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Advice regarding 30 hours free childcare

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by I_Love_Books78, May 6, 2020.

  1. I_Love_Books78

    I_Love_Books78 New commenter

    I just want to get advice from any practitioners who have the 30 hours free childcare in place. Have you found any problems with it? i.e. admin, staffing, funding problems?
    Has it had a positive impact on your numbers beyond nursery? Our school (independent) currently have low numbers in our Early Years and have registered for the Goverment's 30 hours funding in the hopes of increasing our numbers. However I have read more disadvantages than advantages to this and need to think carefully about this before I make a pan. Can you help?
  2. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    We have registered and will start in September.
    Like you we have low numbers in nursery and hope this will increase them, which then go on to increase numbers higher up the school.

    Can't think of any potential disadvantages... what have you heard?
  3. I_Love_Books78

    I_Love_Books78 New commenter

    I have heard that the Government childcare funding fails to meet the costs of delivering funded places so schools have to make up the shortfall through fee hikes. Here is the link;


    With schools having to increase thier fees I worry that they will want to employ less experienced, cheaper staff to make it viabe.
    I have also worked in a private school where the parents have taken their children out once the funding has stopped, however there is a succesful private school in our area which has got such a good reputation that this hasn't happened to them. What do you think?
  4. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    A minority of the LAs responding to the survey in your link express concerns.

    At the moment we lose out to nurseries nearby who have 30 hour places and children arrive with us in Reception. If we offer the 30 hours we hope they will come to us when the child turns 3, giving us an extra year or more of funding.
    We have spaces in nursery, so aren't looking to appoint more staff, cheaper or otherwise.

    Whether you lose pupils later depends very much on the local competition.
    For us, we have several outstanding nurseries nearby, who all offer 15 and 30 hour places, but no other independent schools and the state schools aren't a competition. Once they arrive with us, they tend to stay.
    For one of our partner schools, they have a village playgroup as competition for their nursery and an outstanding village primary as competition for reception onwards. They do lose a fair few at the end of nursery to the state primary. The 30 hours finding is irrelevant to this.
  5. grumbleweed

    grumbleweed Star commenter

    You might need to find out about demand in your area. Our LA is quite different to caterpillartobutterfly in that we have a lot of independent schools, all of them offering the 30 hours, and because most have charitable status, they don't charge 'top up' ( which they shouldn't do anyway but many find ways around this), so they are accessible to disadvantaged children as well, who typically don't stay. The only way our independents have increased numbers is by either accepting younger children or by opening all year round, as that is what working parents in our area want.
    So, do a bit of research. You should have someone at your LA who does sufficiency audits, and this info should be on your LA website. This along with your local knowledge will tell you what the demand is and you can look into adjusting your provision accordingly.

    On another note, the 30 hours is crippling many of our nurseries as the funding just does not meet the actual cost of providing it, especially with living wages and pension contributions.
  6. lf3928

    lf3928 New commenter

    We have been offering the 30 hours since it began (school based nursery). I have been full every year since doing so. I have 18 30 hrs spaces 12am and 12pm for the 15 hours. I always end up having a waiting list for the 30hrs too.

    We do not charge any additional fees and the children technically get 20 free minutes a day. I know some settings who charge to cover the lunch period to make up that extra bit of time.

    I like the 30 hours in that I get to know the children so much better and data wise they are always the children who 'achieve' the most. The big downside for me is that for some children who are on for the full 30 hours end up falling asleep in the middle of the floor as it is such a long time for some of them.
  7. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Especially the very young ones who have only just turned 3 when they come in September. No need for a sleeping area, they just fall asleep wherever..

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