The Not Too Small Print
Whilst we try to keep our terms and conditions as brief as possible, nonetheless, because we are caring for very young children, we are naturally obligated to many rules, regulations and also a good deal of legislation. We take our responsibilities very seriously and in that regard we have to be very clear to our parents and carers about the framework within which we operate. Please take time to read the following pages as it will help us provide and maintain the highest standards of care.
The terms and conditions detailed in this document represent the key elements of our booking agreement. However, as you can appreciate there is a significant amount of day to day detail which cannot be reasonably contained in one document. Consequently, you are also provided with supplementary information on this website as well as the day to day exchange and communication of documentation (hard copy and email), policies, procedures and reports.
Your acceptance of our terms is initiated at the booking and registration stage. Whilst this agreement naturally has legal implications, we always act with fairness and take into account specific circumstances before making decisions. The success of your child’s time here at The Wishing Tree is dependent on the partnership between the Nursery and our parents and carers. Please don’t hesitate to let us know if you wish to discuss the terms further.
1 Booking and Registration
1.1 The booking is not complete until the relevant booking form has been signed and returned to the Nursery along with the agreed deposit. This deposit will be returned or offset against your final month’s fees when your child eventually leaves the Nursery. In certain circumstances we are able to negotiate a lower deposit particularly if you are booking more than one child into the Nursery.
1.2 If you are unable to pay the booking deposit at the time of completion of the booking form, but want to secure your place, then we are able to accept the booking form and keep your reservation allocated for 14 days. Extensions beyond 14 days will be governed by other bookings coming into the Nursery and are at the discretion of the Nursery Manager.
1.3 Where the booking is for a start date up to 3 months ahead, we may be able to accommodate a deposit by installments. Please discuss with the Nursery Manager.
1.4 Unfortunately, should you cancel your place, the deposit will become non-refundable due to the fact that we have had to turn someone else away to secure the place.
1.5 Changes to your booking before the start date – Changes that do not reduce the number of sessions booked, to swap days for example, or changes to increase the number of sessions booked, can be made as available and may affect the deposit. Decreasing the number of sessions booked will be reasonably considered and taking into account circumstances, notice, amount of reduction and our other booking requirements. We reserve the right to cancel your booking and withhold all or part of the deposit if the decrease is greater than one full day or two half sessions or there is an unreasonable delay to the start date.
1.6 Changes to your booking after the start date – Swapping or increasing sessions can be considered as detailed in the previous point. If we cannot accommodate your request to increase or change sessions, then we can put you on our waiting list or you may wish to terminate the booking giving 8 weeks notice. Decreases to your booking require 8 weeks notice. We reserve the right to cancel your booking and withhold all or part of the deposit if the decrease is greater than one full day or two half sessions.
1.7 Prior to making your booking we can provide up to 5 settling in sessions free of charge. In the unlikely event that a child does not settle at the Nursery, (1) the parent / carer may terminate the booking with 2 weeks notice and with no loss of deposit. (2) the Nursery reserves the right to terminate the booking giving 2 weeks notice if we feel have acted with all due care to settle a child and in our opinion it has been unsuccessful. Before taking such action, we will investigate any special needs resource that might be available to help settle the child.
1.8 We do not charge a registration fee.
1.9 If your booking is for a full time place (10 sessions per week), and the place is confirmed by us, it is not possible to reduce the booking for 12 weeks after commencement. After this time the Nursery requires 12 weeks notice of any changes.
1.10 Once a place has been taken up, (excluding full time) the Nursery requires 8 weeks written notice of any changes.
2 Fees and Financial
2.1 All on-going fees are payable in advance by Direct Debit or Childcare Voucher on the first day of the month to which they relate and by the 7th of the month at the latest before charges may be incurred. Responsibility for paying fees resides with the parents or legal guardians of the child. Other forms of payment can be accepted for the first month’s fees and the initial booking deposit. In exceptional circumstances, the Nursery can also accept payment by standing order, cash, credit card and / or debit card. This should be agreed at the beginning of your booking with the Nursery Manager.
2.2 Fees are calculated weekly and payable on a calendar month basis.
2.3 The Nursery is closed at weekends, Bank Holidays and between Christmas and New Year and our fees are structured accordingly; effectively you pay for 50 weeks of the year.
2.4 The Nursery has already adjusted our fees to take into account that we are closed during bank holidays. Further discounts for Nursery closure may be offered in exceptional circumstances and assuming the closure is within our control.
