Nurseries are charging parents for government-funded childcare and reimbursing them at a later date, despite a legal duty to provide care free at the point of delivery, CYP Now has learned.
Currently, all three- and four-year-olds are entitled to 12.5 hours of free childcare every week, but this is set to increase to 15 hours from September.
Parents have begun to complain that they are being charged for free childcare, and refunded only at the end of the month or term.
The Code of Practice on the free entitlement to nursery education will be implemented from September, the Government has confirmed, despite pre-election promises by the Conservatives to suspend it.
The news will come as a blow to some nursery owners who were hoping the Tories would fulfil their pledge to postpone the Code and allow settings to charge top-up fees.
A Government spokesperson said, ‘The new Code of Practice will come into force in September, to ensure that local authorities are working to a clear common framework in implementing the extension to 15 hours. However, we will be looking to streamline this guidance next year.’