Nursery hours
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    Default Nursery hours

    I know everyone (including myself) has discussed this before, but I have LO's starting nursery. If I take them to nursery and collect I charge for the hours as I can't fill the space. I am the main contact with nursery during these hours if parents pay and also they've got their space in the holidays. I explain about school closures for various reasons and me being able to care for their LO because they pay for the space. I had a parent recently querying this and wanting to pay half or nothing but wanted me to be available 5 days per week for holidays, inset days, strikes etc so eventually agreed to pay for the space. Plus side is that if LO needs collecting early, I am contracted to be available. I have other LO's starting nursery and have explained the same to them. One parent is happy not to have the 3 hours in the holidays and another isn't happy that I will only have LO on the contracted hours. These are the parents that nit pit everything and collect the child spot on time at the end of the day or 1 min late so not late enough for me to really complain - this really irritates me as they within walking distance and are not always at work.

    All the children currently start between 8 and 9 am and some of the parents are querying the £12 charge whilst they are at nursery so have decided to put the children in breakfast club and not pay me until lunchtime. I don't like being awkward but they all want me to have the LO when school is shut, but don't want to pay for the space when it's open. Am I being unfair? I'm trying to be fair to the parents who are paying for their space as they don't have alternative childcare and who also don't want to be called out of work as they have jobs where it's very difficult to just leave.

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    Have you told them the space won't be available school hols? As you say not fair on the ones who are paying !

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    As long as the parents know they have no guaranteed place for when the school/nursery is shut.

    I see both sides of it the parents are trying to save money especially if they are receiving the 15 hours funding.

    You are running a business.

    Sometimes there is no easy solution
    When someone tells you nothing is impossible, tell them to go slam a revolving door

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    Some parents really want everything there way I find, nor to pay while kids at pre school but still expect us to be on call to collect, drop off have them in holls etc

    I would make them awear they would not have space in holls, or won't have space until the time you would have collected little from nursery (12pm) and get them to sign to say have understood this as technically this is the new contracted hours.

    I personally would be thinking if this arrangement. would work for me as realistically you won't find someone else too fill at morning spot so lossing money.

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    I think you are being more than fair and flexible. This is exactly what I would do in your situation. If they want school hols and closures they pay for a full day. Or they pay for their TTO hours but there's no guarantees for inset days, school hols, random closures etc.

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    I think this is where it's got really confusing. My policy was if I take and pick up from pre-school (never had nursery) then I charge for the whole morning/afternoon. Now because of the 15 hours free childcare I thought we weren't allowed to charge if the parent accessed the hours elsewhere? To be honest if I was the parent and was pleased to get this free care and then had to pay my childminder for 'nothing' I would be pretty upset and cross. I have a lo who will be starting to access the 15 hours at pre-school after Easter and because he is TTO I will not be charging the parent but I am going to fill his space - if he is ill I will not be available to collect and they don't expect me to. I would suggest to your parents that maybe they can look at ad hoc care for holidays etc? with a lot of primary schools now building nurseries it's going to become the norm and rather than lose children I would prefer to be more flexible and always be full as I usually am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chris goodyear View Post
    I think this is where it's got really confusing. My policy was if I take and pick up from pre-school (never had nursery) then I charge for the whole morning/afternoon. Now because of the 15 hours free childcare I thought we weren't allowed to charge if the parent accessed the hours elsewhere? To be honest if I was the parent and was pleased to get this free care and then had to pay my childminder for 'nothing' I would be pretty upset and cross. I have a lo who will be starting to access the 15 hours at pre-school after Easter and because he is TTO I will not be charging the parent but I am going to fill his space - if he is ill I will not be available to collect and they don't expect me to. I would suggest to your parents that maybe they can look at ad hoc care for holidays etc? with a lot of primary schools now building nurseries it's going to become the norm and rather than lose children I would prefer to be more flexible and always be full as I usually am.
    Chris, the whole point of the free 15 hours is that it is for "Education" - not "Childcare". Therefore, although I applaud parents accessing their free 15 hours of "Education" at the Nurseries, I for one still charge for the whole day for any situations where I have to take a child to Nursery, collect them, then look after them for the rest of the day.

