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School nursery and 30 hrs advice


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Hi all

i manage the nursery in a school. We are open 50 weeks of the year 7.30-6.00 and have been open for 5 years.

currently we only offer 15 hours but are looking at offering 30 hours because our parents are starting to go elsewhere, where they can get 30 hours in one setting. 

Is there anything that we need to consider or any advice you have to aid this process? Any schools that have already been through this that can offer words of wisdom? 

Thanks 

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Hi Rufus, what is your reason for not offering 30hrs being open that many hours a day/year? Will you lose a fair amount between your fee and funded rate? We introduced a ‘fairer funding charge’ for all funded hours a while ago (it doesn’t cover the loss but it helps) and all pay it, you could make it the full different and be precise in what it covers. I would also look at some similar/close settings websites and see what their daily pattern of funding to fee paying hours are, many charge the hourly rate for early start/lunch time/later hours and only allow funded hours between certain times e.g 8am to 9am hourly rate, 9am to 12pm funded hours, 12pm to 1pm hourly rate, 1pm to 4pm funded, 4pm to collection time hourly rate and charge for meals provided.

maybe survey your parents, tell them you’re considering offering 30hrs but there will be a small hourly charge to offset the financial loss between the funding rate and your fee rate, explain what the charge will cover and ask if they will be willing to pay this. We only charge 30p an hour but it’s an extra £1500 next term on my estimated hours.

good luck 

Edited by Mouseketeer
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Im not a school but our local one does offer this ...though only for term time so 30 hours not 20 stretched . They offer it as a loss leader .

Our local maintained nurseries do not offer it. They say they cannot afford to!

Rather than coming at it from your point of view can you work out your budget as to how much you need to take over the year to cover cost/make profit (you should be making a minimum of 6% net)  and work backwards. can you afford to let them have 20 'free' hours a week? do you need to put some rules in place for this? (for instance do they need to attend all 5 days...or limit the number of 30 hour places?) 

Don't panic! think it through and it could be worth your while...succumbing to parent pressure is not a sound business decision. 😉 we have made it work for us by careful working out and setting firm rules i was fearful at the beginning as it meant quite a few changes and limiting our intake (as a 30 hour child takes up 2 spaces) but we are running a business and have to make it work financially. (even as a school !)

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Thank you for this advice. 

My head is adamant that he wants to offer 30 hrs as this is what parents need. It used to be that they favoured or setting because it was better than others but I think now, parents are having to prioritise the financial side of things. 

Am I right in thinking I can charge for extras... Lunch, snack, tea? 

I know some settings have funded sessions in the morning and afternoon therfore asking parents to pay for the lunch hour if they want full days. My LA guidance says not to do this. 

I feel uninformed because we didn't look into it when everyone else did, when the 30 hrs were first introduced. Now I feel like I'm playing catch up. 

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I do think you need to start from the costs side ...there is no point being busy and losing money!  If you are doing 7.30 -6 then what hours will you give them? (remember it's only 20!) yes you can charge for additional hours and for extras as long as this is acceptable in your schools policies/la agreements 

you still have 32,5 hours you can charge for so how you decide what they are getting will be important. will you fund just mornings or just afternoons. what will you allow and not allow. ? will you need them to take up a full time space to get the free hours....would anyone want to access 20 hours a week for free without paying for anything else? can you afford for them to do this?????? 

we do a split like you have explained  BUT we say if they want to take them home for lunch thats fine...i can't afford to do it any other way ...not really in the spirit of things but i'm already losing 30p per hour per child! 

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I was a bit late coming to the party and only offered/accepted 30 hours since September.  We are term time and operate from primary school site.  Not all my parents are eligible for 30 hours probably not even 25%.

We have offered school days for a number of years and last year accepted children into our Wrap around facility.  Parents who really liked us paid full fees.  I got caught by one parent who booked lots of sessions then gave me a 30 hour code and when I refused to claim the funding made life difficult.  

So I looked into the funding and took the brave step to accept the funding this year.  I am surprised by the number of families who have been eligible and attend lots of sessions.

Things you should take into account is

  • Although eligible to 30 hours parents want less hours, you can't make them take the full entitlement.  So think about flexibility
  • Think about the finances and your head may want to offer it for free but make sure that you can demonstrate what the loss could be.  I have friend who is deputy in a primary school and she would happily close the nursery as she sees it as draining funds from the primary school!
  • You can make charges for consumables or  sessions bear that in mind
  • If you are making charges make sure the parents know and understand this
  • Organising the children's day, if you are not used to having children all day everyday (although I think you are already) but you may want to think about your offer
  • 30 hours is only available for 3 months and parents have to revalidate their claim each term.  You may find parents drop out of being eligible so what will you offer that child the following term if the parent is not eligible
  • Do your research what are other nurseries in the area offering?

Would I advise going for 30 hours? We have to be adaptable otherwise we will not survive but do your research and have your vision of how you want the setting to progress.

Good Luck and let us know how it goes.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

We only accept 30 hour codes for children who want a minimum of 4 full days - 24 hours.  We are a Pre-School open 30 hours a week.  If parents want less than this e.g 3 full days they have to pay for the one additional 3 hour session.

We also make a small additional charge to all families only access their funded hours.  We keep this charge low, as technically this is a voluntary payment but all of our parents are happy to pay it - it gives us approximately and extra £1,000 a term so is worthwhile!

 

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Just wanted to thank you all for your advice. 

We have met and decided to offer funded hours in the morning and afternoon, therefore charging for before school, after school and lunch. This will work well for us as we are basically charging for the most sort after hours so will recoup money this way. 

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