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Code Of Practice 2006


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Hi Debbie,

Welcome to the Forum and thanks for making your first post. :)

 

I am aware of the implications; they are very worrying, aren't they? I know a number of practitioners in Kent have raised awareness and that Kent LA is reconsidering the Code. For my part, I run a nursery in Lewes where all our children attend for the full four hours, and pay the additional fee for the remaining 1.5 hours. I dread to think what will happen if any families just say they want the free 2.5 hours and nothing else. I will have to close at that point, I think.

 

On paper, I had to increase the rate for the four hour session, then deduct 2.5 hours, to reach the amount that we can't now call the "top-up" but which is, in fact, precisely that! :o

 

How have other people coped?

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there has been lots of debates on this forum on the subject. I'm sure some one will point you in the right direction to read what has been said before. I haven't yet learnt how to do the links yet. keep meaning to :D:o

It means alot of difficulties for the nurseries but will help the pre-school. I think what the government is trying to say is that every child should get 2 or 3 hours free schooling. which in principle I think we all agree with. I think the problem is that we under estimate how many people want full day care and how many just want a couple of hours. I think the government is well aware how much child care costs and will have to up the amount that they give us in grant money. (don't forget that each individual LEA sets their own amount for the grant).

It is a shame but it is going to make a divide between nurseries and pre-schools, purely for the fact that we will offer different times.

Our nurseries are asking preschools to back them and pull out but for the majority of pre-schools the grant money is more than we charge for a session and if we have the option to go to 3 hours we will be better off.

good luck with trying to understand it all it is a mine field and hopefully the children will not be hurt when it all blows up!!!!

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Hi Debbie and welcome to the Forum, as others have said the issues regarding the Code of Practice have been discussed including a link to the Save our Nurseries website. There is continuous development as some may be aware with the article in last Thursdays Nursery World covering the research done in Camden on the implications, which being in london, will I believe get more government attention.

 

The Kent association have done and are still doing a lot of work for what is a national concern and not just particular to Kent providers.

 

I agree with Steph that the current code of practice affects providers in different ways. I am a full day care setting ( well extended hours, they haven't as yet defined our service as different from full day care nursery or sessional preschool :o ) anyway, at the present time the funding is about equivalent to my current fees, however, I still feel the need to lobby for change because I am not happy in the way that government are dictating prices ( and services) to non-maintained settings.

 

If this continues, what regulations will they make us comply to in the future? When did it become ok for government to restrict 'fair competition' in terms of charging going rates for our services? We all have different overheads, costs, liabilities, consumer needs yet we are restricted by price setting from the government(the NEG). This would not happen to other businesses. Can you imagine government telling Marks and Spencers what price to sell goods? that they had to sell only a certain type of goods ( ie: we can only offer one curriculum). This is why I am supporting the Kent Association as much as I can, even though the current grant doesn't as yet put me in financial difficulties, although other government strategies have.

 

So, some may say we can 'opt out' of receiving the grant, no more EYATS visiting, no more judgement from LEA's, etc. Well, we can opt out but when the Children Act relevant to the EYFS curriculum comes into force we will still have to provide, what will be a compulsory curriculum for children aged 0-4 yrs. xD What choice have parents then, I'm not talking about a choice of childcare but about a choice about what that provision offers. We are not schools in the maintained sector, yet we will only be allowed to provide the curriculum that the government has written, if we don't provide it we don't maintain our registration with Ofsted. So basically government get a national curriculum for 0-4 year olds at a cheaper rate than they pay schools to provide their national curriculum, with educators / deliverers of their curriculum earning minimum wage. :(

 

If you are in Kent and want to find out more, if you are within the the private, voluntary and Independent sector ( ie non maintained sector) then the next Kent Association meeting is on 13th December at 7:30 pm at;

 

Canterbury Christ Church University

Hall Place Enterprise Centre

Harbledown

Nr. Canterbury

CT2 BAG

 

They would love to see you there.

