Thoughts on funded hours
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    Hi all,

    I'm currently working on an assignment about government initiatives - the 15 free funded hours.

    I just really need people's opinions on whether they agree/disagree, advantages and disadvantages. For me...it works well as I get paid more than my hourly rate by my LA but I know others don't and some childminders choose not to take part.

    If anybody would like to share their views Id be very grateful.

    Thanks

    Lucy

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    My LA pay less than my hourly rate. I made it up with 'extras' for a long-term family for a while but when they left I came off the scheme. I found the admin was too much- reading through LA emails about it, submitting numbers twice a term, checking payments have arrived and are correct etc. and a ton of work and maths to sort out the invoices to split the entitlement over the whole year rather than term time only.

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    I'm really annoyed about it. I've got 3 on part-time funding as they also attend a full day with a preschool. My salary, compared to say the month of June, is down £135 from last month and will be every month till next July. I've decided I'm not going to offer it again. I'll see these lo's through to school but I will inform new families that I'm not going to take it. At the moment there seems to be enough work for me to have 5/6 part time lo's over a week instead of keeping 3 lo's full time and loosing a small fortune on funding. But, never say never. I did think of putting on 'extra's ' to make the short fall but I just can't see my parents paying.

    So interesting times ahead. Not sure what'll I'll do when the 30 hours comes in. Maybe I'll advertise to care for babies only. Then they can leave when they are eligible for funding.

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  6. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucy000 View Post
    Hi all,

    I'm currently working on an assignment about government initiatives - the 15 free funded hours.

    I just really need people's opinions on whether they agree/disagree, advantages and disadvantages. For me...it works well as I get paid more than my hourly rate by my LA but I know others don't and some childminders choose not to take part.

    If anybody would like to share their views Id be very grateful.

    Thanks

    Lucy
    You could look at the Pre School Learning Alliance website to get a flavour of what the funding issue is all about and what the worries are at the moment...check their EY Agenda for ooinions on this.

    For many cms it is definitely 'funding and sustainability'...as is for the rest of the workforce...but the other side of the coin is whether the inititiative is in the interest of the child....is this done to promote children's well being?...or just a push to get more parents into work?

    Until we get a firm reply from the DFE it is premature to say we will not offer funding again...it may not work in Cms' favour...many nurseries and preschools will be looking to work with cms...don't close the door just now.

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    I haven't offered the funded hours before and I'm not going to. Nor will I offer the 30 hours. I will lose so much income as my LA pay far less than my hourly rate. I have had request from parents to pick up from 3.00pm when the 30 hours come in and I have also refused, explaining that by holding a place for their child all day, I'm blocking a place that could earn me £50 when I'd only be getting £15 from them if they go home at 6.00. I understand the funding does help parents, I still need to earn an income that allows me to pay my bills and live.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYLVIA View Post
    I haven't offered the funded hours before and I'm not going to. Nor will I offer the 30 hours. I will lose so much income as my LA pay far less than my hourly rate. I have had request from parents to pick up from 3.00pm when the 30 hours come in and I have also refused, explaining that by holding a place for their child all day, I'm blocking a place that could earn me £50 when I'd only be getting £15 from them if they go home at 6.00. I understand the funding does help parents, I still need to earn an income that allows me to pay my bills and live.
    At the moment that is a real issue...we are not getting the funding due to us which is around £5 average per hour
    but if the new funding came to be appropriate to your delivery and covered your costs it would need some rethinking...do you feel the same?

    Out of the 45,000 registered cms only 6,100 offer funding at the moment...according to statistics....that is an awful lot of places going unfilled for cms.
    We need to wait for the final offer and then decide...it is hard to see what the offer will be but we need not close the door just yet.

    Nurseries and preschools will be struggling to extend provision while cms can do so very easily...30 hours, if suitable, is a lot of filled spaces for cms!

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    I currently offer the funded sessions, as the funding is a little more than I charge, however my LA is talking about reducing the funding and then, if it goes under my regular fee I will stop offering it.
    Currently my LA is bombarding all providers, trying to find spaces in Jan for funded 2yr olds ... and are not finding the spaces they want! (And that is when they already pay a reasonable rate!) Alot of people don't offer it because children can leave with no notice and as you can't demand a deposit you are left out of pocket.

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    I am unsure how any LA can talk of reducing funding rates while there is a Funding Review being carried out at this very moment...with the aim of increasing the rate we currently get paid so the hours can be expanded?


    It has been well reported that the govt is looking at paying a rate that is better than at present....ok we take that with a pinch of salt due to the many U-turns and broken promises...but that is the gist of the consultation and what will happen....no increase means the whole scheme will collapse...that is not on the cards for this govt!

    Why are cms already closing the door before any offer has been made is worrying for the future of their sustainability....having fought so long to do funding like any other provider cms are easily giving it all away to nurseries and preschools?

