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NEG - 3 or 4 years old?


Guest Jan
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I work in a more "well off" outer London Borough (though many residents would question this - housing ranges from 7+bedroom detached mansion to 1 bedroom high rise flat!). Anyway in December we were told by Early Years that children would receive funding in the term after they were 3. We have now received a letter to say that 'Sorry' due to powers that be, from September 2003 Nursery Education Grant will only be available to children in the term before their 4th birthday. Attached to the letter is a table showing when children will be eligible to receive the NEG. This goes up to 2005. I.e. children will not receive the grant until they are nearly four, irrespective of when they were born.

 

Have I missed the plot somewhere or have the Government not pledged a 'free' place to all 3 and 4 year olds from April 2004.

 

Many providers and parents are counting on this pledge to give much needed additional funding.

 

On a personal level, I shall be writing to my Early Years Team, the Local Council**, Councillors, MP's and Government Departments in protest and as a member of my branch PLA committee will be encouraging others to do the same. What do others feel about the Nursery Education Grant? We seem have been sucked into the 'Education System' with the Early Learning Goals and submission of Profiles without any thought to additional funding.

Our termly funding is the same as last year but wages, rents and other costs have all gone up and how will overstretched groups cope in the Autumn with the increase in minimum wage and more recent National Insurance increases. Wouldn't we all love to pay our staff more - but how?

 

**I don't know how other areas operate their budget but (I am led to believe that..) the 'Nursery Education Grant' is not sent from the Government to local councils as an NEG package but it is part of a whole range of 'social services'. So if councils feel the money is needed elsewhere, the NEG may suffer. This is particularly felt in boroughs which have tried to manage their budget well and not overspend - their funding may have been cut, and they don't want to increase council tax - Sorry getting political here!

 

My main point is - have any other areas found their funding cut. What can we do about it. We are constantly being told how important Early Years are, but get nothing for it and little recognition of the job we do. I'm just tired of hearing the bickering in small groups and want to make the bickering more widely heard and our profession recognised for the valuable job we are doing.

 

I'd love to hear your views. Let's finally start a National Campaign for Greater Recognition!

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Hi Jan,

I agree with you about the vagueness in NEG funding for "every three year old by 2004". I had thought it would be when the child turned three, but that isn't the case, is it? In East Sussex, children are eligible from the term before they turn four, and is now payable for 14 weeks of the term (it used to be 11). It is also going up to £7.56 next term.

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Hi -

It would be interesting to hear from all the practitioners what the situation is with their NEG. Do you get it from the term after your children are 3 or the term before your children are 4?

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Down in Devon, we get funding for children the term before they are 4 years old. This has been a lifesaver to our charity run, committee run Pre-School. Although funding from when they are 3 years old would be excellent.

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In my area, Hampshire we have had a letter stating that

 

from September 2003 ALL three and four year old children will be offered free part time nursery education

 

children are eligable from the start of the grant period following thier third birthday

 

upto five sessions (2 1/2 hours) for 11 weeks until the end of the grant period when they turn five

 

All children will be eligable regardless of whether they live in an area of disadvantage or have a special needs.

 

KazzE

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:( Hi there !

 

Just had to rush and check my paperwork in case I'd missed something ! Were we really getting the funding for 14 weeks per term now ?...... - no we're not ! But here in my part of Dorset we get the funding from the term following their 3rd birthday @ £7.56 per session.

Obviously that's very good for our pre-school, but so unfair for others in different areas who don't. It should be consistent throughout.

 

Bye,

Janice :o:(xD

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Hi -

Looks like Janice gets the trophy so far. I know in some places very close to us there are grants for children the term after they're three. But we do get the grant for the full 14 weeks.

 

Janice - welcome in by the way, and thanks for posting :D. Becky's from down your way - you'll have to introduce yourself to her!

 

Regards, Steve.

