Oldhill Children's Centre FAQs

Why is Oldhill included in these proposals?

Oldhill is one of the five children’s centres identified in the EY review as operating below the average 88% occupancy.

Three centres - Oldhill, Hillside and Fernbank - are in very close proximity. Making significant changes to all three centres presented a risk to having sufficient childcare places in the locality. The options were based on working towards maintaining sufficient provision to support children’s outcomes, and to enable parents to work. Reducing the childcare provision will reduce surplus places and support the remaining children’s centres to optimise occupancy.   

Oldhill supports marginalised, low income families who would benefit most from joined up services delivered as part of the school and children’s centre. 71% children are of Black and global majority heritage, 39% assessed as being in need, 1% are above average income. 

Maintaining the children’s centre, and reducing cost by changing the age range and configuration of places would sustain both the children’s centre and the school where the children’s centre is co-located by removing surplus places. 

The Effective Provision of Preschool Education study found that disadvantaged children benefit significantly from good quality preschool experiences, especially when they are educated with a mixture of children from different social and economic backgrounds. The proposed changes would enable the centre to continue to support children from marginalised communities, those in need, and those from lower income households, with a number of places for higher income families (to be determined following the consultation). 

Removing places for 4 year olds adds flexibility to increase places for younger children should they be needed. The subsidy is proposed to continue to be used to support the most disadvantaged children, alongside places for higher income families.

What do the proposals mean for Oldhill Children's Centre?

The consultation includes the proposal to restructure Oldhill Children’s Centre to provide early education and care to children 6 months to 3 years old.

Currently, Oldhill Children’s Centre offers 60 full-time places for children aged 6 months to 5 years. The Council is proposing to move to term-time places available to children aged 6 months to 3 years. Families would be able to pay for wrap-around care at the beginning and end of the day and for holiday provision. This means that childcare taken above the 30-funded hours will be subject to full fees. 

Children in need of support would continue to be funded to access places through the current early help system that is managed via the family support teams. 4 year olds would apply for a funded early years entitlement place in Oldhill School, or at an alternative school.

The proposals would not affect children who are currently enrolled at Oldhill. Places for 4 year olds would be phased out; children at Oldhill would continue to access the nursery until they leave. The phasing out of places for 4 year olds is likely to impact future families who would be required to apply for a place at a school nursery class before their child’s 4th birthday, and would need to take up that place at the September or January intake. It is not unusual for children to leave their early years setting at 3½ years to take up a place in a school nursery class.

The places for children under 3 years are proposed to be structured for children to take up their funded early years entitlement, and pay for the hours outside of the government-funded entitlement at market rate. This means that parents will pay for the wraparound and holiday provision that they request, rather than paying for hours that they do not need. Children in need of early help will continue to be supported to access provision. 

Wraparound care within a school at the beginning and end of the day, and holidays is often a barrier to taking up a school place. However, alongside the expansion of the funded early years entitlement, the government has also launched a wraparound childcare programme to fund childcare in schools from September 2024. The launch of this programme will give parents the choice about where they access provision. This may have an adverse impact on future demand for places for 3 and 4 year olds in children’s centres.

Updated April 2024

The consultation proposes to offer term-time provision to eligible children 9 months to 3 years who will be funded for 38 weeks of the year. Oldhill will continue to take children from 6 months old who will not be eligible for the funded entitlement before 9 months old, and will therefore pay full fees. 

What would wraparound care look like if the proposals for Oldhill are taken forward?

Currently, parents can receive up to 15 hours funded childcare over 38 weeks per year and pay for any additional childcare that they require outside of these hours. Under the Oldhill proposals, a similar system is being proposed with paid for wraparound care available to families, in addition to the funded entitlement.

Would wraparound care be offered for 4 year olds who move from Oldhill Children’s Centre to Oldhill School, or an alternative school?

Oldhill Children’s Centre has previously provided wraparound care to children who have left the Children’s Centre to take up a nursery place at Oldhill Primary School. Schools will have the opportunity to take up the wraparound childcare programme from September 2024. The launch of this programme may give parents the choice about where they access provision. 


This page was last modified on: 12 Apr 2024