 

The government are changing laws without proper consultation, yes we get opportunities to make comment but they do not give us the full facts to consider alongside the consultation papers, then laws are passed which will seriously affect what we provide for parents and children in their Early Years.

 

 

Peggy

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A good point Peggy about private businesses - as I have said they expect us to continue with our professional development - get degrees and then tell us what we should do and how we do it. Only wish I could be at your meeting bit too far to travel I am afraid but would love to hear how Kent are proceeding with this.

Nikki

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Hello everyone

 

Thanks for your kind welcome. I am just getting used to this system, so hope I don't delete anything/cut anyone off!!

 

I am glad that you all feel the same way as I do. I am currently canvassing parents to sign a petition for me (the Save our Nurseries campaign) and I have written to my local MP to support the Early Day Motion, having already received a very unsatisfactory, standard reply back from Beverley Hughes.

 

My nursery is extended hours too, (not full day care), so I can't quite recoup my losses as we operate for four hours three days a week, and 5 3/4 for 2 days. I have calculated that I will lose out if I can't charge for the balance of my fees. Some of my children claim funding elsewhere rather than from me, and then we have 2 1/2 year olds that aren't eligible for funding yet. I object to increasing my fees which their parents would have to pay to subsidise the funded children when it should be the government paying me. When the funding increases to 3 hours per session I will lose even more financially. Do any of you charge parents fees when nurseries are closed? I read that this is practised quite frequently, but I have never done that. Otherwise, parents would be paying for more than a term's worth of fees when we are closed.

 

I am seriously considering opting out of the NEG scheme. We did very well achieving the ELGs before any of the paperwork and bureaucracy got so out of hand, so I wouldn't miss any of that. However, I think there are implications regarding access to training through the LA. We would have to continue our training through the Montessori centres or the Pre-School Learning Alliance, I suppose. Has anyone else looked into the consequences of opting out? Is there anything officially in writing about this?

 

Debbie

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I have just read this in the Under 5's newsletter, and I have just completed the survey online at the NDNA site:

NDNA URGES DAY NURSERIES TO TAKE ACTION ON EARLY YEARS ENTITLEMENT BY COMPLETING NEW SURVEY

 

NDNA urges all nurseries to fill in short survey to build a statistical picture of the future

 

National Day Nurseries Association’s (NDNA) has urged all private and voluntary nurseries to answer their new online survey to help them paint a picture of what will happen if the issues with the free early years entitlement are not addressed.

 

NDNA today made the online survey available to all nurseries in the country through its website www.ndna.org.uk. The short survey, which takes less than five minutes to complete, will provide NDNA with factual evidence of what effect failure to address the current problems will have upon the sector.

 

Purnima Tanuku, Chief Executive of NDNA comments: “We know that a significant number of nurseries are facing huge issues with the free early years entitlement. Now, we want to build on the numerous case studies we have to create statistical evidence base that illustrates what will happen if these problems are not resolved. We want to know how many nurseries plan to withdraw from the scheme, how many are currently absorbing the loss and how many are trying to resolve the situation for example by restructuring fees outside of the entitlement. Whilst absorbing losses and restructuring fees may work in the short term, we are seriously concerned that this stores up issues for the future. We know that many nurseries feel that these issues with the entitlement are the last straw and these statistics will back up the worrying picture of closures and loss of parental choice for the entitlement we will face if action is not taken.”

 

She continues: “In addition, we will also be asking nurseries to tell us if their local authority is now enforcing the new guidance. We know that some local authorities are realising the difficulties with it and not requiring nurseries to sign up formally. This is again a short-term solution and shows that the current situation is simply unworkable. We hope that the survey will provide the results to support our call for better support, increased funding and guidance for local authorities. This survey is a chance for all private and voluntary nurseries to play their own part in urging the DfES to take action and we hope that as many nurseries as possible will fill in the short questionnaire that takes no more than five minutes to complete. Together we can ensure that NDNA can present a stronger evidence base to key decision makers that reflects the very real picture of what could happen.”