    Rather than give up before we know the result ...cms should join the rest of the sector on this campaign and be heard....also challenge the LAs who come up with such rubbish.

    All LAs will be tearing their hair out to find more childcare spaces....the govt has clearly told them they MUST and it will be their problem.....this is the time to call their bluff and remind them that the low uptake is due to them 'creaming off' taxpayers' money!

    If Ofsted registered cms give up on the 30 hours even before it has reported ...CMs agencies will step in and do the job for Cms! not all are in favour and many may not offer the full quota but why

    Loocyloo...if parents are leaving a setting without notice then the LAs should be informed...the system needs to be kept under review all the time.
    If a parent leaves a setting that is giving them funding...by leaving they will not get it anywhere else for that term because they have already been in the census?

    The DfE says that 'no registration fee' can be charged to parents of 2 year olds ...it does not say anything about deposits...where has this come from or is it a LA condition for other groups receiving funding?

    Thanks for sharing.

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    I do not offer funded hours and unless my LA increase the hourly rate they pay us then I have no intention of offering it. I just can't afford to, the funded £ is quite a lot less than my hourly rate. According to the man at my LA only 10% of his childminders currently offer funded hours

    xx

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simona View Post
    I am unsure how any LA can talk of reducing funding rates while there is a Funding Review being carried out at this very moment...with the aim of increasing the rate we currently get paid so the hours can be expanded?

    It has been well reported that the govt is looking at paying a rate that is better than at present....ok we take that with a pinch of salt due to the many U-turns and broken promises...but that is the gist of the consultation and what will happen....no increase means the whole scheme will collapse...that is not on the cards for this govt!

    Why are cms already closing the door before any offer has been made is worrying for the future of their sustainability....having fought so long to do funding like any other provider cms are easily giving it all away to nurseries and preschools?

    Rather than give up before we know the result ...cms should join the rest of the sector on this campaign and be heard....also challenge the LAs who come up with such rubbish.

    All LAs will be tearing their hair out to find more childcare spaces....the govt has clearly told them they MUST and it will be their problem.....this is the time to call their bluff and remind them that the low uptake is due to them 'creaming off' taxpayers' money!

    If Ofsted registered cms give up on the 30 hours even before it has reported ...CMs agencies will step in and do the job for Cms! not all are in favour and many may not offer the full quota but why

    Loocyloo...if parents are leaving a setting without notice then the LAs should be informed...the system needs to be kept under review all the time.
    If a parent leaves a setting that is giving them funding...by leaving they will not get it anywhere else for that term because they have already been in the census?

    The DfE says that 'no registration fee' can be charged to parents of 2 year olds ...it does not say anything about deposits...where has this come from or is it a LA condition for other groups receiving funding?

    Thanks for sharing.
    Our LA has a system of transferring payment between settings during each term, as we get paid monthly. If a child is already registered with a childminder by 'headcount' day, then you should get paid for up until the child leaves. If headcount day is late in the term...and child leaves before headcount, but has attended several sessions ... Then you don't get paid. I had this happen to me. 3 weeks of 15hrs lost when a child moved away with no notice. I did talk to funding etc, but as no new address or anything ... it all got a bit difficult!

    We are told that we can not impose any conditions whatsoever when offering the funding that may restrict someone from taking it up such as asking for a deposit or charging for meals etc.


    Also my LA are talking of reducing rates, mainly for childminders as we currently get paid a higher rate than other settings due to the fact we can have less children/ratio than other settings, but the talk was to make it more equal ....
    Last edited by loocyloo; 23-10-2015 at 09:35 AM.

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    Thanks for your replies Loocyloo and AliceK...very useful information.

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    There is no consistency, as my LA pay my local preschool 15p per child per hour more than me. I asked them. We'll have to wait and see what the new offer will be.

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    I offer funding hours, but only for children who I already look after and who are already on full year contracts. I wouldn't take on a child who was only here for 15 hours a week, term time only. Most of the children I look after have been with me since they were babies and I do like to think I can offer parents a reduction in their fees when their child turns 3.

    I currently have 5 children on my books who are eligible for funding. Two of them take all their 15 hours at nursery or pre-school, so I charge my normal rate for the times they are here. The other 3 have 6 hours a week funded with me (term time only) and the other 9 hours are taken at pre-school. For those children I explain to parents that the funding doesn't cover an amount for lunch, so I charge separately for that, or they can provide a packed lunch. By charging £2.50 a day for lunch I don't lose any money by providing 6 hours funding.

