Dear Parents, from your Childcare Provider.
The not so “ Free”30 hours funding from September 2017 So we have been told what hourly rate we are going to be paid by the government. This hourly rate is less than what we pay out. This hourly rate has also been fixed for the next 3 years. So minimum wages are increasing, pensions are coming into force, increase in inflation, and we will still receive this same rate. Would you go to work and come away with less than you started? How would you feel if your expenses were only part paid by your boss, but they went around telling everyone that you got your expenses for free. Because this is what the government is doing to us.
Free to parents, certainly not free to the Early Years settings who will be offering it. But it is a step in the right direction to support working parents. Unfortunately the government have offered it at a detriment to the Early Years Childcare Providers.
What the government are failing to highlight to parents is they will be offering 30 hours “free”childcare to parents, but the money they are giving the childcare providers is not enough to cover their costs. As a result, a lot of settings are either unable to offer the 30 hours funding, or they will be charging parents for “additional services”, such as food, extracurricular activities etc. If the providers do not charge for these extras, then they will simply not be viable and will have to close! So currently providers are having to plan how they can best provide these funded places that the government has offered.
From September 2017 the 30 hours funding will be accessible if you meet the following criteria:
A 1.12: A child qualifies for free childcare if they are resident in England and under compulsory school age:
• both parents are working (or the sole parent is working in a lone parent family), and each parent earns, on average
• a weekly minimum equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum wage (NMW) or national living wage (NLW); and
• less than £100,000 per year.
This funding is another example of the government expecting more and more from Early Years Childcare providers, but keep taking away more from us too. Childcare providers have to cater for children’s individual development, learning and care needs. This of course goes without question.
However, as well as teaching children to learn through play, we have to recognise issues in child development, liaise with speech & language, psychologists and psychiatrists, teachers, therapists, undertake 2 year progress checks, be first aid trained, identify special or additional needs, cater for dietary and health requirements, manage complex family issues, look for signs of extremism and terrorism, safeguarding and child protections issues, drugs, alcohol & mental health issues, domestic violence, health and safety requirements, undertaking risk assessments, substances hazardous to health, infection control, food hygiene.
To adhere to Ofsted, the Local Authority, Environmental Health and the Health Protection agency. We plan, observe and assess children based on their characteristics of effective learning, we see schemas in their play and plan appropriate next steps to ensure they are ready for their next stage of learning. We care for these children as if they are our own, we hug, we reassure, we praise, we celebrate their achievements. We ensure children learn to share, take turns, be kind, have excellent manners, socialise with their peers. We go the extra mile for parents wherever we can, we are there for them when they are experiencing difficulties, struggling to cope, when they feel there is no one there to help or listen.
All we are asking is for a fair funding rate, IT IS NOT FREE, WE ARE BEING TOLD WHAT WE ARE GOING TO RECEIVE FOR THE NEXT 3 YEARS AND IT DOESN’T COVER OUR COSTS!