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Sorry hope any one wasn't thinking that I don't agree with the Save our nursery campaign because I do. I'm on extended hours as well as I do til 2.30 but can't do a full session in the afternoon because the church won't let us "monopolise" the hall (although what another hour would do I don't know as nobody uses it) I'm looking at buying my own property so will be forking out large sums of money that I am hopeing to be able to get back some how through funding.

Our Borough is bringing in the new enforcement next april when we all have to sign our new agreement with them to receive the Grant funding. This years didn't really specify the details.

I have organised a meeting of our Pre-schools locally because some of them seem to want to bury their heads in the sand and won't stand up for themselves. Their idea is if the LEA don't bother me then I won't bother them. They don't seem to understand the implications of the granting will have on us all sooner or later.

I just get annoyed with our local big nurseries that have always had the LEA in their "pockets" so to speak and have shunned the pre-schools for so long and now they want us to back them. They have continously told us that we don't offer as good a service as they do because we are in church halls and can't possibley offer as good a care as they do because we have to pack away.

We do back the principles but if a business has not budgetted properly to cover their costs and have such large loans that they can't pay them off then that is only that business fault. If they have to charge such high amounts for our area then moan because people can't afford their prices, that is not the problem of the rest of us.

I only charge what I know my parents can afford. I would love to make more but don't think I would get it.

Sorry had a really bad day with parents problems.

I will now go and eat and hopefully feel better. (chocolate pudding in the fridge is beckoning)

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Steph, I didn't think that you don't back the issues but wanted to point out that even if preschools are adequately funded via the NEG there is a lot to learn about government interference that will, in the future affect their sustainability if it continues like it has.

Sorry to hear you've had a bad day, hope you've had an extra large peice of chocolate pudding, I'm sure you deserve it. xD

 

Debbie, I don't charge for when I am closed, I, like Steph, charge what my local parents can afford, and only make gradual annual increases in fees.

 

I had to make redundancies in August and only myself and deputy work, although I will need to increase staffing levels as the year progresses. I am currently running at a loss but have a very understanding business bank manager. :o

 

Your question about opting out is interesting because I personally haven't attended any LEA training that has taught me anything. I'm not being big headed but I learn more from the forum and my own research. The only way I can see opt out working is if everyone did it, otherwise parents would just attend settings who do offer the NEG sessions.

Plus as previously stated when the EYFS is delivered we will have to follow it whether we receive funding or not.

 

Peggy

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There are a lot of settings within a very small area around us. One is a playgroup who do not receive funding. Their fees are amongst the lowest in the area. They are always full. Funded places can be taken up in preschools or day nurseries. Fees for unfunded time vary hugely from less than the grant (my setting) to about 4x more. Some settings are full and others have places available. Round here it is not the money which matters but parents perception of where their child will do best.

 

Al

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hi, we provide the free 2 1/2 FS as part of our sessions offered to all children. As a setting, we do not have a 2 1/2 hour session paid or unpaid for. we have full day care, and a choice of sessions available and the parent can choose from whatever is available, and the 2 1/2 hours are deducted from that sessional charge. If they require only 2 1/2 hours and do not wish to pay anything else, there are several schools in the area that they are free to choose from.

 

This may be a nieve question (and may be spelt wrong), completely genuine, but this has therefore not been a problem for us, so why is it a problem for anyone else? Is there a shortage of nursery school places in these areas?

Edited by alis2son
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hi, we provide the free 2 1/2 FS as part of our sessions offered to all children. As a setting, we do not have a 2 1/2 hour session paid or unpaid for. we have full day care, and a choice of sessions available and the parent can choose from whatever is available, and the 2 1/2 hours are deducted from that sessional charge. If they require only 2 1/2 hours and do not wish to pay anything else, there are several schools in the area that they are free to choose from.

