/2020 at 17:05, zigzag said:

I have just received back the parent surveys that I sent out.  As predicted they are all crying out for us to open five days a week.  We used to open five mornings, then we were put under pressure from parents to open for two days and a morning (to make the 15 hours) which is what we have been doing for the last few years.  I made the decision that with the numbers we have on roll (14) that to provide the 30 hours funding would not feasible. (I also don’t think we have many families that would qualify) Last year it was touch and go on the 15 hours that we could remain open.  How do I explain to the parents that we just cannot afford to run at a loss which is what we would be doing if we opened 15 hours.  It is making really anxious, I am sure they think I am just being difficult! And I want to be able to explain clearly in my response.  Any advice would be most appreciated.  

Even our maintained nurseries don't offer 30 free hours because they can't afford it! however we had to fnd a way to do it or we would have struggled for clients. I think the trick is to work out demand and then costs and then find a way of charging that amount ... we have 2 funded sessions joined with an unfunded lunch (which is voluntary!) 

I have worked hard to ensure we can afford to do it and have had to argue lots along the way but this method is working currently. ..stick to your guns if you know it won't work don't do it! but if you can it might be viable

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I am just collating it all now to see if we can afford to offer part of the extended hours. It would be good to be seen to trying to meet the demands of the parents.  But I am not prepared to put the setting at risk because of this!  Watch this space....

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20 minutes ago, zigzag said:

I am just collating it all now to see if we can afford to offer part of the extended hours. It would be good to be seen to trying to meet the demands of the parents.  But I am not prepared to put the setting at risk because of this!  Watch this space....

do shout if i can help!

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23 hours ago, zigzag said:

I am just collating it all now to see if we can afford to offer part of the extended hours. It would be good to be seen to trying to meet the demands of the parents.  But I am not prepared to put the setting at risk because of this!  Watch this space....

I think I’d be sending out something along the lines of “our recent survey highlighted that a number of families would like us to open for longer hours, whilst we are prepared to consider this; due to the current funding climate of the funding we receive an hour being less than the hourly fee rate we know we need to remain sustainable we would like to ask you about your willingness to make a small/reasonable (could specify amount) contribution towards the shortfall to cover the cost of consumables” (highlight the weekly shortfall you already carry’

give them a return form (or survey) with the 2 options:

”I understand the reason a contribution would be requested” yes / no

”I would be willing to make the small/reasonable contribution requested” yes / no

Good luck :-) 

 

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This is an extract from one of our local nusery schools (maintained) regarding their funding. Considering they are a maintained setting i am surprised that they are able to do this...but it just shows how tricky it is to get funding right...

 

 

The Government has implemented the Early Years New Funding Formula that takes effect on 1 April 2017. The formula sets out how much funding per hour our Nursery Schools receive for each child taking up a funded place. Despite the Government’s promise to give Local Authorities enough funding to maintain current levels for Maintained Nursery Schools, our Federation is facing a significant reduction in funding per child per hour. Many of you will be aware of the Government’s election manifesto commitment to give working families 30 hours of free childcare for 3- and 4-year-old children from September 2017. Early Years providers, including Maintained Nursery Schools, are not obligated to provide the extended entitlement. The Decision Process The Governing Body is committed to our core purpose of providing outstanding Early Years education to as many children and families as possible and this is always at the forefront of any discussions. Using the new levels of funding, the Governors performed an analysis of how the Nursery Schools will be affected financially if they offered the extended entitlement. It has become very clear that if we offered the 30 hours under the current levels of funding, the Nursery schools would immediately go into deficit budgets. The Governing body has, therefore, decided that our Nursery Schools are not in a position to offer the extended entitlement due to the reduced funding. We fully understand and appreciate that this will be disappointing for some parents, but the Governing Body cannot implement an admissions procedure that will negatively impact on the sustainability of the Nursery Schools

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