80p a day to send your children to school early
PARENTS in Gwynedd will have to pay if they want their children to attend school early.
Gwynedd Council has announced plans to charge parents if they want their children to attend the countywide school Breakfast Club Scheme before 8.25am.
The local authority said they are having to introduce the charge – for children who arrive between 8am and 8.25am – as they struggle with mounting budget cuts.
They believe that the fee will cover a proposed £100,000 cut in funding for the scheme, while also covering the administrative costs of collecting the fees.
Between 8.25am and 8.50am, when the breakfasts are served, parents will not have to pay.
Also, parents with three or more children will be given a discount.
In a report, the council said: “Following a consultation period, it is recommended to charge a fee of 80p for the childcare element before the breakfast club, giving a discount to families with three or more children, with these arrangements to commence on November 6, 2017.
“Due to the enormous financial pressure that Gwynedd Council faces as a result of financial cuts from the Government, reducing the money spent on pre-school childcare arrangements was one of the options submitted as part of the Gwynedd Challenge public consultation.
“At the meeting of the full council on March 3, 2016, it was decided that £100,000 should be cut from the breakfast budget.
“The budget for the ‘Free Breakfast’ scheme before implementing the cut is £557,300, which is mainly used for staffing costs and food costs.”
Currently, 75 primary schools in Gwynedd offer pre-school childcare between 8am and 8.50am.
Gwynedd Council’s fead of finance, Dafydd Edwards, said he believed the fee would help cover the cuts to the budget.
He said: “Having reviewed the relevant financial modelling, based on the information available, and taking into account a likely reduction in demand for the care provision, I confirm that it is reasonable to assume that charging an 80p fee will generate sufficient income to realise the required financial saving.”
The council’s monitoring officer, Iwan Evans, added that the proposals had been widely consulted on.
He said: “Detailed consultation work has been undertaken on the options to move this matter forward and this is dealt with in detail in the report.
“According to the statutory guidance ‘Free breakfast in primary schools’ it is required to provide the breakfast in a short period of time before the beginning of the school day. However, as noted in the report, the current provision provides a period of time which is greater than that which would address the guidance for providing free breakfast.
“This element is an extra provision which represents a period of childcare for the pupils.”
● Parents will have to pay if they want their children to attend the county-wide school Breakfast Club Scheme before 8.25am