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Acorn to Oak
Nursery & Pre-School

Contact Us

 07746 118040

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Universal 15 hours funding?

The first 15 hours (or 11.4 stretched funded hours) is a universal right to free childcare for all 3 and 4-year-old children. It doesn’t matter how much you earn, as your child is entitled to receive this level of free childcare each week over a 38-week funding year (this provides a total of 570 free hours). 

 

2. What is the Extended 30 hours Funding Entitlement?

The Extended 30 hours Funding Entitlement is an additional 15 free hours childcare provided by the local authority in addition to the Universal 15-hour free funding that is available to every 3 or 4-year-old. The Extended Free funded hours are Means Tested and Eligibility Codeshare provided to those families qualifying to receive it. It is available to children aged 3 or 4 years of age. Please find more information on the government website https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk

 

3. Who will be eligible to receive the Extended Entitlement Funding

The local authority’s Achieving for Children (AfC) Department advise that the extra funded hours will be made available to families where both parents (or the sole parent in a lone parent family):

  • are working and earn on average a weekly minimum amount equivalent to working 16 hours at either National Minimum Wage (NMW) or National Living Wage (NLW)
  • have an income of less than £100,000 each per year
  • live in England (parents who are non-EEA nationals must have recourse to public funds to qualify)

You may still be eligible to apply for this funding if you or your partner:

  • are taking paid time off work, such as maternity leave, paternity leave or sick leave
  • are temporarily away from England for a period of up to 6 months, such as on military duty

You can also apply for this funding if either you or your partner are employed or self-employed and one of you gets one or more of the following benefits:

  • contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit or long-term Incapacity Benefit
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • National Insurance credits because of incapacity or limited capability for work
  • you’ve been assessed as having limited capability for work for Universal Credit purposes

 

4. How is the Extended Funding Entitlement different to the Universal Free 15 hours per week funding?

The first 15 hours (or 11.4 stretched funded hours) is a universal right to free childcare for all 3 and 4-year-old children. It doesn’t matter how much you earn, as your child is entitled to receive this level of free childcare each week over a 38 week funding year (this provides a total of 570 free hours).The Extended Funding Entitlement is available to parents who qualify for additional funding support (as per question 2) and provides an additional 15 hours free funding per week.

c. Our all-inclusive Wraparound Fee structure takes the information provided in points (a) and (b) above into account and includes any additional care costs associated with morning, afternoon or full day sessions booked.

 

5. What is Means Testing?

The Local Authority is required to check a few basic eligibility requirements (as detailed above in Q2) and which you can also check yourselves. Once approved the Local Authority will provide you with your Eligibility Code, which in turn you need to provide to us to enter into the local authority care providers portal.

 

6. Why do I need to get my own code for eligibility with my National Insurance number. Why do I need to check it every term?

You must get your code from the Local Authority’s Achieving for Children Department. This code is linked to your own personal earnings and as such we cannot obtain the Eligibility Code on your behalf.

It is really important that you have this code and send it to us well before your invoice is raised as we may not be able to claim back the funding for reasons out of our control. In such cases you will be charged the full amount of monthly Nursery Fees as per our Fees List. You are required to obtain your Eligibility Code at the start of every local authority funding “year”.

 

7. What are the local authority funding term dates?

  • 1 September – 31 December – You need to get your code to us well before 31 August.
  • 1 January – 31 March – You need to get your code to us well before 21st December.
  • 1 April – 31 August – You need to get your code to us well before 31st March.

 

8. Do you offer places for the Extended 30 hours per week funding?

Yes, we offer places available for parents qualifying for the Extended 30 hours weekly funding.

 

9. What is your 30 hours admission policy?

Our Admissions and Waiting List Policy can be obtained from the Nursery and Pre-School directly by:

Email: info@acorntooakpreschool.co.uk

Tel: 07746118040  

 

10. Are there minimum sessions requirements to access 30 Extended Funding?

No.

