Statement of Intent
Polstead Preschool is committed to ensuring our setting is accessible to children and families from all sections of the community. We aim to provide accessible information and a fair, clear and open admissions process to all parents who apply for places. Polstead Preschool is committed to the development of an effective admissions system to support the provision of a competitively priced and good value service.
Polstead Preschool is widely advertised to all sections of the community. When a parent/carer contacts Preschool enquiring about a place for their child, they will be given all the relevant information they require including details of our Admissions and Fees policy, and informed of whether there is place available for their child. Our standard practice is to take children in September only, at the start of the academic year but some children may start part way through the academic year in exceptional circumstances (which are discussed with the Admissions Coordinator and the Supervisor). Preschool will advise the parent/carer of how long they are likely to have to wait before a suitable place becomes available. This information will only be an estimate and will not constitute a binding guarantee from Polstead Preschool.
When a suitable place is available the parent/carer and, where possible, the child will be invited to visit Polstead Preschool and speak to members of staff. Some parents/carers want to visit the Preschool before putting their child onto the waiting list. Visits are actively encouraged as they give the child the opportunity to explore the setting over a duration they are comfortable with and with as much parental/carer support they require.
If the parent/carer agrees to abide by all the terms and conditions of Polstead Preschool, including the level of fees and arrangements for payment, they will be asked to register the child via the Polstead Preschool website and to complete and sign the Child Information & Permissions Form to confirm their child’s place.
Once the admission is confirmed the Admissions Coordinator will contact the parent/carer concerned to arrange a date for the child’s first session at Preschool. At this stage, the provisions of the Settling In guidance will operate.
To ensure that admissions to Polstead Preschool are offered on a fair and transparent basis, the following procedure will apply to the management of waiting lists:
- A non-refundable registration fee is required.
- The waiting list operates on a first come, first served basis, but the Preschool may also exercise its discretion with regard to individual cases. Children may be admitted out of order of initial registration to adjust numbers of children of a certain age group or to permit the staffing ratios to be maintained adequately.
- Requests for more days or a change of days must be submitted to the Admissions Coordinator in writing and require a notice period of a full term.
- We are flexible about attendance patterns to accommodate the needs of individual children and families.
- New children starting dates are staggered.
- We have a minimum attendance of 2 days a week per child.
The payment of a deposit is not required if all the hours will be funded from the council and they are taken over a minimum of 3 days in the week. Where all hours are not funded a deposit is required in order to secure a place after an offer has been received. The deposit will be refunded on the final bill and is not refundable if the place is not taken up.
Polstead Preschool understands that the cost of registered childcare may seem expensive to a parent/carer. However, providing a high quality, safe and stimulating service for children is not cheap and to ensure the continued high standards and sustainability of Polstead Preschool, we must ask that parents/carers respect our fees policy.
- The level of fees will be set by the Committee and reviewed annually in the light of Polstead Preschool’s financial position, its future strategic plans and any other broader economic or social considerations deemed relevant.
- Payment of fees should be made termly in advance. Individual payment arrangements will be negotiated between the person in charge of Billing and parents/carers.
- Fees are due within 4 weeks of the invoice date.
- If after 4 weeks of the invoice date the fees remain outstanding, the person in charge of Billing will notify the parent/carer in writing and request payment at the earliest possible opportunity.
- If after 6 weeks of the invoice date the fees remain outstanding and the parent has made no attempt to contact Preschool, a late payment fee will be added to the invoice. The parent/carer will be notified in writing and will have one week to pay in full. If full payment is not received within one week, the child’s place at Preschool will be forfeited.
- The Committee reserves the right to take legal action, if necessary, to recover any outstanding payment.
- Parents/carers are encouraged to speak to a member of staff or the Committee if they have any query about the Admissions and Fees Policy, or if, for any reason, they are likely to have difficulty in making a payment on time. Parents/carers are strongly advised to arrange a meeting at the earliest possible opportunity, to avoid jeopardising their child’s place at Polstead Preschool.
Polstead Preschool is open from 09:00 to 15:00 Monday to Friday during Oxfordshire school terms. We consult with families to determine opening times but are mostly restricted by the property lease terms set by St Margaret’s Institute.
Polstead Preschool is committed to minimising the number of closures of the setting in order to provide reliable childcare on which families can depend. However, while we are fully aware of the disruption a closure can cause to families it is not always possible to remain open for every day of the term.
Closures are categorised into two areas:
- Planned closures - These are closures that are planned for in advance and families are given sufficient notice to ensure that other arrangements can be made for childcare on these days. Inset days, polling days, school and public holidays fall into this category. Wherever possible, Polstead Preschool tries to minimise the impact of voting/polling days by allocating an Inset to the same day.
- Unplanned closures - These are unforeseen closures that are not planned for and therefore not in the control of Preschool. Examples are closures due to staff sickness, bad weather, natural disasters, building/utilities problems and terrorism. Unplanned closures, to a maximum of five per year, are billed to parents.