No rush for free pre-school places

PRE-SCHOOLS and nurseries have seen very little uptake of 15 hours’ free entitlement since a new funding scheme began last week.

carolineblondel
Caroline Blondel

All Guernsey’s nursery schools, excluding the colleges, are taking part in the two-term trial, which entitles parents of three- and four-year-olds to 15 hours’ a week of nursery education paid for by the States.

It comes at the cost of family allowance being reduced by £2.40 to £13.50 per week.

An assessment will be carried out at the end of the first term in light of fears that some nurseries, whose hourly rates are higher than the £5.90 grant per pupil, could struggle.

Monkey Puzzle founder Caroline Blondel, vice-chairman of the Guernsey Preschool Learning Association, said no parents had increased the hours their child spent at the nursery, nor had any new children joined.

‘In fact, we had a couple decrease their hours because they said they didn’t have to pay as much now for child care so they didn’t have to work as many hours.

‘98% of three- to four-year-olds already attend pre-school and we have always been aware of that situation and therefore we weren’t expecting a huge influx of children,’ she said.

‘But there was a need to ensure that all children can access pre-school, so maybe it’s something to look at for the ones who aren’t able to afford it.’

Mrs Blondel said there was genuine concern within the industry about making ends meet with the flat ‘one size fits all’ £5.90 grant.

She said that allowing pre-schools and nurseries to charge a top-up was not being ‘greedy’.

Comments for: "No rush for free pre-school places"

jjlehto

98% of 3 to 4 year old's already attend pre-school? Surely there is a better way to deal with the missing 2% rather than this crazy scheme?

Rokayne

That would mean using common sense rather than ignorant and slavish political ideology.

PLP

I wonder if anyone has considered the possibility that some of the 2% don't actually want their children to attend preschool?

I know of some parents who home school their children so presumably they aren't interested.

John West

Not to mention those that exclusively use childminders. Between the two that would easily account for the 2%.

I don't believe our States are quite as forward thinking as this but you'd almost be forgiven in thinking this was the first step in removing family allowance entirely - I can see the headline now - '2 term trial wasn't a successful so we are stopping it'. (With no mention of the £2.50 per week per child).

Knowing someone very well that is involved in this from a CS side, although they didn't tell me yes, when I asked if the family allowance will likely be scrapped, they didn't exactly say NO... read into that what you will.

To be honest I think family allowance should be means tested anyway as there are many on this Island that are more than affluent enough to not require this, while there are those in genuine need.

Don Tramp

Maybe people dont wish to ship their children off at such an early age ?

Beanjar

Why don't people get with the Socialist States of Guernsey's Glorious Five Year Plan? We've been soft with all you dissidents far too long! Send your children to pre-school right now or Social Services will be paying you a visit.

Furthermore, anybody seen wilfuly attending church on Sundays rather than going shopping will be persecuted, then prosecuted. Patrick Rice's SWAT team will be rounding up anybody who fails to attend at least one gay wedding this year, on grounds of obvious hate crime.

While we're at it, you can expect to be picked off by sniper fire if you insist on trying to drive your Perodua Myvi into Town instead of patiently waiting an hour or two, in the rain, for a bus. If there happens to be a cruise ship in, buses will all stop two miles outside town to prevent the mayhem when cruise passengers attempt to 'cross the road'.

Keep reading the Guernsey Press daily for further proclamations, as we slide further to the left.