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Code Of Practice 2004 - 2005


Steve
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Hi people -

The new Code of Practice (2004 - 2005) for Nursery Education Funding is just out!

 

You can download and view it here if you wish. I can't seem to find it on the Surestart site yet. We will highlight some areas of it when we've read it through properly. If you have trouble downloading it (ie if you can view it but not save it, just right click on the attachment and click 'Save Target As'.

 

Regards, Steve. :)

Codeofpractice_2004_2005.pdf

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I've just finished reading it and the one thing that stuck out was the reference to Quality Assurance Schemes (para 47), and the recommendation that local authorities should be promoting them actively. I'm still very concerned that they will be thrust upon us all, (or else our nursery education funding will be withdrawn) regardless of how good our Ofsted reports have been.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Have just found time to read the 2004/5 code of practise. On reading no.20. on Flexibility and Integration i.e "spreading the 55 sessions over 14 weeks rather than 11".

I phoned Sure Start to ask why my local authority do not follow this. Sure Start advised me to phone my Early Years and ask them why they are not operating this flexibility yet. Apparantly no one else has asked my early years this question and they are now going to have a meeting about it next week. So if your L.A. does not offer this flexibility yet it may be worth phoning them because Sure Start are very keen to promote this.

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Bubblejack!

I have made myself quite unpopular with our EYDCP for asking this question! It was also in last year's code of practice. The response locally was this is a loophole they are looking to close by 2005/6. The expectation is that we should deliver 14 weeks as is the duty of a maintained nursery. I still fail to see why. My other bugbear is that it also mentions under the flexibility bit that a parent claiming for less than 5 sessions per week could claim the full 5 and then spread them over the 14 weeks. I said to the EYDCP that this made a lot of sense but they fired a very complicated financial argument at me that I couldn't understand and it would have been inappropriate (read embarrassing) to ask them to explain it more slowly! Still, I haven't given up.........

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In Stockport we now have funding for children who claim less than 5 sessions spread over the extra weeks. So now, if they attend 5 sessions they get 11 weeks but if they only attend say 2 or 3 it is spread over the length of the term.

Linda

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Lisa keep trying. Enlist the help of Sure Start. They were very helpful and adament that I query this with my EYDCP. She asked me to phone her back if I didn't get a favourable answer. I also queried this last year but went straight to L.A. and they dismissed it so I presummed I had read it incorrectly. Recently I have read posts on here saying that some providers do get this extra funding so I decided to go straight to Sure Start.

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Hi all -

Bubblejack is absolutely right - Sure Start are very helpful but they are only able to issue the guidance. It's up to LEAs and EYDCPs to interpret the guidance according to their perceived local requirements. However the Sure Start advice email address is worth using if you think your local authority is being unreasonable. I've lost it for the moment but it's in the last NEF topic I put up. I'll look it out and get back to you.

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Hi! Have finally found the time to ring DFES/Surestart and spoke to Victoria Lamb who was extremely helpful. Her e-mail is the one Steve posted earlier. Her phone no is 0207 2734841. She said that they were very keen to encourage LEA's to apply the flexible approach to funding (Page 6, item 20 of the Code of Practice), namely that the grant may be spread over the 14 weeks. I think my LEA's point was that it would be very difficult to administer (so that's what they get paid for........). Linda, you said that in Stockport this system is already in operation. Is it difficult to administer? What do you have to do in the setting?

Lisa

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Hi Lisa

We don't have to actually do anything oursleves. We fill in the forms the LEA send us stating how many sessions each child is attending and they do all the rest!!! We also receive a printed sheet of how much children will get for the number of sessions they attend and the number of weeks we are open.

Linda

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Hali

It depends on how many weeks there are in a term - we've just done a 12 weeker and the next is 12 I think, but the Autumn 04 term is a hideous 14 weeks. Added together, that makes the 38 weeks which schools operate in total. Nursery Funding only overs 33 of those 38 weeks - hence my problem!

Hope this is clearer - I shouldn't assume everyone automatically knows what I'm talking about!

Lisa

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I e-mailed the dfes last week re the section about flexibility in funding (Para 20?) and thought you all might be interested in the reply:

quote

Local Authorities may choose to adopt procedures and processes other than those in this Code, but in doing so should satisfy themselves that the processes and procedures they adopt are reasonable and ensure that their statutory duties are met. The Education Act 1996 makes provision for the Secretary of State to make directions to Local Authorities who act unreasonably or fail to perform a statutory function.

 

With regard to your questions on flexibility, the changes that we have made are part of an ongoing process which will lead, later in the year, to a consultation and more substantial changes being proposed. It is advantageous for all Local Authorities to embrace the current changes so that they are in a better position to respond the results of the consultation.

unquote

Don't be afraid to challenge your LEA - clearly further changes are ahead.

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Hello again.

Feeling very disillusioned following an EYDCP meeting last night at which I learnt the new Code of Practice carries no weight in law and that LEA's can therefore expect us to deliver 38 weeks, not 33. They do however, have to fund the extra weeks. In our case, however, they maintain this has already been factored into our new funding which came in at the beginning of April........... so it appears that our money has been cut substantially!

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Hi Lisa -

It's true that the Code of Practice carries no weight in law, and therefore that LEAs aren't obliged to conform to them.

 

However, they are keen to hear from settings whose LEA's don't conform for a number of reasons. I'd recommend you use the email address above to let the DfES know of your experience, even if it's only to help in future years. :)

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  • 1 month later...

The criteria for funding in our area has been reviewed and it appears that parents will have to take a place at a maintained nursery if there is a place avaiable within 'reasonable' walking distance. This means that a parent who had decided to leave their child at our pre-school until they started reception will not receive funding at our group. This will cause major problems for our group as well as completely removing the right of the parent to choose where their child is educated, unless of course they can afford fees. I am interested to know what others think about this policy...

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I have just looked at the Surestart website which states that the entitlement is to a free place not a free place at a setting of the parent's choice, so there isn't much we can do :o

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Wheel -

 

tomorrow I'll have a chat to someone at the Sure Start unit who I've spoken to before. I know that what you're experiencing is not the intention of the funding policy, although local authorities have flexibility to interpret the policy according to perceived local needs. But this seems very unfair and an extreme interpretation!

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Hello Wheel,

I'm appalled at this :o It has huge implications for all non-maintained settings, doesn't it? Have you thought about contacting your MP?

I hope Steve manages to get some info from SureStart tomorrow.

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This is awful!!

 

I am certain the original intention was to offer parental choice as well as free places! Didn't it all come hand in hand with Parent's Charters ?(I think - may be a bit off with timing, but that's my remembrance)

 

Good luck, anyway, I used to supervise a pre-school, many of our parents chose to leave children with us rather than take up pre-school places in maintained schools, which ensured our survival at a difficult time, as well as making us feel valued! :D

 

Keep us informed, please!! And, hello! Don't think I've actually welcomed you yet :D

 

Sue :D

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Hi Wheel -

 

I spoke to Paul Arnaldi from the Nurseries and Playgroups team of the Sure Start unit today who is involved with Nursery Education Funding (NEF).

 

As we've mentioned previously in these discussions, the Code of Practice is an advisory document and not intended to be prescriptive in the sense that it lays down how provision is to be delivered. The intention of Sure Start is not to dictate policy from the centre, but to give flexibility to local authorities which will allow them to address the varying requirements within their areas. However, the Code IS statutory guidance from the Secretary of State for Education, and needs to be satisfied.

 

Sure Start are keen to see the provision delivered in the way that they have set out in the Code. Although they encourage Local Authority autonomy and want to facilitate the increase of local decision making and partnership in providing provision, they would be concerned if they thought that a Local Authority was not delivering the offer in the spirit of the guidance as laid out in the Code.

 

During our conversation Paul emphasised that Sure Start strongly encouraged local authorities to provide a mixed provision (ie maintained, private and voluntary). This, they feel, is the best way to ensure that the needs of parents are met.

 

(It's also worth noting here that the Code of Practice for 2005 is already being worked on. I would assume (this is obviously not from Paul!) that where local authorities are seen to be acting against the spirit of the guidance, the guidance will be adjusted accordingly...)

 

Perhaps it's worth quoting from the Code of Practice here: "Local Authorities and providers are strongly encouraged to look creatively at ways of delivering the free

entitlement as flexibly as possible, taking particular account of the needs of working parents".

 

I think this aspect of the Code of Practice, and of the Sure Start position, is very important to you. As the local authority prepares its policy on NEF, it should be consulting ALL partners to provide the best local solution - this means parents and providers. ("In fulfilling their responsibility LAs should also consult with and have

regard to the views of parents, local providers and other relevant local agencies.... In making decisions about local need LAs need to be able to demonstrate that they have consulted fully with key local partners")

 

In early years child care one size does not fit all. Small private and voluntary settings provide an environment which a maintained setting will find difficult to meet - likewise, maintained settings have access to resources that can't be matched by the private and voluntary sector. Every parent will have preferences for their own child, and it is incumbent on local authorities to take this preference into consideration.

 

I would suggest that the local (elected!) counsellors and other representatives of your Local Authority (and possibly the local MP?), need to be made aware of any strength of feeling that might exist locally. The parents in your setting and in other private or voluntary settings are unlikely to be happy about this restriction in their choice. They might feel strongly enough to write letters to local counsellors or even organise a petition?

 

Should you need to discuss the guidance in more detail, you can contact Paul on 020 7273 1373, or email the Sure Start helpline.

 

I hope this helps - do let us know how you get on! :)

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