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Does Anybody Know....


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......whether a sessional pre school facility can be run from within a childrens centre? or is it always full time daycare? Just heard that we are having a new children's centre down the road (less than a mile away) from our sessional pre School. We have heard that we can apply to be the childcare provider for the centre - but the majority of our customers (ie the parents) come to us because we provide sessional care - our waiting lists are huge so we feel that we are meeting a need. Any answers? Advice?

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Guest Wolfie

I would say "Go for it!" Children's Centres are meant to meet the needs of the local community so I would say that from that point of view you are in a very strong position. You also have a healthy waiting list, proving that you are highly thought of and are sustainable, two very important issues that need to be taken into consideration.

 

I would try to get hold of someone involved in the setting up of the Centre ASAP and put forward your case and ideas. As I understand it, and certainly in our area, a lot of Children's Centres are having trouble with the sustainability, often due to the fact that they have been set up in close proximity to existing childcare providers( :o ). Hopefully, Centres beeing set up now will have learnt from the mistakes of earlier ones and may take a more flexible approach to how they provide the childcare, looking at creating partnerships with existing providers. You might have to consider extending your hours, whislt still providing sessional care/education for those who want it and maybe also extending the age range of children that you cater for...but it's an exciting development for you if it all comes off!

 

Go for it! :)

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Hi, a childrens centre is to be opened in our small town next year. I thought it was sessional care offered. I would be intrested to see how you get on. I thought that the childrens centres in our area (suffolk) are staffed and ran by county council. I'm concerned about the centre as we may loose some children to them. Our town already is flooded with provisions. We as a sessional play group are doing really well at the minute, for the first time in ten years we are full every session, other providers are not. It feels as if this is the calm before the storm!

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Thanks everyone - going to have a chat with someone from our LEA tomorrow - it's really come out of the blue, as we should have been informed of this last autumn - but we didn't receive any correspondence and the deadline for applications is up in a fortnight. Will keep you posted of our decision. If anyone out there is involved in a children's centre - any tips, advice?

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Hi

we are offering full day care in a childrens centre and please do noy take what I say as gospel but i think that part of the childrens centre strategy is to offer full day care and wrap around care and creche care which would be the sessional care I know that all the childrens centre's that we have in our area only offer full day care and offer the sessional care as part of the creche tender which could be the route you go down. Hope this makes sense

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I would love it to be possible, but my experience in a Children's Centre last year indicates otherwise. We tried to close at 5pm instead of 6pm on one day a week for a staff meeting, but this was refused. The reason given was that we had an obligation to open 8-6 for, I think, 50 weeks of the year. I'm not sure if this was a CC regulation, or SureStart, or LA, or something else.

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Guest Wolfie

Yes, I'm sure that in order to be designated a Children's Centre you have to be providing all year round full day care as part of your services - but hopefully, if a good partnership is established, the good quality, thriving sessional care that myhenroxanne provides just up the road could also become part of what is provided for the community.

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Part of the Core Offer for childcare is that it is on offer from 8am til 6pm for all children - be that through on site or off site childcare, provided by a private provider, LA run or operated by centre staff.

 

LAs have a duty to ensure the sufficiency and sustainabilty of existing childcare provision and can actually 'signpost' to services that are already in the area. The only way that they should be able to set something new up is if you are full and have a waiting list which means that the needs of the local families outweigh the current level of supply.

 

We have 14 children's centre in our LA and not all of them have daycare as the existing daycare providers have vacancies and there are also childminders in the area which are also part of the offer.

 

You certainly need to speak to someone in the LA to voice your concerns and see how you can fit into the model.

 

Best of luck...

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I am a childcare provider for our local Children Centre and the core offer is mon-fri 8am-6pm at least 48weeks a year.

 

I know some areas welcome support from established providers, but others prefer the local school to set up a company limited by guarantee.

 

I would go for it !! you will already established relationships with local parents so are at an advantage. The only issue is you will have to meet the core offer e.g. times.

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