 

11. We are now eligible to 30 hours and we would like to increase our days. Is this possible?

Yes, of course, subject to availability at the Nursery due to capacities and staff ratios.

 

12. What happens if we are no longer eligible for 30 hours?

If you fall out of eligibility for the 30 hours free childcare you will be required to pay the Nursery fees in full. There is a grace period available from HMRC for the funding so if you fall out of funding during a “funding term” you will be funded until the start of the next funding term. For example, you fall out of funding on 5th January your child will be funded until the end of the funding term on 31st March. At the end of the grace period you can amend your child’s sessions if required. However, as per the terms and conditions, you will need to provide the Nursery with 1 months’ notice of any changes required in either the days or sessions attendance. 

 

13. What is included in the Stretched Wraparound care fees?

We include all meals, drinks and snacks. Nappies and wipes are included as necessary.

 

14. Can we supply our own lunch?

Yes, subject to the meals not causing any issues for other children who have severe allergies and meals provided from home need to be healthy and nutritious – please speak to your child’s Key Person or the Nursery Manager for more details.

 15. My child has just turned 3 yesterday, Can I get my free childcare?

The simple answer is “NO”. Eligibility for free childcare starts the “term” after your child’s 3rd birthday. For example, if your child’s birthday is 13 January, eligibility for funding will commence with the local authority’s Summer Term dates.

 

16. We didn’t obtain our Eligibility Code in time. Why have I been sent a Fees invoice?

It is your responsibility to obtain your Eligibility Code and provide it to us in good time ahead of the local authority funding term dates. If you did not provide the Nursery with this Code then we are unable to claim any funding from the local authority and therefore you will be charged the standard Nursery Fees for your child’s attendance.

 

17. Can I split my Funded Hours over 2 Nursery Settings?

Yes, this is possible. However, we do not recommend this as consistency is a key requirement for your child’s development. Please note that sharing of your funded hours is totally your responsibility. If for any reason we are unable to claim the funded hours back from the local authority then we reserve the right to invoice you in full for the time attended.

 

18. Can we send snacks into Nursery with our Child?

No. We do not allow any snacks to be sent into the Nursery with your child. We have a duty of care to all children to ensure that we maintain an Allergy Free Nursery environment. We do ask that parents donate fruit and/or vegetables to us each day or week to help us maintain the offer of a varied healthy diet for all children.

 

19. Can my child attend Nursery if they are taking medication?

Yes, provided that the medication is prescribed by a Doctor and it has been administered for at least 48hrs. This is in the case of any allergic reaction. For example, if your child is on medication such as antibiotics, they must remain at home for the first 48 hours of the course.  They may then return at the discretion of the Nursery Manager.

You will be required to fill out and sign a medication form.

Any over-the-counter medicines and remedies will be down to the discretion of the Manager – they may be refused for any reason and we do not need to give our reasoning behind it.

Medication must be supplied in the original packaging with the child’s name clearly marked on the packaging.

 

20. What happens if my child becomes ill during the Nursery day?

If your child becomes ill during his/her time at Nursery then the Manager or Room Leader will immediately contact you (parent/guardian) via phone at the emergency contact indicated on the original registration form. 

If required we will ask your permission to give Calpol in certain cases, to reduce a temperature for example. However, it is not fair to the other children for us to look after a sick child as this reduces the child: staff ratio.

If necessary, staff will administer first aid and seek further medical help (Hospital/Doctors) and stay with the child until a parent arrives.

 

21. Why does the emergency contact need to be local?

If your child becomes ill during Nursery then the Manager or Room Leader will immediately contact you (parent/guardian) or the emergency contact indicated on the application form. Being local allows somebody to collect the child if necessary.

 

22. How long will my child need to be absent from Nursery if they are ill?

If your child is suffering from a high temperature, sore throat, rashes, headache or discharges from eyes or ears, he/she should not attend Nursery until the symptoms have cleared up or until medical advice is sought and clearance is given for your child to return. If your child is suffering from sickness and/or diarrhoea, he/she should not attend Nursery for 48 hours after the symptoms have ceased or until clearance is given by a Doctor, in writing.

