Child Care Okehampton

Newsletter Jan 2020

Posted on Friday, January 10, 2020 in Newsletters

Dear Parents,

Welcome back to a New Year.  We hope you all had a lovely Christmas (that seems so long ago) and an opportunity to recharge your batteries. With a new year, we again welcome new families into the setting and look forward to getting to know you all. Please get yourself a cuppa and continue reading to find out  updates about the Nursery and our upcoming events.


You will be pleased to hear that in the month of December Zoe gave birth to a little boy called Eddie and April a little girl named Milly May. We have already met them and all are doing well. Katie and Hayley are now both on maternity leave and Laura will be returning one day a week from January increasing to three days in March.

To cover Maternity we have taken on two new staff members, Kirsten (level two) who has been with us as a student will be working in the Butterflies and Toni (Higher Level Teaching Assistant) will be joining the Caterpillars and looking to do her level three in Early Years. Katrina and I will be taking on the role of whilst Hayley is on Maternity.

Term Dates for Term Time Funded Children

 February Half Term: 17th – 21st February Easter: 30th March – 14th April 

May Half Term : 25th May – 29th May Last day of Summer Term: 17th July

Just to remind parents the Nursery is closed to all children on Bank Holidays. These dates are as follows;       

10th and 13th April 8th and 25th May 31st August

Butterflies Open Evening

This is an event that is open to all parents with an opportunity to discuss your childs development with a key carer and reiterating the TOP TEN Tips to prepare your child for school. Speaking to your key person will be on a first come first serve basis, but if you would like a more in-depth chat, please feel free to make an appointment with your child’s key person at another time.

World Book Week (2nd to 6th March)

As you know, we all love books and as a setting, realise the importance of them. This is a week that we really engage with stories and allow children the opportunity to dress up as their favourite characters for the week.

Graduation Party

Our Graduation Party will take place on Friday the 17th of July, 10am to 11.30 am. More details to follow.

Pigeon Holes

All children have a Pigeon hole in their designated room. This is a place where you will find children’s creations alongside letters regarding funding sessions and monthly invoices. Please make it part of your routine to check for information, usually, your child will have done something that they are particularly proud of and would like to show as soon as it happens. Please don’t disappoint!

Upcoming Funded Children

Children that are entitled to funding from April will soon be receiving their funded letters. Please keep an eye out for them and return them asap. Please ensure that all areas of the form are completed. Please note that a request for extra hours may be limited due to availability.

Nursery Business Model and Fees 

We have had to look at fees and viability of the Nursery in a number of ways over the last two years with the introduction of the 30 hours, pensions and minimum wage increases; it has become increasingly difficult to make the income match the outgoings. We have with reluctance had to make a number of changes to the way we operate in regards to delivering the funding, for which we are grateful to parents who have been supportive during the transition and understanding the issues we have had to make it work and stay viable. We had hoped that the funding rates would change to a sensible level to take into account the new minimum wage rates from April 2020 and increase in costs generally. 

When the 30-hour funding first started in 2017 we initially received £4.02p per hour, this has increased over the last 2 years to £4.08p. The national average is £4.98. Receiving £4.08 we are far below the national average and our daily delivery cost, with no likelihood of an increase until January next year 2021.

Therefore, we have had to once again look at what is working and what is not by comparing our business model with others in the same industry. Several are seeking to see how they can improve viability or as in many cases close; our problem is not unique. 

NDNA research carried out in September 2018 reported a 66% increase in nursery closures in the year since 30 hours of funded childcare was brought in. Over the past year (September 2018 to August 2019), the rate has continued to rise by 53%. This represents an increase of 153% overall since September 2017 when the 30 hours policy was fully rolled out.

We are not prepared to lower the quality of care or education that we give the children we look after by reducing resources, experiences or the service we provide to the parents. Many of our staff are level 3, and above with many having years of experience and without them, we would not be able to offer the service we do. The increase in minimum wages this coming April is substantially more than previous years which will have a differential knock-on effect to all staff.

With the above in mind, we have to make changes to our business model, unfortunately increasing fees slightly from March 2020 giving parents a chance to look at options available. An eight hour day would, for example, go from £43.20 to £45.20, an increase of £2.00 per day. Many of the new starters are already on the new rates. However, the biggest change is our minimum session now being six hours we, our contract policy would be twelve hours a week, effectively two 6 hour session sessions. It is important to note we are not looking to change existing children’s sessions, the changes will only apply to new customers or if you wish to change your current sessions. The new fees list is below along with the actual cost if you use the Tax-Free Childcare option which the government offers to all working parents.

We have also looked at where our costs have escalated. In the last twenty two years we have never charged a late collection fee. The majority of parents take into account travelling and last minute changes, however late collections in the last three months alone have added 20% to our wage bill due to staff having to stay later.   We therefore ask all parents to look at their drop off and collection times so that you can adjust your times if need be in order to rota staff effectively.  In line with other settings if you now drop off early or collect late you will incur a £10 early or late fee and £5.00 for every 15 minutes there after. We will still be flexible on emergencies, however from February late collection will incur the above charges. Please do look at your times as a small adjustment may help you in avoiding these charges.

We have not made the changes lightly and are hoping the changes will mean we can continue to offer the service that we do, should you have any concerns or questions don’t hesitate to speak with us at any time.

Thank you to all new and old parents for your continuous support. 

Chris, Clare, Bertie (the dog) and all the team at Stepping Stones. 

%d bloggers like this: