Young Discoverers Blog 15/2/17
This is the start of our new Blog, where we aim to provide parents with ideas for play, information and news on the sector, and much more. We keep up to date with current sector news through networking with other childcare professionals, schools, and businesses, and take an active role in being an important part of our local community. Our passion for providing the very best childcare and education for young children is what provides ‘Inspiration for Creative Minds’, and something we hold very dear. Our blogs will be regularly updated with current issues, and to start us off, the most current and pressing issue for parents is the new 30 hours of funding for Pre School Children which will become available after Easter for North Yorkshire – our county, and for the rest of the country in September.
News on the Government’s 30 hours of free Pre School Education for eligible 3 & 4 year olds is developing all the time, and we’re doing our very best to both keep up, and provide the very best solution for our parents and children. North Yorkshire have been chosen as an area to rollout this project early, so for us this means that we will be able to offer 30 hours of free funding to these children from when term starts after Easter, rather than when the rest of the country starts this in September. You may already be aware that City of York have been piloting the scheme since September, and hit the headlines last year when collectively the childcare providers refused to accept the rate of funding that the government were providing for them to provide the childcare. As a result, the rate of funding was increased to £4.00 per hour for the duration of the trial, as any lesser amount providers considered would not be viable, and childcare providers were prepared to boycott the scheme altogether, which would have been a very poor outcome for children, parents, providers and the government. We have been watching with interest how this has panned out for them, and how flexible providers have been in their offering for parents. In short, it seems to vary greatly, and depends on the different types of providers who deliver childcare such as childminders, play groups, Nurseries attached to schools, or full day care providers in the private sector, such as our own Nursery. It would therefore seem a bit of a lottery therefore as to how it can be accessed and where from at the times that parents need.
North Yorkshire County Council launch a new eligibility assessor on 6th March 2017, and this will remain open until 31st March 2017. Parents whose child will be 3 or older on 1st April 2017, and have not yet started school can use this assessor to see if they will qualify for the 30 hours of funding based on their individual working arrangements. Full details on eligibility are available on the following link http://www.northyorks.gov.uk/article/33505/30-hours-extended-early-years-entitlement-for-eligible-three-and-four-year-olds
We expect that a good many of our parents will qualify for the 30 hours of funding based on the criteria, and are really keen to provide this service in the best way possible. We have recently been notified of how much the government will provide in funding for each hour of this funding, and the rate that will be offered is £3.92 until September, and when the scheme goes national at that stage, the rate will be reduced to £3.90 per hour, and frozen for 3 years. Given York’s stance on £4.00 an hour, and that each local authority determines what the funding rate is, this is not a national level playing field with some authorities (London based mainly funding at a level of up to £8 or £9 an hour), here in North Yorkshire we face a considerable challenge in ensuring that we not only deliver 30 hours of childcare to parents, but also ensure that we maintain the very high levels of quality and care that are essential to our children, as well as ensure a sustainable service. Thank you to all the parents who have provided feedback on what ideally they would want to do with their funding, and we’re currently collating all of this to come up with how we can offer this initiative to parents in a fair, consistent, and workable way. We are considering a stretched funding offering, which effectively means that 30 hours term time only can be stretched to all year round at 22.5 hours a week. We are also looking at our current flexible session times, and what we can offer. Any parents of 3 & 4 year olds not eligible for 30 hours of free funding will still of course qualify for 15 hours, and we’ll also need to factor this in too. In short, we’ll keep you posted, and want to reassure parents that we fully intend to offer the funded hours despite the challenges, and support parents w2ith what is effectively a fantastic addition to supporting working parents. The cost of childcare is expensive, and we would like to see the government support maternity returners more as this funding doesn’t help until your child has turned 3, which is a long time out of the workplace, however it is a big step in the right direction in making the balance of working and spending time with family viable and rewarding for all.
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