Sefton parents get a better deal on childcare costs thanks to Fo

Nina Killen

 

 

Formby parents have been given more freedom to use their childcare vouchers after questions raised by Formby Labour councillor Nina Killen about how private nurseries allocate their spaces.

Some Formby nurseries were charging 'wrap-around' fees on top of the 15 hours of free sessions per week offered by the government for all three-year-olds.

Mum-of-three Nina felt that charging fees on top of the free hours made the 'free' hours too expensive for some parents and were unfair.

She said: "I have friends who used Formby day nurseries who said they would drop their kids off at 9am and pick them at 12noon, which in theory should have been a free session, but they also had to pay for 8-9am and 12-1pm even if they weren't using those hours. 

"When you are a working parent every penny counts, and when the 15 hours free was extended to deprived two-year-olds, I asked whether these wrap-around fees would be allowed.

"The officers at the council came back to me to say they felt the day nurseries shouldn't be forcing parents to pay these wrap-around costs, and I am glad to see that all the nurseries now allow parents to use the 15 hours totally free, as long as they use all morning or all afternoon sessions."

Cllr Killen has been liaising with Sefton Council officers to have this policy formalised, so that compulsory wrap-around fees don't return.

"I understand that the Council has modified its service level agreement to reflect this change, so all nurseries should now be offering totally free sessions with no add-on costs. This gives more flexibility to parents who may not be able to use the school nurseries due to their working hours, and hopefully saves them some money, too."

Every child receives 15 hours of free nursery education each week during term time, starting the term after their third birthday. This was recently extended to deprived two-year-olds.