From September 2010 the current free entitlement will increase from 12.5 to 15 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year, and parents will be able to use it more flexibly than at present – over at least three days a week. Since September 2009, all local authorities (LAs) have been required to make the offer available to 25 per cent of their most disadvantaged 3- and 4-year-olds.
The extension to the free entitlement from two-and-a-half hours to three hours, delivered flexibly, is a real issue for some private providers, as the funding from the local authorities will not cover the true costs of running a business.
Purnima Taunuku, chief executive, National Day Nurseries Association was quoted as saying, ‘Many settings are struggling to find a solution to this very difficult issue.’
To help nurseries cope with the changes, the NDNA and local authorities have compiled a good practice guide that draws on examples of local activity aimed at creating a sustainable approach to allocation, distribution and development of the free early years entitlement.
The case study examples highlight where councils and early years providers are designing innovative ways to make sure that the free entitlement works as smoothly as possible by using a partnership approach.
What’s more, Parenta is currently running a promotion aimed at easing the transition of new free entitlement regulations to provide nurseries with greater flexibility dealing with the administrational changes.
How are the new free entitlement changes affecting your nursery? Has your nursery come up with a solution that will solve the changes related to free entitlement? Drop your comments below!