When a child turns 3, they are entitled to receive 15 hours of nursery funding from the government. This funding is often advertised as ‘free childcare’- but is it really free?
What funding can I get?
From the term following your child’s 3rd birthday, they are entitled to 15 hours of funding, a week. This funding is only designed for term time use, although it can be stretched across the whole year if you’d prefer. As an example;
Lucas* turns 3 in November. He is entitled to 15 hours funding a week from the term beginning in January. Lucas’s mum is a teacher and only needs childcare during term time- great, she can use her funding to claim 15 hours a week!
Sarah* turns 3 at the same time as Lucas*, and becomes eligible for funding at the same time. Sarah’s mum works all year, and needs childcare for the school holidays as well. Sarah’s mum can stretch her funding across the whole year and claim 11 hours funding a week.
Does that mean my childcare is free?
Yes, and no. The funding is designed to cover the cost of the nursery looking after your child. Unfortunately, the amount given to the childcare provider is often lower than the cost of caring for the child, leaving nurseries to cover the excess. As such, most childcare providers have been forced to place an ‘extras charge’ on funded places.
This means that parents accessing funded hours still have to pay a little bit of a top-up, to cover extras such as meals, or nappies.
What about at Tops Day Nurseries?
Tops Day Nurseries do ask for a General Extras charge for funded places. However, there’s a big difference between us and most other childcare providers- what we’re charging for is not just to top up our income, or to cover the cost of nappies.
The general extras charge at Tops covers the cost of much more exciting things, such as;
- Yoga… a calming exercise to encourage co-ordination, concentration and self-reflection.
- Boogie Mites… a fun, musical dance and song activity that aids growth in all major areas of child development
- Football Fun… a fantastic sport to encourage teamwork, co-ordination and a love of the outdoors
- Rugby Rangers… an alternative sport that develops competitive and cooperative play, as well as keeps our children active
- Trips… fun, regular trips out in to the community to build relationships with the local area
- Garden… our nurseries have extensive outdoor areas, fully stocked with mud kitchens, water walls, bug houses, and much more!
- Gardening… and composting, and wormeries!
At Tops, your children are also provided with constantly changing, eco-sustainable resources which are chosen to encourage heuristic play and awareness of the environment, alongside all the major areas of childhood development.