    My biggest problem comes when I charge a daily rate, but the child doesn't come for a full day. Last year I had a child who attended for 6 hours one day and 7 hours the next. For that I charged a daily rate of £30. When the child was eligible for funding I worked out that the LA would pay me £21.60 for one day and £25.20 for the next, so £46.80 for the week instead of my usual £60. Even charging for food I couldn't make up that difference! The parents were horrified when I told them how much I was losing out on (£500 over the 38 weeks) and insisted on paying the difference. Unfortunately not all parents are as understanding and really couldn't care less how much I was losing out on, as long as they're getting the 'free' hours That's why I now limit it to a maximum of 6 hours a day with a charge for food. Depending on how many hours the child does I work out how many hours I can do funded and still earn the same amount for the day.

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    My understanding is that ...due to parents' requests...the DfE is looking at extending the 30 hours beyond the 38 weeks....Did Sam Gyimah not say that in his letter? I thought he did.
    When we asked for that it was a No NO...but of course parents asking is rather different!

    If the funding is allowed to roll out throughout the year that will cause a problem for preschools unable to extend their offer in a rented premises...such as a community hall....and schools as well.

    The request will also encourage wraparound care in more schools
    CMs who now offer only Term Time care will have to signpost parents to other cms or holiday clubs...unless they are able to offer more than 30 hours to make up the holiday closure?

    I would expect this will mean that cms who work 48 weeks will be inundated with request for care either from their own home ...or if they take up the Childcare Measures and register other premises...or if they request a school offer wraparound care...which they can thanks to Nicky Morgan!
    I can see Cms doing what is good for their business and not having to pick up the crumbs?

    All this is well pre planned by the DfE
    I personally feel Cms will be in a position to be the ones running the show ...not the LAs who will be desperate.
    If it had any relevance to my setting I would be knocking on the EY team's door...LAs had a say in the Funding Consultation...I bet they are ordering large nappies right now!!

    The govt has a lot at stake on this 30 hour promise....either way the parents will be the ones they have to be accountable to....those voters can become floaters again?

    If the new funding rate is going to be rubbish and linked to many irrelevant and bureaucratic conditions ...the exercise will have been futile
    Cms are really very patient with their LAs...I admire those who put up with so many restrictions...I certainly would not..

    CMs need and must 'Get in there' and start putting a few ideas on the table ...just imagine if around 40,000 Cms could offer the funding because it suited their business?

    Having said all that...is this really all benefitting children or the govt?
    Last edited by Simona; 24-10-2015 at 09:03 AM.

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    So if they want to extend it beyond 38 weeks, will it be like the current 15 hours that then dilutes down to say something like 11.5 a week if extended? I've got some families who, themselves, have requested term time only contracts. I'm still working. This will be interesting.
    You say we should be knocking on EY doors.... What do I just phone them up one day and shout I've had enough of being underpaid? At the moment because I'm claiming funding they are propably assuming I'm happy and will continue. a single voice on a phone threatening to leave the funding isn't going to change their minds. In the County I live within cm rates vary over £1.50 an hour. I know cm's within my catchment are who are 'making' money at the moment. Yet , just up the road', I'm loosing money. I doubt the LA are going to raise it so one cm stays as it will cost them a lot of money overall. I don't want to make a noisy fuss, I will go silently, incase a year or two down the line I have to go back, with my tail between my legs, to claiming funding as the demand for childcare outside funding has dried up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MOH View Post
    So if they want to extend it beyond 38 weeks, will it be like the current 15 hours that then dilutes down to say something like 11.5 a week if extended? I've got some families who, themselves, have requested term time only contracts. I'm still working. This will be interesting.
    You say we should be knocking on EY doors.... What do I just phone them up one day and shout I've had enough of being underpaid? At the moment because I'm claiming funding they are propably assuming I'm happy and will continue. a single voice on a phone threatening to leave the funding isn't going to change their minds. In the County I live within cm rates vary over £1.50 an hour. I know cm's within my catchment are who are 'making' money at the moment. Yet , just up the road', I'm loosing money. I doubt the LA are going to raise it so one cm stays as it will cost them a lot of money overall. I don't want to make a noisy fuss, I will go silently, incase a year or two down the line I have to go back, with my tail between my legs, to claiming funding as the demand for childcare outside funding has dried up.
    We don't know yet...so no one can request anything until the Funding Review is finished and has reported in November....just a few more weeks!
    For the 15 hours the DfE stipulates when parents can take it...will it be the same for the 30 hours? I can't see why it would be different but I am guessing?

    I may be wrong on this ...but the Funding review by the DfE and Dept for Employment is that they will come up with a funding rate for all of us....not the LAs.

    You can ring the LA and complain ...LAs cannot raise the funding at the moment because they are too busy 'creaming off 'it with the DfE's full knowledge under the current funding allocation...for the 30 hours the funding will be announced by the Chancellor in the Funding Review and will cover 2017 when the 30 hours kicks in.


