Jump to content
Home
Forum
Join Us
Articles
About Us
Tapestry

New Grant Procedure


Guest
 Share

Recommended Posts

Has anybody else heard that the procedure for nursery grants is being rewritten by the DfES?

I have just been informed by a colleague that as from April children will be given free time rather than a specific amount of money. Obviously settings have different rates and this could have implications for both pre-schools and private day nurseries. I am not sure what yet and how it is going to work. I just wondered if anybody else had been infomed of this and had any ideas of what it is going to entail.

Linda

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find it strange that nobody seems to know anything about this and yet it is supposed to start in April-only two months away. It makes me wonder, and suspicious, as to why it is not public knowledge!! I have e-mailed a colleague at Playgroup Network to find out if she knows anything. I will keep everybody informed.

Linda

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Linda,

This is intriguing....it could be a good thing, in that, regardless of the session costs. etc., we can claim an appropriate amount to pay our staff properly :o Now, that WOULD be an improvement!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm hoping you are right in this Helen-but I have become such a cynic over the past 14 years I have been running the pre-school I am very doubtful!! I just feel that since the introduction of the nursery vouchers and the subsequent grant we have had to jump through more and more hoops. Some of them have been for the benefit of the children but many haven't. And a lot of good pre-schools and playgroups have been lost along the way, many because they have just had enough!

We have not had a very good relationship with the early years partnership or the LEA here in Stockport for a long time-not just pre-schools but private day nurseries also. They are not particularly supportive of the private and voluntary sector. So I am hoping this is not another nail in the coffin!!!

And yes, it would be great to give staff the salary they deserve-it would also be nice to get a bit more of it for myself!!

Linda

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, here is the gist of an e-mail I received today from Playgroup Network.

The DFES are handing over to the local authorities the responsibility for payments of the nursery grant. They will have discretion as to how much settings get and how it will be paid. So it will vary from area to area. Bradford are in the consultation stage. Groups are being terrified by a "contract" they are likely to be asked to sign which imposes all sorts of obligations regarding allowing inspections etc.

I quite frankly feel sick about this. Why are Bradford already consulting when it is quite obvious settings in most areas don't even know about it? I have been told that Stockport children will get "free time". I can only assume that instead of the £7.48 we are receiving now we will be given however much we are charging each session-which in our case is less than the grant. Which means that we will have to increase fees quite substantially.

Why does this all seem to be under wraps if there is nothing for us to worry about?

Linda

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello. In Shropshire consultation started during Autumn Term 03 and we are all now getting to grips with what the changes will mean to us on the 'chalk face'. We have had time to submit a breakdown of our overheads which has meant that the money we receive in settings from April will be according to which band we are in. Additionally, the grant will be topsliced to fund posts such as SEN Mentors, EYDCP & training. In setting the bandings The LEA have taken into consideration business rates, sustainability and rural issues (essential for Shropshire) in an effort to be fair to everyone. There is also a separate banding for settings on LEA sites where they can control the overheads and in this case the funding will be place led, not pupil led. For non-maintained & voluntary settings (70% in Shropshire) we will remain pupil led and submit headcounts in the usual way. On the one hand it is helpful that we do know what our funding level will be from April but we are all very worried that we cannot continue to deliver as high a staff ratio as currently with our reduced money which is calculated at minimum ratios and with standardised costs for staff. Only the Summer Term will tell what all this means in reality. My concern is that as committed and professional practitioners we will do our utmost to maintain standards by fundraising, more work done for no pay etc., thereby masking the true impact of the cuts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi -

 

Just a few notes which may help in the discussion. If you're all well aware of this, just send me a PM telling me not to try to teach my granny to suck eggs!

 

In a previous discussion on the NEG it was pointed out that actually the NEG as originally conceived no longer exists - many people continue to refer to it as the NEG out of convenience, since it was replaced by the less snappy title of The Provision of Free Nursery Education places for 3 - 4 year olds.

 

The original NEG was funded from central government, but with the introduction of the PFNE (lets call it that for convenience even though if you try to say it it sounds like you're sneezing...) last year, responsibility for allocating it began to be devolved down to local authorities, and was funded through the Education Formula Spending Share (EFSS).

 

The reasoning behind this is that requirements differ substantially throughout the country - rural areas have different needs than inner cities, for example - as do wealthier and poorer parts of the country. Because of this, one central system for allocating funds was felt to be too rigid and inflexible, and more discretion was given to the local authorities for using the funding to achieve the objectives (which are obviously to provide free places to all three and four year olds.

 

In the many discussions that have sprung up in this forum regarding the free place funding, it's become obvious that local authorities have found many different ways to interpret the code of practice which gives guidance on how the funding is to be made available. Some people have felt that the local authorities have been using the funding unfairly to push through objectives such as the adoption of QA schemes, or higher Ofsted inspection results.

 

(In my area, for example, the East Sussex local authority has made it a condition of nursery funding that each setting offers at least one core session which is completely free, regardless of the number of hours the normal session runs for. In this way they are helping to achieve the objective of providing a free education place for 2.5 hours for parents who don't require anything more. this has worked very well, and not caused any problems for the settings involved.)

 

What seems obvious is that it is necessary to be very familiar with the Codes of Practice, which the local authorities need to adhere to. In many parts of the country the funding is working well, with local authorities working in partnership with private, voluntary and maintained settings to grow and improve the provision available. In other parts of the country (as evidenced by Linda's post above) there appears to be much less trust in place. In those cases it seems that there is a great need for open communication between the local authorities and the verious settings.

 

There is a new Code of Practice being published in March for 2004 - 2005. Until then, the current Code of Practice can be accessed from the SureStart website by clicking on the link below.

 

The 2003 - 2004 Code of Practice on the Provision of Free Nursery Education places for 3 - 4 year olds

 

There is also an email address available for queries regarding the free place policy and implementation which I'm trying to find - I'll get back to you on that.

 

Hope this all helps the debate - if not just ignore me! :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for that Steve, I think it explains it all very well-no need to go sucking eggs!

I am a member of the National Day Nurseries Association and we had our Stockport group AGM last night-in a lovely restaurant with too much red wine flowing (slightly hung over this morning!!!!!) Anyway, we had some good news as apparently Stockport LA are leaving the whatever it's called PFNE as it is for this year at least. No banding of settings or top slicing either. So we all breathed a sigh of relief.

It is still a worry though that authorities are using the funding as a carrot, or in some cases a stick.

Linda

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi -

That's good Linda - I'm not sure I'd like raw eggs. :o

 

Here's the email address I mentioned in the last post:

 

34nurseryeducation.funding@dfes.gsi.gov.uk

 

Apparently an acceptable, and much more manageable way to refer to the new funding policy is NEF (Nursery Education Funding) - this is what the new Code of Practice will be referring to.

 

Also when referring to the Code of Practice it is important to note that although local authorities have a statutory obligation to have regard to the Code, they do not need to adhere to it. Which I guess means that they need to have a reasonable argument for departing from it.

 

That's all for now folks! :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. (Privacy Policy)