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Neg Funding - Effect On Occupancy


thoreed
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Hello all,

 

Do any of you have problems with fluctuating occupancy during the year caused by the NEG? Our nursery is open for 51 weeks of the year, but can claim the NEG for only 14 x 3 = 42 weeks. The effect of this is that the nursery is nearly full during the NEG periods and half-empty during the non-NEG periods. This makes staffing very difficult (and expensive) because we end up being extremely overstaffed during the non-NEG periods.

 

Has anyone found a good solution to this?

 

Thanks for your help,

 

Tom

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HI Tom

 

You are very lucky to get 14 weeks x 3 terms a year because in Gloucestershire we only get 11 weeks x 3 terms a year.

 

It is our policy to charge parents for the weeks that the NEG does not cover and once a child is registered for certain days a week then they are expected to attend on those days (unless they are ill) and parents pay any top up fee's that are due.

 

This is common practice in most Early Years Settings in my area, the only other alternative is to only open the weeks that the grant covers (i.e. 33 weeks a year)

 

Carol

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Hmmm, this nursery education grant thing rumbles on and on. And it seems that there are a lot of differences from area to area. We only receive 33 weeks in the Stockport area-some groups charge top up for the extra weeks but we don't at the moment. I suppose I feel that we can't be offering a "free" place and then expect parents to pay as well. The alternative, as you say, is to close for the extra weeks but then we would lose all the children to other groups or state nurseries.

I have asked the question a few times, both of staff at the LEA and our MP, as to who made the decision and why do we only receive 33 weeks payment when we open the same dates as local schools who are open 38/39 weeks of the year. Also, we have to pay 4 weeks holiday pay so this devalues the grant again. Nobody has ever answered the question-I honestly don't think they can!!

Does anybody out there know the answer? I am going to write to Surestart to see if they can come up with anything. And I am going to start lobbeying my local councillors and MP for a change to the system and to bring us in line with LEA nurseries. I don't know if it will do any good but there is no harm in trying.

Linda

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HI

 

I have also been told that hopefully in the future they may change the way the grants are used and if a child only uses say 4 grants a week as they only attend a pre-school setting for 4 sessions a week that they may be able to use the extra grant they are not using per week to cover some of the weeks that the grant does not cover.

 

We have some children who only use 3 or 4 vouchers a week and their other vouchers dont get used at all.

 

I know that sounds confusing but its the best I can explain it.:o

 

Carol

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I've heard this as well Carol-in fact we were told that Stockport were considering applying it this year but nothing has happened. As we don't have universal funding here until April 2004 they take back any unused sessions and use them for children who don't have any free sessions at all-which makes it a lot fairer. So more children access the grant but they still only get 33 weeks. I'm hoping that come next year they will change ths but it still doesn't seem fair that we only get 33 weeks worth of money!!

Linda

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We do not charge for those extra weeks not covered by the NEG, much to my trying but the committee wont have it however much i try to explain it.

 

We to only get 11 weeks per term and are open as school for 38 weeks (we take an extra week of before christmas when all the staffs kids are still at school)

 

For children only attending 2 3 or 4 sessions we claim all 5, to cover the extra weeks, we have been told we can do it by our LEA as long as we parental consent and the child doesnt claim at another provision. Also many of our children increase to 5 sessions after the half term when the headcount has already been done, this way we dont lose out, and committee wont charge for them so why noy.

 

Still doesnt seem fair to those who get 11 weeks NEG and some terms can be 14 weeks long and we dont charge.

 

I'll keep trying, i had to forgo a pay rise last year and probally again this year ( mind you 10p per hour rise WOW) because of funds, so you cant blame me for trying to generate more revenue, can you.

 

Dont even get me started on preschool parent run committee's, im the leading practitioner and last year i got BANNED from meetings because i dont agree with them very often. They have been in post for nearly a year, and i have been there 8 years, you would think by now i know what im talking about, but do they listen.

 

Pay rise due in Jan 04, so i'll let you know if i get one (FAT CHANCE)

 

Ruthie, my name is Ruth but got the name Ruthie from all my children at preschool, even have the adults call me it now.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi,

I'm new to this site so forgive me if i just introduce myself.

I'm Mandy and i live in Derby in the East Midlands. I am a Registered childminder and Accredited to provide NEG funded places.

Here in Derby, funding is available to all 3 and 4 year olds from the term after their 3rd birthday and it has been so for the past 2 years.

I am currently recieving the NEG for one 3 year old but i also childmind a 15 month old and an 11 month old.

Funding here is for 11 weeks, 3 terms so the parents pay for anything outside of this that they use.

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  • 3 months later...

Hi

 

:( umm accrecitation officer has just brought it to my attention that my setting only gets 33wks funding.........and we are open 39wks.

 

What do we do!!! i know no one really has the answer but can i honestly turn round now and ask funded parents to pay for those extra weeks like we are entitled to do.

