80p a day to send your chil­dren to school early

Caernarfon Herald - - NOTSTALGIA -

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

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