We strictly follow our Sickness & Illness and Infection Control Policies. We also follow advice from Public Health England which can be found at:  

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/522337/Guidance_on_infection_control_in_schools.pdf

It is imperative that you inform your child’s Key Person of any changes in their health.

 

23. Are You required to pay the Fees for any absence period?

Fees are required to be paid in full for any days your child does not attend Nursery due to sick days, holidays or other time taken off from Nursery.

 

24. When is my Monthly invoice issued and when is payment due by?

You should receive the invoice in the last week of the month prior to the month of care. I.e. in the last week of April for May childcare Fees. Payments are due by the 1stday of the month for which the childcare is being provided. Payments can be made by Bank Transfer, Debit Card and credit card (either at the Nursery or via phone) or via Tax Free Childcare or Childcare Voucher payments.

 

25. Do you have a Nursery Newsletters?

Yes, we issue a termly Newsletter with brief updates of all activities at Nursery. This is available on the website.

 

26. Do we have parents’ evenings?

We plan to hold termly parents’ evenings; however, you can always discuss anything about your child with your child’s Key Person or the Nursery Manager. You are also very welcome to ask for a meeting about anything regarding your child’s time at Nursery at any time – just give us a little notice so we can arrange for the required Staff cover within the rooms.

 

27. How do I inform you if I have changed my contact details?

Send us an email to info@acorntooakpreschool.co.uk with any details you want to change. 

28. Why do I need to inform you where my child is going to school?

Transition into school is an important stage of your child’s life and we work in partnership with your child’s school to support this process including sharing of child’s learning journeys. Some teachers may ask for an invitation into our setting to meet the children in a familiar environment and we are always open to supporting such requests.

 

29. Can I pick up my child early from a session?

Yes, of course you may pick up your child at any time you want. However please remember if you haven’t told us we may be out on a walk or be in the middle of an activity your child really wants to be involved with. In order that your child gets the most benefit from our education and care please discuss with a member of management if you are thinking of picking up early on any occasion.

 

30. Do you have a waiting list and how does it work?

Yes, we operate a waiting list policy. You are added to the Waiting List once your registration with the Nursery is complete and you have paid any deposit necessary. Terms and Conditions always apply and being on the Waiting List does not guarantee a Nursery place.

 

31. What do I need to bring to Nursery on the first day?

During our settling-in sessions, you will receive a list of items to bring in. Your Key Person will also be happy to explain anything. Things to think about include bringing in any of your child’s comforters, a change of clothes etc. Logo t-shirts are available for purchase from us.

We provide Nappies, Wipes and all the daily food and drink requirements excluding Baby Formula. Over the course of the year you may be required to bring in seasonal items such as coats, wellies, hats, sun cream, gloves etc.

Important Note:
Please do not dress your child in anything that has sentimental value or of great costs as your child will enjoy and explore messy play each day and we cannot be responsible for clothing becoming marked or damaged.

 

32. Why do I need to inform the Nursery about any accidents at home?

If your child bumps or bruises him/herself at home, please ensure you inform the Nursery staff on arrival at the Nursery, who will require you to complete a form. This is vital to ensure we have full knowledge of potential medical issues and is required by our safeguarding policies.

 

33. Why do we offer settling in sessions?

Children can naturally become unsettled when joining Nursery for the first time – and we even have many emotional mummies and daddies. We will discuss the optimum settling-in plan for your child during your enrolment. We will usually increase our staff ratio to cover new children as we like to give that extra bit of attention and comfort.

The settling-in process will be explained in detail by your child’s Key Person or the Nursery Manager.

 

34. A family member will be collecting my child tonight and they have never been before. Is this ok?

Yes, this is fine as long as you have registered them to collect your child at drop-off and the person collecting has the ‘collection password’. We will ask you for a description of the family member and an approximate time they are coming to collect your child. They must also carry a photo ID such as a driving licence or passport. We do prefer receiving an emailed picture of them too.