 

This may be a nieve question (and may be spelt wrong), completely genuine, but this has therefore not been a problem for us, so why is it a problem for anyone else? Is there a shortage of nursery school places in these areas?

 

 

The problem that many providers have is that the NEG does not cover their costs because there is literally 2 seperate tarrifs,

1 = money from NEG for 2.5 hrs

2 = fees you charge for time other than 2.5 hrs

 

the fees charged for time outside of the 2.5 hrs CANNOT be used towards costs of the funded time.

The NEG amount is not enough for settings who's normal fees are higher per hour than what they get from the grant.

 

ie: a settings fees are £5 per hour, they receive only £3.25 per hour grant, they cannot charge parents the difference.

 

How do you work out the 21/2 hour deduction from your session charge?

 

Peggy

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If your nursery is full day care then the Code of Practice is less likely to affect it. The main people who are going to come off worse are sessional providers because they offer separate sessions of either 2 1/2, 3 or 4 hours.

 

Full day care nurseries can include additional charges that sessional nurseries cannot, and if you are suggesting that parents go elsewhere if they only want 2 1/2 hours then obviously your nursery is only geared up for children who stay all day, and therefore your nursery is not going to lose money. In that case, you are very lucky.

 

Sessional providers may lose some children to full day care with the Government's drive to send mums back to work, and have to rely on the fees they receive from children whose parents do not want to send them to nursery for such long periods. However, they still have to pay insurance, annual registration fees, staff salaries, buy materials, provide food, etc, just as day nurseries do, but the difference is that these settings are expected to provide all of that using just the funding they receive. Also, I have read that it is common practice for full day care nurseries to charge parents for holidays as part of their terms and conditions (so that staff are paid all year round) whereas I do not think sessional nurseries do that, and so much of the fees received also have to cover all or some holiday periods.

 

How is any of that feasible on £8.32 per funded child?

 

 

Debbie

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I am a full day registered provider, but am actually just extended hours. However, the charges I make for hours out of the funded times do not, and cannot be used to subsidies the 2.5 hrs part of the session. This is the same for settings who open 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 hrs.!

 

When audited, we will have to show that there is NO COST to parents, or that any other income is being used for the funded period, this is the main argument about the code of practice.

 

Some settings can provide care and education for the 2.5 hrs with the grant, in fact some settings fees are lower than the grant. The costs vary throughout the country. What I would like these settings to realise is the principle of the fact that government is price setting, and eventually, even though it doesn't affect them now, it most probably will in the future. To employ a graduate ( by 2010) costs will rise to cover wages, I do not feel confident that the government will increase the funding levels to susteain the requirments of the developing workforce. ie: ALL staff at level 3 and leaders at graduate level.

 

 

Peggy

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Thankyou for your patience, i was genuinely having trouble with understanding the differences in areas. I would like to agree that my setting is quite lucky and i do sympathise with those who are not!.

I hope i can explain...

I understand that the funding may not cover your normal hourly rates and therefore may be at a loss there.

But im curious and what i dont get is why we cannot stop a parent from only accessing the free 2.5 hrs. Surely if they only want that then they should attend a school nursery. So is there a shortage of school nursery places? obviously sessional settings (which i was not fully aware of) cannot do the same.

 

We are part of the childrens centre and based on school premises. we have sessional and full day care. the FS is provided by the school nursery and we walk the children across and collect them at the end. we provide this service as part of a full day session (yes if a child is in full daycare -3, then we lose money for the 2.5 hrs, and do not recieve funding for that, but we would have lost them anyways for the whole day). If a child attends for a session, we offer this service in addition to their session for free so they attend nursery for a full day. I hope this makes sense.

We do not charge extra to recoup any fees lost, but we have set sessions that we employ staff for, and do not charge an hourly rate as such, therefore the parent can choose to drop their child off and collect them early but they pay for the session. our FS session including drop off/collection from school and lunch is from 9am until 3.30pm. ( we have an hourly breakdown for comparison purposes and deduct that x2.5 from the total).

