30 hour extended offer entitlement NW

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Tuesday, 19 September 2017
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Dear Parents

Thank you to those who have taken the time to reply to our monkey survey questions on the 30 hours extended free childcare entitlement. We have received just 25 responses, which doesn’t unfortunately give us a great cross section of opinion. I will leave the survey open for a final week in case anyone else would like to complete the questions and give their opinion on the up-coming scheme.

I will below clarify a few frequent questions and comments that have come through. I would also like to inform you that I will also be representing the private and voluntary sector on a strategic working party within the London Borough of Hillingdon that is considering the implementation of this Government scheme across all childcare provisions; nurseries, playgroups, schools and childminders. Presence on this group should enable access to the most creative ideas out there, to ensure our parents obtain this financial support, whilst working within the very unmanageable rules that have been laid down by government.

I would like to thank all parents for their common-sense support of the nurseries plight with this scheme. You may have read many articles in the press of late. Of 1,332 childcare providers surveyed by the Pre-School Learning Alliance last month, just 44% said that they plan to offer the extended 30-hours once the entitlement is rolled out in September, compared to 95% who currently offer the existing universal 15-hours offer. This is not due to a lack of interest in supporting parents with any financial benefits available from the Government, but just because they will see their businesses become unsustainable if they do. This impact of this scheme on the childcare market, in its current format cannot be under estimated.

Many parents have suggested, as a solution, they would be happy to pay the difference between our current rate of fees and that which the government provides. For example, if you were to access full funding from Government scheme it would attract £5, 575.00 year off your annual childcare bill. As parents, you express you would be delighted to have this amount deducted from the fees you currently pay and understand that providing it completely free would see you possibly without any childcare provision to send your child to. Paying the difference, like the scheme was a subsidy, is unfortunately against the rules. So, although most of you have said you would happily pay the difference, we are not allowed to charge you for it.

We can charge you for food, equipment and extracurricular activities, however as we expected you value the inclusive ethos as much as we do, so this won’t easily work for us or you.

I must apologise if the next part was not completely clear in the survey. It is currently my understanding that to be registered as part of the 30 hour extended free childcare scheme, a nursery has to be offering at least one extended offer place free; 30 hours term time or 22.25 hours 51 weeks of the year. If we don’t sign up to offer this, parents who wish to use more than 30 hours term time or 22.25 hours 51 weeks of the year, whilst still accessing the extended entitlement, won’t be able to. It is for this reason we have suggested the possibility of offering one completely free space for up to 30 hours term time or 22.25 hours 51 weeks of the year and then the rest of the places parents would be expected to pay the difference in costs. At this current time this is still just a possible suggestion, not a definite.

As you will see this is an exceedingly complex matter with not just local challenges but national implications too. There is still little clarity and how each authority interprets the legislation appears significantly different.

Please however be assured our aim is that all parents access as much financial support from the Government scheme as they can, whilst maintaining the financial security of the nursery. If this means we have to offer one completely free place of up to 30 hours, we will absorb the financial loss within the nursery, to ensure that all other parents can access it. We currently have to do his with the universal 15 hours offer or no parent would access it at 4 Street Nursery.

I have also been made aware, that if you currently access tax credits, claiming the extended 30 hours free childcare, either completely free or if you are choosing to buy extra hours, then your tax credits could be affected. I would suggest if you are eligible, you check with tax credits before you apply.

We will hold a briefing session for parents as soon as we have more clarity on what our offer will look like.

If you are interested in following this current debate, the benefits and challenges to the sector as a whole, please follow Champagne Nurseries for Lemonade Funding on facebook and twitter.

Please do complete the survey to support us in compiling an offer that works for you as our parents

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/MDWMKBY

Kind regards

Elaine Caffary

Nursery Manager

4 Street & Northwood Nurseries

 

        4Street Nursery                          Northwood Nursery
     Tel : 01895 623288                        Tel : 01923 957028
info@4streetnursery.co.uk      info@northwoodnursery.co.uk
                 Web :  www.4streetnursery.co.uk

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