    It is well documented that some setting are making money out of the funding...but not others....that is why we have 152 LAs doing as they please.
    Some settings also get more if they have disadvantaged/special needs children...that is allowed and is in the Guidance
    In my area CMs are losing 50% of their fees if they fund the 15 hours...many have decided not to do them...but...if the new funding is good they will reconsider maybe?

    Why is your concern a 'noisy fuss'?
    Personally I made a very public complaint when I had the opportunity to waive my EY team endless funding conditions under Truss' nose at a large conference!
    I did complain to my LA very publicly but they told me to take it or leave it! well I left the pitiful £3.50 they gave us!
    You can approach your local Councillor and put a flea in their ear....I also had the opportunity to do that
    You can write to your association if you have one and make sure CMs are also included in this
    You can attend meetings/conferences.

    In the last few years there has been a call to speak with a single voice...being united is 'very important' but we need to include all voices not just nurseries!

    Sorry about the long reply...I am very interested in this topic and also the political side of things...hope I have not bored you.
    Last edited by Simona; 24-10-2015 at 09:57 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MOH View Post
    So if they want to extend it beyond 38 weeks, will it be like the current 15 hours that then dilutes down to say something like 11.5 a week if extended? I've got some families who, themselves, have requested term time only contracts. I'm still working. This will be interesting.
    You say we should be knocking on EY doors.... What do I just phone them up one day and shout I've had enough of being underpaid? At the moment because I'm claiming funding they are propably assuming I'm happy and will continue. a single voice on a phone threatening to leave the funding isn't going to change their minds. In the County I live within cm rates vary over £1.50 an hour. I know cm's within my catchment are who are 'making' money at the moment. Yet , just up the road', I'm loosing money. I doubt the LA are going to raise it so one cm stays as it will cost them a lot of money overall. I don't want to make a noisy fuss, I will go silently, incase a year or two down the line I have to go back, with my tail between my legs, to claiming funding as the demand for childcare outside funding has dried up.
    Every time I have a funding form to fill in for the LA I write on it that they're not paying me enough! There's usually a box for comments or additional info, but if there isn't I still put it somewhere! I was audited last year and had to send copies of all my funding paperwork to the LA - I included the letter I give to parents explaining how the LA underfund us which means I cannot always offer them the number of funded hours they want and that if they want to complain about it they need to contact the LA, not me. I know it's probably not going to make any difference to the amount they pay, but at least it's there in writing!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simona View Post


    Sorry about the long reply...I am very interested in this topic and also the political side of things...hope I have not bored you.
    I had a labour councillor call at the house last week - the first time I've every had any of them knock on the door. She asked if I had any concerns about any issues. I took the opportunity to ask about the cost of childcare so she went on and on about all the work being done to drive down prices, support working parents etc etc. I let her waffle on before telling her I was a childminder and asking how her ideas to drive down my prices were going to help me, as a working parent. She couldn't really answer, mumbling about not being sure. I told her about how childcare settings have to subsidise the funded hours and how they are not "free". She couldn't get away quick enough and I'm sure there's probably now a big mark against my address saying "DON'T CALL HERE!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mouse View Post
    I had a labour councillor call at the house last week - the first time I've every had any of them knock on the door. She asked if I had any concerns about any issues. I took the opportunity to ask about the cost of childcare so she went on and on about all the work being done to drive down prices, support working parents etc etc. I let her waffle on before telling her I was a childminder and asking how her ideas to drive down my prices were going to help me, as a working parent. She couldn't really answer, mumbling about not being sure. I told her about how childcare settings have to subsidise the funded hours and how they are not "free". She couldn't get away quick enough and I'm sure there's probably now a big mark against my address saying "DON'T CALL HERE!"
    Woo hoo! Well said.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mouse View Post
    I had a labour councillor call at the house last week - the first time I've every had any of them knock on the door. She asked if I had any concerns about any issues. I took the opportunity to ask about the cost of childcare so she went on and on about all the work being done to drive down prices, support working parents etc etc. I let her waffle on before telling her I was a childminder and asking how her ideas to drive down my prices were going to help me, as a working parent. She couldn't really answer, mumbling about not being sure. I told her about how childcare settings have to subsidise the funded hours and how they are not "free". She couldn't get away quick enough and I'm sure there's probably now a big mark against my address saying "DON'T CALL HERE!"
    Very good point Mouse....the tories too continue to sell the scheme as 'free' childcare so all in the same boat I suppose and peddling the same rhetoric?

    The councillor I am talking to about this issue is labour too but, unlike the one who knocked on your door, is very aware and well informed of the funding issues and intends to take further steps at local level...her first statement was 'childcare is not free' and when she mentioned our low funding she said it was appalling...so here too we have variations
    One Lib Dem who knocked on my door some time ago was a bit clueless too!

    Your good point is about reducing the cost to parents but no one ever mentions our costs which since 2010 have doubled....where will it all end?

 

 
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