3 &4 YEAR OLD 15 HOUR GOVERNMENT FUNDED EDUCATION AND THE NEED TO INTRODUCE AN ADDITIONAL SERVICES CHARGE
Due to chronic underfunding of the Early Years Sector, Playpen can only offer the universal 15 hours of government funded education to its pupils.
The money provided by the Government for funded education only covers a core level of service. The Department For Education makes clear in its Operational Guidance for the Funded 3 and 4 year old places that despite offering “free” childcare to parents the money Early Years settings receive does not cover the cost of certain items and is only intended to cover a basic core offer.
At Playpen we do not offer a basic core service, this means that the Government funding does NOT cover the cost of providing your child’s place at Playpen. It does not cover the cost of providing the additional members of staff we employ above the Government’s minimum level required, it does not cover certain consumables, additional enrichment activities, or snacks and drinks. We consider these to be essential, we will not compromise our standards so we can keep your child safe and provide an outstanding learning environment and outstanding care for your child.
After a consultation process with parents we introduced an additional services charge for children receiving government funding from September 2017. The charge is reviewed annually in April and from September 2019 will be £1 per funded hour claimed by pupils.
Payments would not be made a condition of taking a Funded 3 and 4 year old place at Playpen, however, if we do not receive sufficient voluntary income through the additional services charge we may have to restrict the number of 15 hour funded places we offer or be forced to close.