    The only alternative that I offer is that, should the parents take the child to Nursery and I collect, then I can charge my half day rate. However, the hours on the contract also reflect the same hours, so the parent would still have to pay for full days (should they be available) in holidays/Nursery closures/Inset days etc.

    I point out to parents that, unless they pay for the whole day, then there is no guarantee that I will have a full day available for their child at other times. (For example, if I have two children - one in the morning, then one in the afternoon, to work around their parents accessing the "Free Education" at the local Nursery, then I have a situation whereby TWO children will potentially need a full day "childcare" space in holidays or on days when the Nursery is closed.)

    Hope this helps,

    L
    Last edited by lollipop kid; 22-03-2015 at 09:19 AM.

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    I understand that lollipop but I'm quite sure I read on here before that we cannot charge as then the parent would not be getting free care. I'll have to check out the adverts that are around on buses and in my local area and see exactly what it says because all I hear about is 'free childcare places'. If we are confused how are the parents understanding all this. I'm sure they all hear 'free childcare' and not 'free education'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chris goodyear View Post
    I understand that lollipop but I'm quite sure I read on here before that we cannot charge as then the parent would not be getting free care. I'll have to check out the adverts that are around on buses and in my local area and see exactly what it says because all I hear about is 'free childcare places'. If we are confused how are the parents understanding all this. I'm sure they all hear 'free childcare' and not 'free education'.
    The 15 hours have got to be free at the point of delivery, so have to be free at the nursery. If a cm isn't offering the funded sessions they are not the point of delivery so can charge if they want.

    I offer funded sessions so there is no reason for a child to go to nursery during their day with me. If parents chose to send them to nursery they would have to expect to pay my day rate as I don't offer a reduced fee when a child is absent for a few hours. I also don't do nursery drop offs or collection so parents would have to make arrangements themselves to get the child to and from nursery.

    If a parent wanted a nursery drop off and collection with no fee while the child is at nursery I wouldn't take them on as it's not a service I offer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chris goodyear View Post
    I understand that lollipop but I'm quite sure I read on here before that we cannot charge as then the parent would not be getting free care. I'll have to check out the adverts that are around on buses and in my local area and see exactly what it says because all I hear about is 'free childcare places'. If we are confused how are the parents understanding all this. I'm sure they all hear 'free childcare' and not 'free education'.
    No...

    If they are getting their 'Free' hours at pre-school/nursery/playgroup then that pre-school/nursery/playgroup can not charge for those 'Free' hours (they can charge for additional hours/food etc)

    BUT...

    If the parents also have a contract with a CMer for those hours (because of taking/collecting/holidays) that is completely separate and the CM and parent can make any arrangement they choose.

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    I too offer funded sessions but some parents still choose to send their children to playschool when they get to 3.

    Sometimes I get the funding but normally I share it with the playschool. However they choose to do it I make it clear that if the child attends playschool for just a morning or afternoon session I will charge but if they are in playschool for the whole day and I just pick up and drop (as a school day) then I won't charge them.

    I amend the contracts to before and after playschool term time and all day in the holidays. To be honest, I'm happy that way as I get a quieter day but am happy to have busy mornings and after school days.

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    Merlot, as your question is "am I being unfair?" then I have to say, no - you are not being unfair. You are running a business and offering a service on your terms, and that is perfectly fine.

    Flip this on his head a moment, and if you are also asking "are these parents being unfair?" and again, I'd have to say, no - these parents are not being unfair either. They are looking for a particular service at a particular price with mutually agreeable terms and conditions. And you are unable to offer that within the parameters of your current pricing policy/format. C'est la vie.

    IME charging for times the children aren't here is the one thing guaranteed to P-off a lot of parents. I don't do it simply because, for me, there is no sense in P-ing off a client when I can do something different. But that's my business decision: it's not right, wrong, or anything to do with "fair", "unfair", moral judgments or what anyone else 'ought' to do.

