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Parents Repaying Funding


Guest JPH
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We have a parent who is dropping 4 of her 5 sessions for which Funding is claimed (for family reasons). We therefore will have to pay back over £400 of Funding already received for her. I need to (attempt to) reclaim this money back from the parent.

 

Has anyone been in this situation before? I would appreciate an idea of how to word the letter in a business-like but non-threatening way?

 

As a pre-school whose numbers dip dramatically next term, we can`t afford to lose this money this term - her absence next year already has made quite a hole in our 2007 budget.

 

Any advice would be much appreciated.

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Guest DeborahF

Have you had it in writing that you have to pay back the funding? I always understood that once you had completed and submitted the forms on Headcount Day, that was the amount that you received for the term, regardless of what happened after that.

 

A couple of times I had the situation where a child already in receipt of funding at another nursery joined our nursery mid-term, for whatever reason, and the parents expected that the free sessions would carry on without a break even though I hadn't claimed for that child on Headcount Day; when I contacted the Ealry Years Unit about this, their response was that the money had been allocated to the child's previous nursery and that there was nothing that they could do about it -their only suggestion was that I could contact that nursery and see of I could persuade them to hand over the money for the portion of the term that the child was with me but that the nursery was in its rights to say no.

 

Without seeming dishonest in any way - and believe me, I'm the first to worry about not doing things according to the letter of the law!!! - I just wonder whether you are really expected to repay the money? I think it would be a very awkward situation all round if you tried to reclaim money from the parent.

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I dont understand why the parent owes your preschool/nursery money when they will not be taking the sessions for the child . Isent it your group that owes the money ?

Or maybe I dont understand the situation

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JPH I am curious to know who told you this. Could you not re-allocate the sessions to other funded children. I don't think you can charge the parent because it is "free education".

. I thought that was the point of having a "headcount day". Early years settings are encouraged to pass money over if a child changes settings but not obliged to. Personally if I am in that situation I usually pass the place over to a funded chil. Likewise if I have spaces after headcount day I let a funded child come free.

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Times are changing...

 

we are a pilot area for the changes and from last April we have to return any money when children leave to the LEA by filling in a form and sending it to them, if they get it before the full payment is given then they deduct it then, if not then it is deducted the next term

BUT the plus side is parents can add to sessions at any time, any children ewe take after headcount we can get funding for, jus by sending a new claim form and copy of register for the first week we wish to claim addtional funding.

 

This has worked in our favour as parents who though children not ready for 5 sessions but have found children actually asking for them have been able to claim and start them mid term.

 

As others have said if they leave we are unable to claim any money from them as the grant supplies free education , there are so many rules but the one which always sticks is you cannot charge or ask for any payment what so ever for funded places, no deposits, no addtional charges nothing - voluntary contributions but not ask for payment.

 

As a preschool we also struggle when someone leaves suddenly, but do usually fill the place during the year,

 

Inge

 

Afterthought-- dont know when she has changed sessions or how much you recieve per child but over 400 to return would be a lot more than I would expect for losing 4 sessions now, we only get just over 525 per child for 13 weeks , and we have 6 weeks left this funding period so logically would not lose as much as that.

Edited by Inge
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Guest DeborahF

Thanks for filling me in - I no longer run my own nursery so was unaware of the changes...I'm not surprised they've happened though! It's great that you can now claim for a new child after headcount day, I always felt guilty when a new family arrived and I couldn't offer the free place until the start of the next term.

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Down here, we wouldn't be expected to repay the money if achild dropped the sessions, once headcount had taken place.The downside though, is that we would be obliged to give a free place to any 3 year old who came into the group after headcount, as long as we could still meet the staffing ratios

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We're the same as Inge, we have to pay back the NEG if a child leaves our setting or forward it on to another setting provided it's in the same LEA. In fact have just written to a setting this week, asking for a child's NEG as the child has moved to us (in the most apologetic yet assertive manner!!).

 

Dorset have a booklet entitled Nursery Education Funding for 3 and 4 year olds Guidance for Childcare Settings September 2006, which tells how to deal with funding issues.

 

I've just claimed for a child doing one extra session for this half term and the total is £57.40. (4 x 57.40 = £229.60).

 

Practitioners are not able to charge for the free entitlement. If you provided care for over the 2.5 hours a day, ie all day, do you have a policy that states that parents have to give a months notice before they can leave or at least stop paying for services provided over and above the free entitlement? We don't but I have heard of one setting that did. Hope this makes sense, apologies if not, bit late in the day!

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  • 1 month later...

We had a local nursery offer several of our children a place before head count day. They were told if they did not take the space they would lose it. One mum moved her son, but he was really unsettled and wanted to come back to us. Unforuntately moving him back incurred several hundred pounds as they counted him in his numbers. Some of the parents felt they were being rushed into things and decided they were happy with us. I felt a bit of poaching was going on but the early years team said their is nothing they could do about it. Has any else had any experiences of this?

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Hopefully this will become a thing of the past

 

we are using a more flexible system where if a child starts or leaves mid term, or adds a day, takes off a day, etc etc, we fill in a form with parental declaration form and money is them retrieved and given to settings from source , in effect headcount day really does not have a real meaning except to get everyone's full entitlement for the full term, changes made in between are adjusted accordingly. so if a child leaves they have to give back the money and you can then claim it. if they do not declare a child leaving it is highlighted by the new provider making a claim and they can be fined!!

 

We however would in the past not been allowed to charge for the 2.5 hrs and would have had to claim the money from the other setting, if they gave it to us which no one ever did, so all in all this way does work better.

 

unless like me you have had so many comings and goings that I have sent forms in almost every week!! This never happened before only this term when rules changed. The funding manager is a bit fed up with me this term..... :o

 

Inge

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Hi

 

We have our headcount day so children who are already taking less than 5 sessions cannot claim until the next term, but we have a late claim form for children who join after headcount day and we can have the money pro rata until the end of term. If someone leaves then we can just fill their place with another funded child but we don't have to return the money. It is so annoying that the whole country does not do exactly the same - then again everyone doens't receive the same if you go in to hospital so why would they in education!!

 

Debs

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  • 6 months later...

In our area the NEG would be deducted from our next payment. We then claim it back from the parent. To do this though you need to have a financial agreement (signed upon admission) signed by the parent, good fees policy, and an invoicing system that displays the amount of grant and that it is to "be claimed". On your invoices don't just show an amount that the parent pays in top ups etc. Show it all. A policy about a terms notice for changes to days etc. is important. We have a financial interview with parents as part of the admission process too.

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