Admissions policy guidance
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This policy guidance is designed to help you create a suitable fees and admissions policy for your setting. Having a fees and admissions policy is a way of demonstrating to parents and the local authority how you will deliver the extended early years entitlement. PACEY members can also download a template sample policy to adapt for their setting.
You should include a statement about accessibility, inclusion and equal opportunities.
Example: ‘I aim to make my setting accessible to children and families from all sections of the local community through open, fair and clearly communicated procedures’.
Include a statement about the numbers and ratios of children you are registered to care for.
Example: ‘As outlined in the 2017 EYFS framework, I am restricted to the number and ages of children that I may care for at any one time. As part of my Ofsted registration I am able to care for _____ children under the age of 8 years, _____ of which may be under 5 years old and _________ of these may be under 1 year old’.
Include a statement about which settings and/or schools you drop off/pick up children from.
Provide details of your normal opening hours.
Childcare and early education entitlements
It is for you to decide if and how you are going to offer any of the entitlements and your patterns of delivery. You should make it clear to parents which hours/ sessions can be taken as part of the entitlement. You should also state if you will:
- offer different sessions or patterns for 2-year-old funding; universal 3- & 4-year-old funding; and extended 3- & 4-year-old funding
- be fully flexible and try to meet parents’ requests
- offer term-time only or stretched funding options for parents
- limit the amount of funded places that you offer.
Make it clear you will be claiming funding from the local authority, having seen evidence to verify the child’s date of birth at the initial meeting. State that parents will be required to fully complete a Parent Declaration Form in order for you to claim any funding.
Attendance during funded sessions
Explain that if parents take their child out during funded hours you are not required to provide alternative sessions.
Include a statement about attendance levels.
Example: ‘Please inform me of any reason your child is unable to attend. I am required to monitor your child’s attendance and inform the local authority if attendance falls below 90%.’
Provide details of your fees.
If you are intending to charge for additional services you need to make it clear what they are and the costs of each element. If parents are only accessing funded hours then these charges must be optional and not a condition of accessing a free place.
Check the Department for Education’s operational guidance on the early years entitlements for allowable additional charges (www.gov.uk/government/publications/30-hours-free-childcare-la-and-early-years-provider-guide).
Include a statement such as, “Please note ‘the Government funding is not intended to cover the cost of meals, other consumables, additional hours or additional services. To access a funded place, the following charges for additional services, if required, are…’
You should state here whether you will charge for these additional services for paid for childcare (including wrap-around hours) or if they are included in your hourly cost. Bear in mind that if you include them in your hourly rate then parents may choose not be access some of the services, so you will have to charge parents less per hour.
It is advised not to make charges for additional services an hourly rate as this could be challenged by parents as being a ‘top up’ fee on the hourly funding rate. The Department for Education’s statutory guidance on early education and childcare for local authorities states that providers must not ‘charge parents “top-up” fees (the difference between a provider’s usual fee and the funding they receive from the local authority to deliver free places)’.
Make it clear that all charges will be itemised on your invoice.
Include a statement to support families who would have difficulties paying additional charges.
Example: ‘If you experience difficulties meeting the cost of these additional services please come and speak to me.’
Make it clear that funding may be split between two providers. If parents are splitting their entitlement make it clear that parents will need to inform you whether the hours they are claiming are universal or extended – there is provision for this on the Parent Declaration Form.
Include any occasional charges that may be required, for example late collection fees.
Explain your policy on deposits. Note that any deposits taken for funded hours only must be refunded to parents. Explain when you intend to return the deposit if a child takes up the place as planned.
Specify the dates on which you expect payment; whether payments must be in advance or arrears; whether you wish to be paid daily, weekly or monthly; and your preferred means of payment (e.g. cash, cheque, or bank transfer).
You should also indicate whether you accept childcare vouchers or offer Tax-Free Childcare.
Holidays and unplanned absences
Explain about your holiday arrangements and how you are going to ensure that parents receive their full entitlement of hours when you take holidays. Include whether you are available on bank holidays.
Explain arrangements for when you have to close your setting, for example because of sickness or emergencies. You might like to refer to your illness and infectious diseases policy
You should add a date when you plan to review the policy.
This policy is due for review on the following date