    I never say I can't fill the space whilst a child is at preschool because, for me, that's simply not true. With a little effort I can fill those slots with either funded children or ones usually looked after by grandparents who appreciate 1-2 child-free mornings, TTO. Again, that's my local 'market' that I've taken the time to look into/create for myself, and it won't be the same for everyone else. It does come with a bit of a challenge: I have learned to be cautious over families who only want funded hours (a whole nother can of worms) and I do end up doing LJ's for lo's who spend minimal time here. Again, my choice, so I take the donkey work that comes with it (I'd like to say "without complaining" but I'm too grumpy for that to be an honest claim. )

    Essentially, what you're doing is fair. But the business of parents using the breakfast club so as to avoid paying you for the child not to be at yours is also fair. It's no more or less than an "unintended consequence" of your pricing policy. The parents have found a solution to their childcare needs, and that's about all there is to it.

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    I think sometimes people get confused with the funding. The 15 hours funding can only be claimed once per week. You cannot claim from your LA for your funding if the nursery is also claiming and the reverse is also true.

    Some parents think they can get 15 hours from you plus another 15 hours from a different setting.

    Our local authority claim that they can see who claims twice, so I suppose some kids are claimed for twice!!!!

    It's also like claiming for milk. that can only be claimed once per day per child, and not once in the morning from one setting and again in the afternoon in another setting.

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    Hi, thanks for the replies. I am referring to nursery/pre-school whatever you want to call it. I don't think parents are being unfair to send children to breakfast club then nursery but it's when they expect me to be available whilst they're at work and in the hols. I offer 15 hours funded places but parents have chosen school. They would have had their free funding if the child stays with me. All my parents are aware of my charges and pricing policy and I've explained why I charge for the nursery place. They've also been told if these are the contracted hours they will apply in the holidays regardless of spaces. I've always tried to be "flexible" (whatever that means) with parents and had children on different days, last minute etc to help out but I find I'm becoming more rigid the longer *****mind! The parent that was query was thinking that if I've got to collect child A who's parents are paying, then I might as well collect their child. Parents work over 30 miles away. Should the school close for whatever reason then I'm afraid they will be calling parents out and not me! I just feel when I've got a couple of parents paying for the space throughout the year then it's not fair to just be available to parents who don't want to pay. Wish they could see that!!

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    If I am taking and collecting then I charge for the duration but if I am only collecting then I am happy to start charging from the time I leave home to get there. I know the child will need cover in the school hols and am happy with that as I know I will not fill a space from 8am until 11.30, the space would need to be available until 1pm ish for a parent to want to use it on a regular basis. I have been tempted for a LONG time to stop doing nursery runs as I hate them, they limit my day massively but all parents seem to want to send their children to the local school nursery as soon as they hit 3 so it would severely affect my business.

    xxx

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    Quote Originally Posted by k1rstie View Post
    I think sometimes people get confused with the funding. The 15 hours funding can only be claimed once per week. You cannot claim from your LA for your funding if the nursery is also claiming and the reverse is also true.

    Some parents think they can get 15 hours from you plus another 15 hours from a different setting.

    Our local authority claim that they can see who claims twice, so I suppose some kids are claimed for twice!!!!

    It's also like claiming for milk. that can only be claimed once per day per child, and not once in the morning from one setting and again in the afternoon in another setting.
    Little wonder parents are confused. For a start, it's always promoted as "15 hours free childcare per week for 3 and 4 year olds". Scratch the surface and parents are frequently shocked to find the way it is delivered/funded with minimum session lengths, TTO, etc. It's really "up to 15 hours (but really less than 10 hours averaged across the year) education for a particular 38 weeks for some 3-4 year olds, depending on when their birthday falls. Do please try to conceive at a convenient time so you don't end up paying unnecessarily."

    Over-claiming is a mixture of parental confusion and downright fraud. I live on the boundary of 2 counties, and equidistant from 2 big cities, meaning I can draw clients from 4 local authority areas. I have to be very careful, as it is not uncommon for parents to be found deliberately claiming their 15 hours from multiple settings in each of 2 or even more LAs. Hence the LAs are very hot on spot-checks and audits to hunt out multiple cross-border claims.

