A consultation document released this week is requesting nurseries consider extending their opening hours from 6am to 8pm; something Tops Day Nurseries already offer to parents across the South.
Currently, statutory guidance states childcare sessions should not exceed 10 hours or be shorter than 2 and a half hour sessions delivered between 7am and 7pm per day. However, working parents have requested extended opening hours to cover their early and late shifts, a plea the Department of Education (DfE) has heard and therefore suggested nurseries should open between 6am-8pm.
6am to 8pm would be a significant change for many early years’ providers and one that would likely result in a marked increase in wages and overhead costs, however, at Tops Day Nurseries the majority of our nurseries already have these opening hours in place, with a 15 minute booking slot to allow extra flexibility for parents. The family of nurseries understands that not everyone has a 9 to 5 job, and it is not always possible to drop off or collect their child on the hour; that’s why we are renowned for our flexible childcare services across the south coast.
Not only have the DfE suggested the longer opening hours, they have also requested for the free funded hours to be spread across the year rather than term time only.
The aim behind the Government plans are to encourage more mothers to return to work, following the announcement in November from the Chancellor that a further £1 billion per year will be invested in early education entitlements by 2019-20.
All 17 Tops Day Nurseries are eligible to take either 2 year funding or 3 & 4 year funding, with the majority being able to take both. To support working parents, Tops also offers discounts to those parents working in a number of establishments including NHS hospital workers at selected hospitals, RNLI Poole, Barclays House Poole, Isle of Wight College students and teachers, UKHO Taunton parents and more. Staff from Hadland Care Group, the umbrella company for Tops Day Nurseries, Aspire Training Team and Reside Care Homes are also entitled to staff discounts.
If you would like to find your local nursery, please click here or if you are interested in starting your career within the Tops Day Nurseries family, please click here to view our current job opportunities.