 

UPROAR springs to mind :oxD:(

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Yes you can ask parents for the extra weeks. Some groups in Stockport are already doing this. What you have to watch though is that parents are aware of this and it should be in your info for parents. Parents have to know your fees structure in advance. So, I would think you would have problems asking them for it now. But, you could do it in the future from September onwards.

Also, does your local authority pay for the extra weeks you do for those children who attend less than 5 sessions? Here in Stockport if a child attends 5 sessions they get 33 weeks money but if they attend less, say 2/3 they get the full year we are open, that is 38/39. So again you wouldn't be able to charge those parents.

Linda

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Part of this discussion is covered somewhere else on the site - I'll try and find it but it was only last week that I posted on there......

 

One way around the problem of the funding being only for 33 weeks which has worked for us is what we have called 'top-up weeks'. We charge for these but since they are not NEG funded there's no necessity to deliver Foundation Stage Curriculum!!!! We call them FUN WEEKS a bit like the old playgroup idea. Parents loved the idea that they were just fun, and we have had a week on 'the great outdoors' meaning that we were outside most of the time, making kites, blowing bubbles, paper airplanes etc - obviously more suited to the summer months. We have had another near Christmas for making all those lovely glittery jobs and getting really stuck in, not having to worry about 'the curriculum'. The quality of play during fun weeks has always been really high, children had time to 'wallow', planning was minimal and staff morale tip top, imagine all that time not filling in observations and paperwork but PLAYING WITH THE KIDS!!!

We produced a carefully worded booklet selling top-up weeks and with supporting evidence from early years experts on the value of play (tina bruce et al). We have had very few who didn't come. Why not consider an assisted place scheme if poss. or a savings club that parents can pay into over a year (eg £1 per week) to make it manageable.

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LJW

 

Thanks for your post, but can i ask how your fun weeks differ fron cirriculum finaniaclly wise.

(I went in this morning with your post and chair and i sat and worked out figures. But our hall costs and wages stiull meant we would have to charge the same amount as a funded cirriculum session!!!!) :o

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hi hali

 

coudnt get your personal message, trouble with my email.

 

im in norfolk LEA, the funding has changed this term,

 

we have to state how many weeks we are open for, say this term is 12 weeks

then how many sessions per week ie 3

then its divided as so

 

3 sessions x 12 weeks = 36 sessions can be claimed for

 

 

we have had parents in the past who may only want their child in 4 sessions per week for the first half of the term and increase them to 5 after the half term, so if you dont claim at the start of the headcount, you lose it.

 

not sure exactly how much of the second part we can do, but we never had problems with it in the past.

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I am in Devon. We have had to pay money back where we have claimed a certain number of sessions per week and the child has done less! We had an audit by Devon Financial services that picked this up. We had to pay back money from 2 years back! It nearly crippled us financially, so we have told parents that if it happens again they are liable! The parental grant declaration forms do actually state that the parents are responsible for sending their children for the sessions claimed.

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I have never claimed for extra sessions that the children don't attend, simply because I am worried that we would be found out and have to pay it back. I always tell parents that if they want to increase sessions that they have to do it at the beginning of a term or they have to pay for the extra ones. They have all been pretty happy with this.

Linda

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Linda we was told that if a child was already down for free sessions and they wanted to do more through the term, we could just contact them to change the amount of days. They can not do it for children starting late.

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I tell you its a nightmare. xD

If we dont claim any money back from parents for the extra 6 weeks per year we have worked out we will loose over £5,000........

But if we charge parents fees will fluctuate each term depending on how many funded children we have in at the time.

The chair and i are pulling our hair out not knowing what to do.. our LEA wont let us calim for any more sesions than the child does when the headcount froms go in. :o

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Like Hali once the headcount form goes in that is it. So thats why I have told parents that they can only increase at the beginning of a term, not part way through. Thats Stockports policy, but at least we are getting the extra weeks for those children attending less than 5 sessions.

Linda

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  • 2 weeks later...

OK girls time for hardhats in our setting!!!!!!

 

Had a committee meeting last night and the only way forward is to ask parents of funded children for the extra 6 weeks money..... :o

 

All committee agreed and all their children are funded so once the chair sends out letters to all other parents im buying myself a hardhat to wear at my desk xD

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  • 4 weeks later...

:o Hi everyone love this one the good old funding!!!!???? the case of "wont work cant work????"

 

I have always charged top up fees and sessions that are not covered by the funding we are open 38 weeks of the year funding lasts for 33 weeks!!

 

i would not be open and survive if i didnt, i really dont know how the government, Education and others think we would be able to pay OUR way if we didnt................sorry no more money fairies left!!!???

 

Would you guys mind if i used these questions to ask my MP on Friday to take with him to the House of Commons?

 

You never know we MIGHT get some answers........................................!!!

 

julia

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