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Here in Aberdeenshire, since August 2002, all children get a funded place in the term following their 3rd birthday. However, this is just £5.40 per child during term time which I thought was pretty good but obviously not that good! We charge £2.50 for non funded children which means the playgroup struggles financially for much of the year. <_<

 

Beau

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Hi Janice,

Sorry, :o I should have been clearer in my last posting; the NEG is payable up to 14 weeks as long as the total number of sessions does not exceed 55, eg if a child attends 3 sessions per week, then 3 x 14 = 42, ie less than 55, and we receive 42 x £7.56 (as of the increase for next term).

It may well be the case for you as the "Requirements for NEG 2001-2002" published by the DfES states:

"Where a provider's arrangements of sessions exceeds eleven weeks, the full term's grant is payable for a minimum of 55 sessions extending over no more than a fourteen week period" (page 23, para 113)

I think there is an error here, and it should read "maximum" ( that is in fact what our LEA documentation states).

You may find that this is the case for your NEG too; get in touch with the grant section of the EYDCP/LEA and check with them. You may be lucky :D

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In Gloucestershire we get the grant for 11 weeks a term (33 weeks a year) then parents have to pay us for the weeks that the grant does not cover. We are in a disadvantaged area so our 3 years olds get the grant the first term after their third birthday. The grant is £7.01 per session.

 

Carol

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:wacko: Hi there !

 

Just had to rush and check my paperwork in case I'd missed something ! Were we really getting the funding for 14 weeks per term now ?...... - no we're not ! But here in my part of Dorset we get the funding from the term following their 3rd birthday @ £7.56 per session.

Obviously that's very good for our pre-school, but so unfair for others in different areas who don't. It should be consistent throughout.

 

Bye,

Janice xD:(:(

ID JUST LIKE TO WELCOME jANICE! :(:D:):o

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  • 3 weeks later...

Janice,

I've just received the SureStart's code of practice on the NEG and on page 8, para 28, it says,

"LEAs may wish to allow providers to spread these 55 sessions over a term of up to 14 weeks. In such circumstances it will, therefore, be possible for a provider to claim the full amount of funding in respect of children attending fewer than five sessions per week."

I should tackle your LEA! :o

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Guest auntielynns123

In my area of Gloucestershire, the local playgroup and school nursery work apply the grant in the second term after the childs 3rd brithday so suppose that is the same as the term before they are four! I know the playgroup work on an 11 week term not so sure about the school nursery (am sure they are open for 12 weeks) but they do not pass additional charges on to parents.

 

I was advised that the grant was £7.01 per 2.5 hour session.

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Hi Helen

 

I read through the new document from Sure Start but hadn't registered the significance of that paragraph. So would you agree the guidelines imply that each child is entitled to 165 free sessions a year. So if a 'funded' child only attends 3 sessions a week the 'pro rata' payment (which my borough, and I'm sure others must do) is equivalent to 99 sessions a year (3 sessions x 11 weeks x 3 terms). Most groups open for more than 33 weeks, so if a group opens for 36 weeks then the new Sure Start guidelines are suggesting that the funding is spread to allow the child who attends 3 sessions for 36 weeks to be funded for the whole 108 (annual) sessions.

 

Does that make sense? If so then who's going to join me in the campaign to get what we're entitled to? The guidelines imply that the funding is available - so what is happening to all the money which is not being passed on to us?

 

Also on page 19 of the new document, paragraph 96 states that "Sufficient funding has been transferred into EFSS to give each authority a minimum level of funding for each three year old place of £416 per term (£1,248 per annum). We are still only getting £406 per term.

 

I also think we should get the whole termly payment at the beginning of the term and make any adjustments for children leaving or joining at the end of the term. That way WE could be earning interest on the money (and not the powers that be) and be able to use our budget better.

 

 

National 'Sure Start' month (what was wrong with 'Childcare'?) is in June - what better time to make our point?

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xD Hi Helen, (and everyone else!)

 

Thanks Helen for your message - yes I saw that paragraph too and will contact the local borough about it sometime soon. One thing's for sure, it's going to be very interesting to see how different boroughs compare on this !!!!!!!!

