Message from the office

30 Hours Funded Childcare Question and Answers At The Fromeway Inn - Minutes

Thank you to all the families that attended. For those that were unable to come please read below the evening’s minutes.


  1. What is the 30 hrs entitlement?

  2. Will Free Rangers offer the 30 hrs entitlement?

  3. What have we been doing to improve the situation?

  4. What should we do? & questions...

1. Who is entitled?

30 hours free childcare for working families

  • The 30-hour extension is available to families where both parents, or one parent in lone parent households, earn more than the equivalent of 16 hours per week at the national living wage

  • There is an upper income threshold of £100,000 per parent per year, although couples who earn more than this between them will still be able to access the extension

  • Parents who do not meet the work criteria will continue to access the current universal offer of 15 hours free childcare a week in term time

  • Due to be roled out across BANES in Sept 2017

2. Will Free Rangers offer the 30 hrs entitlement?

We’d like to explain a little more around this.

  • The context: Funding levels from BANES inc transition, inc SEND, inc flexibility, inc graduate leads within the setting would be £3.80 with running charges at £5.50, there is clearly a shortfall due to the poor funding. As a business we are also preparing for pension pay ins, increased business rates, increased living wages, the costs rise around us yet the funding is due to be set for 4 yrs. We don’t get paid an adequate amount of funding from government, whereas Bristol get around £6.00 per hr.

  • Model agreement. This is the document that as a business accepting public money we have to adhere to. This can be found here: 

  • In this document it describes the childcare hours as ‘free” and that any additional services outside the remit of delivering the Early Years Foundation Stage are optional. By charging for snacks, lunch, breakfast and dinners and Forest School we are able to be sustainable. The problem now lies in the fact the Model Agreement outlines payment for any additional services must be optional and that families should only pay if they are willing to do so. This obviously makes obligatory charging challenging for us as families can resist payment and we would therefore become unsustainable or forced to drop the high standards we believe are crucial for the all round development of your children e.g. not employing a chef, reducing the qualifications of new staff to save on staffing costs, no specialist delivery of Forest School and Speech Therapy Specialists to name a few areas that would be impacted.

  • Current fee structure came about in April 16 and treats everyone the same - our hourly childcare cost is the exact amount the council forward on to us. Other nurseries might be forced to increase baby charges (we don’t want to do this.)

  • Financially we could not continue what we offer without additional charges - no chef, no Forest School provision, higher ratios and less qualified staff or even unqualified staff, no pantos, no stay and plays, no zoos visiting us, no SENCO out of ratio, no specialist speech therapist coming in, staff on less training.

  • We also need to cover admin and implementation costs of the 30 hrs scheme

We do not want to compromise the level of childcare and Early Years Education we offer.

We asked for those willing to pay additional charges to speak to one of The Free Rangers team that evening to enable us to gauge what people’s response was and to help us make an informed decision as to whether we offer the 30 Hrs Childcare Scheme.

3. What have we been doing to improve the situation of the poor funding and how can you help to insist the government starts to inject better funding levels into your child’s early education?

Best for the West - this is a group that Free Rangers, Atelier Nursery and Snapdragons Nursery have formed to raise awareness over the Government’s badly thought out scheme and poor funding levels.

Please join the facebook page and sign the petition:

We have lobbied MP Jacob Rees-Mogg. It would be fantastic if you too could email him on: feel free to copy and past this:

Councillors: we have written and met with, on numerous occasions, Michael Evans Cabinet Member for Children’s Services who supports our drive to obtain the best levels of funding for all of our families.

School’s Forum - we were allowed to speak at this meeting, where key decisions regarding funding formulas are made. The next meeting is May 9th where crucial decisions will be made with regards to the final funding we receive.

Requesting that the deprivation fund be spread out across the whole of BANES

Champagne nurseries lemonade funding, supporting this UK wide drive.

4. What should / could we do?

  • Privatise...we don’t want to

  • Inflate other costs not associated with funded children e.g. baby / toddler charges - we changed our fee structure because that doesn’t feel fair to us

  • Offer the 30 hrs and agree to pay the additional charges - you would still receive a highly subsidised invoice

  • Just stick to offering the 15hrs

  • We’ll also keep lobbying

We will be making a decision in June 2017 as to whether we’ll be rolling out the offer.

New staff in The Hive

We’d like to properly introduce the new members of the Hive team, from top right and clockwise, introducing:

Chloe, Lauren, Tammy and Sophie

Chloe, Lauren, Tammy and Sophie

The girls have been taking time to get to know the children in The Hive and build strong relationships with your little ones.