30 Hours funding

Dear parents/carers

I am writing to you all to update you about the issue of 30 hours funding and the position of Puddleducks in relation to it.

 

Thank you to everyone who took time to complete the parent’s questionnaire. It gave the Committee valuable feedback in relation to this and other issues.

 

As you know, the Committee decided that Puddleducks would not offer 30 hours funded places as of September 2017 when the scheme comes into force. The group will continue to offer 15 hours for those children who are eligible as before. This decision will however be reviewed. The Committee will have to determine whether:-

 

  1. there is a demand for the group to offer 30 hours to eligible families

  2. the impact of offering these hours on the sessions we can offer and the number of children we can accommodate

  3. it is financially viable for this group to offer 30 hours (or between 15-30 hours)

 

This is a complex decision and one that needs to examined carefully. This is why we have decided against offering 30 hours as of September. We did not want to rush the decision and the full details of the funding levels were only made available to providers very recently. You may have seen in the press that many nurseries and pre-schools are going to face significant financial difficulties and even have to close if they have to offer 30 hours. We do not want this to happen to Puddleducks.

 

The feedback that we received from parents from the questionnaire is that the majority of parents would not require Puddleducks to provide their child with 30 hours care. A small number parents indicated that they would. If we did offer all eligible children 30 hours, it is likely that we would have to restrict the number of children who could attend. We already have a waiting list. The Committee are very keen that the group should be available to all who want it. Also, we may have to restrict the number of 2 year olds, and mix them with the older children, something which many parents indicated that they would be against.

 

One of the major factors in this decision is, unfortunately, financial. As you know we currently charge £4 an hour for all non-funded children. The amount we would get from the government for funded children would be £3.65. By offering more funded hours we would get less income. We have recently had to increase wages of staff to ensure they meet the minimum wage requirements and also have had to start making contributions to pensions. In short, our costs have risen significantly and we already struggle to break even.

 

As I said, we will constantly review this issue. We want to provide the children and parents and carers the best quality childcare in a way that fulfils the needs of both parents and children. Your views are crucial in assisting us with deciding how to take this forward. Please do get in touch with me or any of the committee if you have any views about this important issue. Any views would be gratefully received by me by the end of September 2017 and the committee would like to be in a position to make a decision about this issue by Easter 2018, in order to implement any changes in September 2018. Or volunteer to become a member of the committee if you would like to be a part of making decisions about this and other issues which affect our group.

 

Many thanks

 Rachel Cushing

Chair of Puddleducks Committee

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