2.5 Fees can be paid weekly by standing order if this helps with cash flow.
2.6 For new starters to the Nursery the first month’s fees can be paid by cheque to allow time for the Direct Debit mandate to be initiated by the collection company.
2.7 If your child’s start date is part way through the month then we will invoice for the actual sessions taken and begin the calendar month calculation the following month.
2.9 Fees are reviewed once per year normally between January and March. Any changes to the fee rates will be notified to you at least 8 weeks in advance.
2.10 We do not raise invoices each month unless you request us to do so. We will provide statements of account on request.
2.11 Extra sessions are payable in arrears by Direct Debit. In certain circumstances extras may need to be paid for on the day by cheque, cash or card. We will advise you at the time of booking if this is the case.
2.12 There is no VAT to be paid on any of our charges.
2.13 We are unable to refund fees for sessions not taken due to illness, absence or where the Nursery is forced to close due to circumstances beyond our control. See section 3 of this agreement.
2.14 The Nursery reserves the right to charge interest on late fees at the rate of 2% above the Bank of England base rate. For re-presented cheques a minimum charge of £25 will be made. Children may be excluded from the Nursery if fees remain outstanding beyond 14 days from their due date.
2.15 There is a minimum booking commitment for children aged 2 to 5 years of either one full day or two afternoon or morning sessions. Bookings must be for the same session(s) each week. It is not possible to swap days, so that for example, a normally booked Thursday is swapped for a Friday on a one off or temporary basis. Additional days can be accepted as a chargeable extra and subject to availability.
2.16 Our fees apply to normal opening hours of 8.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. for a full day and 8.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. or 1.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m. for a half day. Fees are calculated evenly by calendar month and are discounted to reflect the fact that the Nursery is closed during bank holidays and between Christmas and New Year. We do not provide discounts for holidays or extended periods of absence.
2.17 Because of the staffing and resource requirements as laid down by Ofsted, children who are collected after the agreed time (1.00 p.m. or 6.00 p.m.) will incur a late collection charge. The current charges are posted on the parent notice board.
2.18 Discounts are available for siblings in the Nursery. The discount is provided to the older child and remains in place until the older child leaves. The rate of this discount will be 5% for each additional child. Discounts are also available for full time bookings at a rate of 5% from the monthly fee. A further discount of 2.5% is provided to employees of the NHS, Legal and General and American Express. The maximum discount available under any circumstances is 10%.
2.19 Parents / carers claiming the Early Years Free Entitlement from the Nursery should ensure that they are not claiming more than the statutory allowance. Please consult with the Nursery Manager if in any doubt.
3 Termination and Suspension of Childcare Services
3.1 You may end this agreement by giving eight weeks written notice, except full time bookings which require twelve weeks notice. No specific reason for ending the agreement needs to be given, although naturally we would wish to understand the reason for the termination.
3.2 Specifically, you may end this agreement with immediate effect if (1) we have breached any of our obligations under this agreement and we have not or cannot put right that breach within a reasonable period of being requested to do so (2) we change any of the terms and conditions in an unreasonable manner.
3.3 Specifically, we reserve the right to end this agreement with immediate effect if (1) you have not paid the agreed fees (2) you have breached your obligations under this agreement and you have or cannot put right that breach within a reasonable period of being requested to do so (3) your child’s behaviour is unacceptable or endangers the safety and well-being of any of the other children in the Nursery (4) financial, business or commercial reasons compel us to radically change the nature of the Nursery’s operations, including but not limited to permanent closure of the Nursery, change of childcare service, re-registration of child numbers and age groups, changes to the registration and bookings policy. Naturally, we will provide as much notice as possible given any of these events.
3.4 We may suspend the provision of childcare for any of the above reasons and in addition
(1) if your child is suffering from an infectious or contagious disease or illness which may easily be passed onto others at the Nursery. The suspension will continue whilst we try to resolve the problem in conjunction with the parent / carer. (2) where forces beyond our control compel us to either close the Nursery or reduce the available hours, such as an outbreak of disease that involves the intervention of outside agencies such as Environmental Health, severe weather such as snow or ice which significantly impairs safe travel to and from the Nursery, industrial action affecting travel to and from the Nursery, an Ofsted investigation or any other reasonable incident not in our control. In the event that the Nursery is compelled to close in reasonable circumstances beyond our control we are not able to refund fees or organise alternative childcare, nor can we accept any consequential liability sustained by parents / carers due for example to loss of earnings or costs associated with alternative childcare. Dependent on the nature of the closure we may be able to seek compensation through our insurance policy and every effort will be made to minimise the disruption to service and cost to parents or carers. None of the above compromises your statutory rights if the Nursery has been negligent.