    You're right about the milk. And I wonder how many settings actually check with each other to ensure they're not both claiming. I'm naive/stoopid enough to have checked and made arrangements around other settings. This subject came up and was discussed on 2 different occasions where I was present with other CMs. Not a big enough sample to generalise, but for what it's worth, the rough statistics out of those who claimed for milk were................
    • About 5% of us go out of our way to check we're not over-claiming for milk.
    • About 20% were unaware of the issue or didn't have children attending other settings
    • The rest (about 75%) ran a "don't ask, don't tell" policy. IOW they felt they were making an honest claim if they didn't know for sure that the other setting was also claiming, and so they didn't ask in case they heard something they didn't want to hear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Merlot View Post
    Hi, thanks for the replies. I am referring to nursery/pre-school whatever you want to call it. I don't think parents are being unfair to send children to breakfast club then nursery but it's when they expect me to be available whilst they're at work and in the hols. I offer 15 hours funded places but parents have chosen school. They would have had their free funding if the child stays with me. All my parents are aware of my charges and pricing policy and I've explained why I charge for the nursery place. They've also been told if these are the contracted hours they will apply in the holidays regardless of spaces. I've always tried to be "flexible" (whatever that means) with parents and had children on different days, last minute etc to help out but I find I'm becoming more rigid the longer *****mind! The parent that was query was thinking that if I've got to collect child A who's parents are paying, then I might as well collect their child. Parents work over 30 miles away. Should the school close for whatever reason then I'm afraid they will be calling parents out and not me! I just feel when I've got a couple of parents paying for the space throughout the year then it's not fair to just be available to parents who don't want to pay. Wish they could see that!!
    Nice to see the auto-delete at work again. "Me childminder; you rival website."

    I do sympathise. My approach is based on a slightly different angle to the issue of a child attending another setting. If I'm going to have the child at all, the parents have to convince me as to why their child needs another setting, given that I can offer the same funded hours. Some do have a good reason, but I need to know that reason is based on the child, not the money they're saving up to go to Centercraps.

    It's tricky. On the one hand, I realise I'm providing a service, so why should parents not exercise choice and just use me for the bits the nursery/preschool won't do. OTOH, why should I let myself be used just for those bits? It's something of a circular argument, but I hope that makes sense.

    I do a lot of this sort of care: 'wraparound preschool' for want of a better phrase, plus ad hoc for the times preschool is closed. I also make it clear to parents that I'll have no qualms about giving notice if I get a good offer of a child who wants the full day instead. Oddly enough, this sort of deal is frowned upon by other "EY professionals" as "bad practice" - but I've already offered the full day to the existing client and they've turned it down, so I'm merely offering the parents a choice whilst being clear that the parent might get notice as a consequence of how they exercise that choice.

    Just don't get me started on people who want free/discounted pick-ups "because you're already collecting So&So's kids from (pre-)school".

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    This is why I don't do nursery runs. Too complicated. I feel your pain

    I offer the FEEE and the child stays with me or they go to a nursery and don't come to me. Simples
    I'm a childminder not a taxi service to ferry children to and from nursery
    Last edited by JCrakers; 23-03-2015 at 10:42 AM.
    Time Out.. The perfect time for thinking about what you're going to destroy next.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Merlot View Post
    Hi, thanks for the replies. I am referring to nursery/pre-school whatever you want to call it. I don't think parents are being unfair to send children to breakfast club then nursery but it's when they expect me to be available whilst they're at work and in the hols. I offer 15 hours funded places but parents have chosen school. They would have had their free funding if the child stays with me. All my parents are aware of my charges and pricing policy and I've explained why I charge for the nursery place. They've also been told if these are the contracted hours they will apply in the holidays regardless of spaces. I've always tried to be "flexible" (whatever that means) with parents and had children on different days, last minute etc to help out but I find I'm becoming more rigid the longer *****mind! The parent that was query was thinking that if I've got to collect child A who's parents are paying, then I might as well collect their child. Parents work over 30 miles away. Should the school close for whatever reason then I'm afraid they will be calling parents out and not me! I just feel when I've got a couple of parents paying for the space throughout the year then it's not fair to just be available to parents who don't want to pay. Wish they could see that!!
    I would tell the parents that you are not available as and when they feel like it. If they have chosen a nursery for their child and have no care when its closed then that's their problem not yours If the child had been with you then you could continue the care all year through.
    Sorry, in a bad mood this morning
    Time Out.. The perfect time for thinking about what you're going to destroy next.

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    Yes I've told parents straight. We'll wait and see what happens at the holidays! Don't know what happened to my last post. Only wrote childmind and it's deleted it!!! Re-read my post as i didn't think it was a swear word!!!

 

 
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