 

In case Steve has been wondering why things have gone very quiet from this area of Dorset - it's because I've spent the holidays re-doing my planning and I seem to have increased my work-load ten fold. Which makes me think that I havn't done it quite right !!!!! :(

 

Anyway, best get back to it - it's become a full time job for me now !!!

 

Bye for now,

 

Janice :o

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Hi Janice -

There you are look!! I was beginning to wonder if I'd said something rude last time you were in the chat room :o

 

I think we need to get a good planning support group sorted out - it shouldn't be making your life so much worse. I know Helen is trying to work her way round to tying up some of the planning issues that have been raised. Let us know if we can help, or if you just need to moan!

 

And we need to arrange a time to have a chat about the other technical difficulties. Let me know when you're not so busy over the next couple of days.

 

Regards, Steve.

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:o Hi steve,

 

Yes I found it ! - 'spose I'm just getting used to my way around now. as for the planning .... I'm still in week 1 of the new format - so I'll evaluate it at the end of the week and see where I can cutback on it (if I can !! :(:(:(

 

Anyway, bye for now,

 

Janice xD

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Hi Jan,

Yes, your first paragraph does make sense! :) I guess your first move would be to contact the NEG people in your area and see what they have to say.....do let us know xD

 

Hi Janice,

I'd be really interested to see how you do your planning....get back to us when you have the time, ha ha :o

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Guest suziees

hi all

 

first time poster here on this site!!!

had to join in on this one as it is one issue that bugs me like mad!!!!!

 

we are in london borough of hounslow and we recive the grant for 3/4yr olds term after 3rd birthday. we get £416.00 for 11 weeks only and can only claim sessions the child attends, so if child does 3 sessions then we get 33 sessions funding.

we also want the grant paid at the beginning of each term in full, they sit on our money but we still have to pay wages, rent etc etc...

 

today i had an angry parent complaining that her child was 3 on the 14th april and why is she not entilted to the grant. i had to explain that the cut of date was 31st march so her child had to be three before that date to be eligible.

 

quite rightly she pointed out that her child was three within the previous term and felt she was entitled to it. (gave her the number for EYPT and said go complain)

 

we struggle finacially every term and i feel this is a situation that needs attention, we recently also got offered a grant for wraparound care and this has proved another tricky area for us.......but thats another story.

 

suzanne

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't know whether I am too late to add to this debate. I hope somebody reads this!!

In Stockport our children are funded from the term after they are three. We haven't got universal funding yet but we're almost there.

We have just been informed that the grant is going to be top sliced by £5 per child to fund teacher advisors. Most pre-schools and day nurseries are annoyed by this as they don't feel the advisor input is of much benefit to them.

The other bombshell we had dropped on us last week is that if the grant is more than you charge per session in fees then the extra money cannot be used for staffing or other ongoing costs!! It has to be spent on equipment or staff training or something like. The only staffing it can be spent on is extra staff to deliver the ELG's-so you will be overstaffed in actual fact. It is all very complicated but our LEA states that the grant is not for sustainability and has to be spent on the children it has been allocated to.

This is all very complicated. What it means though, if our LEA officer is right, is that we will have to spend thousands of pounds each year on equipment!!! We get a lot of free training through our local EYDCP so we are not going to spend very much on that!!

Has anybody else come across anything like this? We are of course investigating this and, hopefully, we will get it sorted soon. It was interesting to read that many groups have found the garnt to be a lifeline and that applies to Stockport groups also. This could mean closure for many. :o

Linda

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Hi Linda -

That sounds outrageous! Can we just ask a few questions?

 

First £5? Is this £5 per child per session? Surely not :o

 

Next, who are the teacher advisors? Are they EYDCP, SIS or DFES regional teams? How much contact are they going to provide for this?

 

What is the current per session rate that's going to be cut? Is it currently £7.56 per session?

 

What is your session rate? It sounds like one simple answer might just be to put your rate up to match the grant.

 

Keep your chin up. There have to be alternatives and explanations - the government is trying to expand the Foundation Stage, not close it down! xD

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I think the £5 is per 11 weeks. So that instead of the new amount of £416 we would receive £411.