 

I realise that we do not recieve funding as someone else provides the actual FS. but we work together.

 

I agree totally that the goverment should not be allowed to price fix,

 

but i also disagree with the fact that some nurseries can charge fenominal fees for childcare places whilst others are forced to keep them low. (I also think that the cost of living should be the same throughout the country stopping the divide, but i guess im an optimist). i just think that we all provide the same service and their really should not be such a difference in costs and charges. i believe that quality education should be open to all...not just those who can afford it.

 

sorry to waffle on, am tired and confused, and i dont even know if my point of view makes any sense now, but its not intended to offend. :o

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but i also disagree with the fact that some nurseries can charge fenominal fees for childcare places whilst others are forced to keep them low. (I also think that the cost of living should be the same throughout the country stopping the divide, but i guess im an optimist). i just think that we all provide the same service and their really should not be such a difference in costs and charges. i believe that quality education should be open to all...not just those who can afford it.

 

I'm an optimist like you too :D

 

Peggy

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Peggy I thought the reverse was the point of NEG. i.e. that funding for the free sessions must not subsidise fee paying children. So although you can charge higher fees for hours outside of funding you cannot charge lower. The point being that the funded child is entitled to the full value of the funding for their benefit i.e. that is the cost of providing one free session and not to subsidise other cheaper sessions. Makes my head hurt!!!

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In reply to alis20n then, it would appear that her nursery is charging parents for the 9-3.30 session less the 2.5 hours, which is exactly what many nursery owners are doing now and would like to do in the future. I also work out my fees on an hourly rate, but I just charge the balance of my fees for four hours less the £8.32 funding I receive, just as her nursery does.

 

In the future will the LEA expect nurseries to inform them at the beginning of the year what their hourly rates are going to be in order to enforce the "no top up fee" rule? I don't know how they expect to monitor this as every nursery charges different amounts and some will obviously "overcharge" in order to recoup their losses. If the government intends to fix the prices, then they will have to provide enough to cover our costs, including rent, business rates and salaries, particularly for staff on level 3-6 who will demand more than the minimum wage. I can't see that happening because the funding is already unrealistic.

 

Debbie

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Peggy I thought the reverse was the point of NEG. i.e. that funding for the free sessions must not subsidise fee paying children. So although you can charge higher fees for hours outside of funding you cannot charge lower. The point being that the funded child is entitled to the full value of the funding for their benefit i.e. that is the cost of providing one free session and not to subsidise other cheaper sessions. Makes my head hurt!!!

 

 

A good point Chill, the grant money should not be used for time outside of the 2.5 hrs, ie should not subsidise sessions because grant income is higher than 'normal' fees.

in a sense it is ringfenced to the 2.5 hrs only.

 

I think the problem lies where many many psettings set their fees without actually doing a cost analysis, ( me included). Fees tend to be set comparitively with other local settings offering similar services.

 

I think we all need to do a cost analysis and it will most probably end up as two tiered in most cases. What we receive grant and what we receive parent fees. We would have to show that grant is not used for non grant time and vice versa. I presume this would be a requirement of an audit. EXCEPT that in reality, LEA don't really want to know, as yet, who is not using the grant money appropriately, either for subsidising non grant hours or through charging parent top up fees where the grant is insufficient. :o We have been shown how to do our calculations, told that we must not charge top-up but not as yet been required to 'prove' our costings.

 

Maybe as you suggest we will have to declare our hourly rates, alongside cost anaysis calculations in the future. Basically the grant is public money and should only be spent on what it is detailed for 2.5 hrs of education per child per session. The legality is the same, or similar to if you did some fundraising for a specific project ie: garden and then used it for staff wages.

 

Headache, yes, and it is too much a political argument at the moment for LEA's to 'police' how much we all adhere to the law of the Code of practice, thus many are ignoring it. and many are still totally confused about all the differing messages and interpretations of it. xD

 

Peggy

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