FAQs about Nursery Education and Funding for Kittens and Kitten Tots
Where can my child access their 15 hours a week of free nursery education ?
Your child will be eligible for 15 hours of free nursery education the term after their third birthday. You may access your funding at a range of different providers registered to receive the entitlement which include day nurseries, preschools and playgroups, maintained nursery schools and classes and some approved childminders.
What are the differences between the different types of settings? Day Nurseries are open for longer hours and for the majority of the year. They accommodate babies, toddlers and preschool age and are essentially fee paying. Many register to deliver education and accept the nursery education funding. Preschool and playgroups tend to offer morning or afternoon sessions, and some full days, for toddlers and preschool age children. They offer fee paying sessions and many now accept nursery education funding for their 3 year olds. Maintained nursery schools and classes are operated by the local education authority and provide a free place (for 15 hours a week) for 3 and 4 year olds. The nursery sessions may be offered either as morning and afternoon sessions or as full days. Some may offer a combination of full and part days. Some school nurseries work with a private provider who offer before and after school care which ‘wraps around’ the nursery sessions. Many parents choose to move their child to a school nursery to prepare them for starting school as it familiarises them with the staff, school, routines and older children in the other foundation stage classes. It is advisable to check what packages are available with any provider ahead of applying to make sure it suits both yours and your child’s needs.
If I take up a funded place at a school nursery does this guarantee a place at the school in reception class? No. A place in a school nursery class does not entitle your child to a place at the school. You will need to apply to the local authority through their admissions process for a school place.
Am I able to split the funding between two settings? To ensure the best outcomes with regard to the continuity of care and education for the child it is strongly recommended that you access your entitlement at one provider only. However, it is recognised that there may be instances where this is not possible, for example if the child is part of a dual placement with a special school, cared for by other family members not in the same area over the week, or work commitments make it incredibly difficult to use the setting fully. Where this is the case you may choose to split your entitlement across a maximum of two providers registered to deliver nursery education. You will need to inform your child’s provider if you intend to split the funding.
What if the nursery class or preschool don’t run sessions that suit my needs? Contact the Family Information Service at Staffordshire County Council for a list of alternative providers. Consider using a childminder who is registered to receive nursery education funding that may be able to offer you a more flexible package.
If I want to find out more about nursery education what should I do? It is always advisable to speak to the staff at the setting you intend to use as they will be able to answer any questions. Information is also available from the ‘Family Information Service’ at Staffordshire County Council which can be found on their website as well as the ‘Foundation Years’ website which is particularly useful for accessing curriculum information.