4.1 Staff are checked on commencement with the Nursery through the Disclosure and Barring Service to ensure there are no safeguarding issues of which we need to be aware. Suitable person checks also include but are not limited to identity verification, qualification checks, personal and employment references, medical checks and where applicable visas or permits to work in the UK. In some cases, because of the length of time that this process takes, a person may start work pending clearance provided they are at no time left looking after children on their own.
4.2 The Nursery observes the Ofsted regulations relating to staff and children ratios, currently 0-2 years 1:3, 2-3 years 1:4 and 3 to 5 years 1:8. In practice our ratios exceed the minima.
4.3 Where a member of staff, within 3 months of leaving the employment of the Nursery, is employed by a parent/carer to care for their child, who was previously registered at the Nursery, then the parent / carer will be liable to pay a sum equivalent to two month’s salary for the employee at the time their employment with the Nursery terminated.
4.4 If a member of staff is asked to take a child home out of Nursery hours it is the responsibility of the parent to ensure that the driver has appropriate insurance, that the car is roadworthy and that car seats are available. The Nursery requires written confirmation from the parent/carer of the child being taken home by a member of staff.
4.5 Parents/carers may ask staff to baby-sit outside Nursery hours. This is a contract between parent/carer and the member of staff, and the Nursery takes no responsibility.
5 Health, Safety and Absence
5.1 It is understood that the Nursery is under an obligation to report to the appropriate authorities any incident where we consider a child may have been abused, neglected or in some other way harmed either physically or emotionally. This may be done without informing the parent or carer, in accordance with our Safeguarding Children Policy.
5.2 Intimate care can be provided by a male or female member of our staff and can include feeding, washing, dressing, toileting and nappy changing. In instances where a parent or carer has requested that a particular member of staff perform certain activities, other members of staff will be informed and a full explanation given. Naturally, any confidentiality will be observed. Furthermore, the Nursery will ensure that practitioners’ employment rights are not infringed.
5.3 The Nursery is committed to the identification of and provision for children with Special Educational Needs. We believe that the potential of every child in our care is maximised, irrespective of ability, disability, race, gender and social background and to enable equal access to the curriculum in an environment where every child is valued and respected. Parents and carers must ensure we have all the relevant information regarding special needs to enable us to appropriately care for your child.
5.4 In fairness to all our staff and to the clients and children that use our facilities we expect reasonable standards of behaviour at all times. We therefore reserve the right to exclude any child whose conduct is, in our opinion, disruptive or in any other way unacceptable to the smooth and efficient running of our Nursery. Naturally every effort will be made to avoid this action and may include special needs assessment or one to one care if funding allows. We ask all parents / carers to appreciate this and to understand that, in the event of having to exclude any child, all fees are non-refundable.
5.5 All Nursery meals are prepared on site with consideration to provide a well balanced diet. Vegetarians and special dietary requirements are catered for. A copy of the weekly menu is displayed on the notice board/door. Please ensure you keep us notified about your child’s dietary needs and preferences.
5.6 We reserve the right to administer basic first aid and treatment when necessary. Parents will be informed of all accidents and will be required to sign an accident form. For accidents of a more serious nature, involving hospital treatment, all attempts will be made by Nursery to contact the parents but failing this, we are hereby authorised to act on behalf of parents to consent to necessary treatment from a suitably qualified medical source. We will administer prescribed medicines if parents complete a ‘Medicine Consent’ form; however, the first dose of medicine must be given at home and parents must take all medicines home at the end of each day unless otherwise agreed.
5.7 We may require parents to withdraw their child from Nursery, in the event that they require special medical care or attention, which is not available or refused by parents or it is considered that the child is not well enough to attend Nursery. We may also ask parents to withdraw their child from Nursery, if we have reasonable cause to believe that they are or maybe suffering from or have suffered from any contagious disease/infection and there remains a danger that other children at the Nursery may contract such a disease/infection. We accept no responsibility for children contracting contagious diseases/infections whilst at Nursery; however, we will publish infection notices in the Nursery to keep you informed. Parents are requested to inform the Nursery if their child is suffering from any illness or sickness before attending Nursery.
5.8 Parents are requested to inform the Nursery of any food, medicine, activity or any other circumstances that may cause the child to have an allergic reaction/ allergy. Parents must provide details, in writing, of the severity of the reaction/ allergy and must continue to inform the Nursery of any changes/progress to the condition, in writing, when they become aware.