 

35. Does the Nursery close for Christmas or a Summer break?

We are open for 50 weeks of the year. We are closed for all Bank Holidays and for the period between Christmas and New Year

 

36. How do I pay my childcare fees?

You will be invoiced in advance of the new month and payment needs to be made by the 1stday of the month that the childcare is being provided.

We prefer you to make a Bank Transfer to our account.

We also accept Tax-Free Childcare payments, Childcare Voucher payments and Debit Card and Credit Card payments. We do not accept cheques

 37. Can I pay using childcare vouchers?

We accept most childcare vouchers, please note all vouchers must have your child’s name or reference on them or they will remain unallocated to your account.

We are currently registered with a number of different childcare voucher companies, however please check with the Nursery Manager that we accept childcare vouchers from your provider.

 

38. Can I pay using the Tax-Free childcare scheme?

You will need to set up your own tax-free childcare account. 

Find further information visit: 

https://childcare-support.tax.service.gov.uk/par/app/eligibility
or 
https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk

 

39. What Notice Period are we required to provide for changes to our childcare?

We ask that you kindly give us as much notice as possible to increase your child’s sessions – please note that there may be a waiting list. We will always try to accommodate your request, however, there is no guarantee. If you decide to reduce your child’s sessions or would like to leave us, we require that you give us as much notice as possible with a minimum of 1 full month. This is to ensure we retain and recruit the best staff we have and to offer other families on our waiting list your sessions. 

40. What happens if I don’t actually start Nursery, having already registered and reserved a place?

In this case as part of the registration process you will have paid your non-refundable registration fee which will be retained by the Nursery in accordance with our Parent Agreement.

 41. Are you closed on Bank Holidays? Do I have to pay?

Yes, we are closed on all Bank Holidays. Yes, your fees will be charged for bank holidays and all other holidays.

 

42. Can my child attend extras one-off or ad-hoc sessions and how do I book them

Yes, it is possible to book ad-hoc sessions which can be requested by talking with our Nursery Manager. However, this is based on the availability of staff and capacity so please give us as much notice as possible. Please note that your ad-hoc session request must be confirmed by the Nursery manager by email. Once your session has been booked you will be charged unless cancelled with a minimum of 48 hours’ notice.

 

43. How do I pay for ad-hoc sessions?

Ad-hoc sessions will be invoiced on confirmation of the space, or sometimes, based on our invoicing cycles, it will be added to the following month’s invoice.

 

44. Will I be charged if I collect my child late for any session?

Yes, there is a late collection fee. Please refer to our terms and conditions for details. Please note that we will strictly follow our Late Collection and Non-Collection Policy.

45. Can my child stay longer if I am unable to collect on time

We will always endeavour to be flexible and accommodate such a request but if we are full for the next session this will mean it is not possible and due to required staff breaks. Please contact the management to confirm availability – additional charges will apply, and will be invoiced at our standard hourly rate.

 

46. Can I drop my child off before 7.30am?

Due to staff ratios, supervision and insurance, we do not offer this.

 

47. What do we do if we are on holiday? Do we still need to pay the Fees?

Yes, Full Fees are payable all your contracted weeks of the year including any holiday periods you may choose to take.

 

48. When will my child be eligible for the Nursery Education funding?

All children are eligible for Universal 15 Hour Funding in the first full local authority term after they turn 3 years old. Based on local authority qualification criteria 2-year-old funding is also available for 15 hours per week.

 

49. We are moving from another Nursery to yours, can we start using our funding straight away?

No, unless you’re moving ahead of one of the “funding term” start dates (See Q7.) The local authority funding is based on funding terms, so if you start during term holidays or during an actual term time you will not get funding until the start of the next term. You will be required to pay full Nursery fees for the sessions / days of your attendance until we receive your funding approval from the Local Authority.