FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

All Your Questions Answered

The first 15 hours is a universal right to free childcare for all 3 and 4 year old children. It doesn’t matter how much you earn, as your child is entitled to receive this level of free childcare each week over a 38 week funding term (this provides a total of 570 free hours). 

Please note that, as a Nursery:

a. We ONLY offer the free funded hours between 7:30 and 17:30 Monday to Friday by predetermined sessions. 

The Extended 30 hours Funding Entitlement is an additional 15 free hours childcare provided by the local authority in addition to the Universal 15 hour free funding that is available to every 3 or 4 year old. The Extended Free funded hours are Means Testedand Eligibility Codes are provided to those families qualifying to receive it. It is available to children aged 3 or 4 years of age. Please find more information on the government website so you can pick the best childcare nursery for your little one.

The local authority’s Achieving for Children (AfC) Department advise that the extra funded hours will be made available to families where both parents (or the sole parent in a lone parent family):

  • are working and earn on average a weekly minimum amount equivalent to working 16 hours at either National Minimum Wage (NMW) or National Living Wage (NLW)
  • have an income of less than £100,000 each per year
  • live in England (parents who are non-EEA nationals must have recourse to public funds to qualify)

You may still be eligible to apply for this funding if you or your partner:

  • are taking paid time off work, such as maternity leave, paternity leave or sick leave
  • are temporarily away from England for a period of up to 6 months, such as on military duty

You can also apply for this funding if either you or your partner are employed or self-employed and one of you gets one or more of the following benefits:

  • contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit or long-term Incapacity Benefit
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • National Insurance credits because of incapacity or limited capability for work
  • you’ve been assessed as having limited capability for work for Universal Credit purposes

The first 15 hours (or 11.2 stretched funded hours in our case) is a universal right to free childcare for all 3 and 4 year old children. It doesn’t matter how much you earn, as your child is entitled to receive this level of free childcare each week over a 38 week funding term (this provides a total of 570 free hours).The Extended Funding Entitlement is available to parents who qualify for additional funding support (as per question 2) and provides an additional 15 hours free funding per week.

The Local Authority is required to check a few basic eligibility requirements (as detailed above in Q2) and which you can also check yourselves. Once approved the Local Authority will provide you with your Eligibility Code, which in turn you need to provide to us to enter into the local authority care providers portal.

You must get your code from the Local Authority’s Achieving for Children Department. This code is linked to your own personal earnings and as such we cannot obtain the Eligibility Code on your behalf – even if you’ve chosen us as your best childcare nursery option.

It is really important that you have this code and send it to us well before your invoice is raised as we may not be able to claim back the funding for reasons out of our control.

In such cases you will be charged the full amount of monthly Nursery Fees as per our Fees List. You are required by Wolverhampton Council to obtain your Eligibility Code at the start of every local authority funding “term”.

  • 1 September – 31 December – You need to get your code to us well before 31 August.
  • 1 January – 31 March – You need to get your code to us well before 21st December.
  • 1 April – 31 August – You need to get your code to us well before  31st March.

The current ratio guidance provided by Ofsted is as follows: Age 0-1 – 1:3 Age 2 – 1:4  Age 3+ – 1:8

However, we try to operate with a higher ratio of adults to children where possible, which enables us to maintain our reputation of providing high quality early years provision.

Our nurseries are open 51 weeks a year, during which time full fees are payable.

On Bank Holidays and over the Christmas period we are closed. Fees are NOT payable during closures.

Our fees are reviewed and changed when necessary in January each year, four months before the start of the financial year. We go through a structured process where we look at the costs of operating the nursery and any changes to national wage rates. If we feel that the operating costs have risen we will then increase the fees accordingly. You will receive notice in December of any fee increase, with the first month of the increase being Jan.

All our staff have an Enhanced DBS and hold either a Level 2, 3 or 6 in Childcare. Our policy at Apple Trees is to ensure all staff are Paediatric First Aid trained, we feel this contributes towards why we believe we’re the best childcare nursery for you and your child, helping them throughout their developmental stages.

Unfortunately not – sorry. If you’d like a place at a Apple Trees; your child will need to come along for at least two sessions, by either as two full days, two half days, or a mix of both. We have implemented this in our policy as we have noticed children that only attend one session do not settle.

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