The teacher advisors are from the local authority. When it was muted at one stage that all settings would need qualified teacher input our authority decided to set up a team of advisors. This year they have been funded by the local authority but there appears to be a shortfall for the future and that is why they are using NEG money. We have had visits at least once every half term at our setting and our advisor stays for a full session. But some day nurseries and pre-schools have complained that they have hardly seen their advisor and that when they are there they haven't been of much use.

We have considered putting up our fees, we charge £4.50 a session presently. They are going up in September but I feel a jump of £3 would be going too far!! I work and live in a fairly affluent area but a rise of about 66% is somewhat cheeky!! :o

Linda

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So that might be a way forward - since the Surestart brochure says quite specifically this year that the grant covers 55 sessions, not just 11 weeks (ie 11 * 5) - and that if children attend less than 5 days per week, those days can be added on to the 11 weeks?

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I suppose so. But I have a feeling that our LEA is considering the DFES indication that claims for children attending fewer than 5 sessions may be spread over more than 11 weeks, up to a maximum of 14 weeks and 55 sessions. So instead, for example, of claiming 33 sessions for a child attending 3 times a week, in a 13 week term settings could claim 39 sessions. So this would not solve the problem of what happens to the money over and above the fees we charge!!

This is going to be ongoing for some time so I will keep you posted with what happens. It does, I have to say, have major implications for groups all over the country.

Linda

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:( Hi there,

 

Well this is my joint favourite subject alongwith planning ( xD:(:( ) , so I will follow this with interest !!!

 

No consolation to you at all, but havn't heard anything about this from our local LEA - Poole.

 

BUT they did go down the road of this top slicing lark this time last year - and then ended up paying it back to the providers who hadn't made any charges to parents (eg those ones whose fees did not exceed NEG) Can't find all the relevant paperwork relating to it at the moment, but from what I can find, they did the top slice for the same reasons as your LEA and then paid it all back to us again in the Summer.

 

I would just love to have an early years advisory teacher come in to have a look at things and tell me if I'm I'm on the right track - but progress has been made in that I'm going to see them in June and am taking along all my planning for them to have a look at - so we'll see what's what then.

 

In the meantime I'm going to try and find the letter that came with the refund of the top slice funding and see what reason they gave for refunding it.

 

Bye for now,

 

Janice :o

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Hi,

 

it has been really interesting reading all your comments on this, especially from an accredited childminders point of view. I don't get to see all these documents that you refer to, I assume they go to the Co-ordinator that deals with the NEG funding for all the Kent/Medway networks.

 

I was originally told that the difference between what I charged the parents and what I could get from the grant was mine to do with as I wished but this soon changed and I was then told that I could only spend it on materials and equipment. So I just put my rates up for funded sessions! I now have one rated for funded session time and a lower rate for all other time. This worked OK until the govt put the rate up and no-one told me! Luckily, I found out just before I redid all my contracts in April and so changed the rate again. The parents don't mind as it makes no difference to what they pay me.

 

I was also told that I could claim for a maximum of 11 weeks, but that if my 'term' was longer than that I would only get the same money and have to spread it further. I just made my term 11 weeks to deal with that as both my funded places were for 5 sessions/week anyway. However from what I am reading here it would appear that if I get a child who has les than 5 sessions/week I can claim for up to 55 sessions in total, for a maximum of 14 weeks. Have I got that right or does ot vary from area to area?

 

In Medway children are entitled to a funded placeat the start of the term after their 3rd birthday.

 

Suzy

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Hi Suzy -

Welcome to the forum - I like your avatar!!

 

You're right - up to 55 sessions, so if your children attend less than 5 sessions per week you can spread it out over more than 11 weeks.

 

In previous years the documentation has been a little ambiguous, but this year it is quite explicit :D

 

Best wishes,

 

Steve.

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Thanks Steve,

 

I will be passing this information on to make sure that averyone in our network is aware of it.

 

Widh I could remember the name of the wesite I used to create my Avatar as I would like to make some more! If I find it I will let you know.

 

Suzy :-)

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