Parents ‘forced to pay’ for free nursery places

free nursery places

free nursery placesFor families struggling to make ends meet, free nursery education is a vital lifeline and allows parents some quality time, safe in the knowledge their kids are being well looked after.

But for some of the UK's poorest families, who can only send their young children to nursery because of its free nature, the institutions are putting their kids' free nursery places in jeopardy by excluding those from families who do not pay for 'extra services'.

If you are one of those families, and feel a nursery is denying you your entitlement of 15 hours of free nursery education for four to five year-olds per week, then you are not alone.

A new report from a Government committee - the Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) - suggests that kids from many other families are being unfairly denied free nursery places.

According to people who have spoken to the Government about the problem, mums and dads who cannot afford to pay for extra hours beyond the 15 the law grants them, are being told their kids are not welcome.

This practice, which is completely illegal, has been branded "simply not acceptable" by the Department of Education and officials from the Government have vowed to crackdown on any reported nurseries found to be guilty of the behaviour.

Talk to any parent and the likelihood is that they will tell you that finding reliable childcare can be a real hassle, so this news is likely to strike a chord with families around the country.

But the good news is that although work needs to be done, the Government is generally pleased with how well education for youngsters has improved recently.

So check out these top tips for picking the best nurseries, and be sure to ask about your free nursery entitlement.

The bottom line is to always do as much research as possible, do not be afraid to ask awkward questions, and always check what your childcare entitlements are. You could be missing out on free help from the Government.

And above all, if you suspect you are being unfairly treated, be sure to go straight to your local MP or council member.