Nursery group cuts fees

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The Old Station Nursery's Henley-on-Thames setting will reduce the cost of childcare from April, which could mean a saving for parents with a child on a part-time place of up to 2,730 a year.

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The nursery made the decision to cut its fees in a bid to increase numbers and help out those parents who are struggling to cope with higher living costs.

The Henley setting is the latest addition to the Old Station Nursery group, acquired in January this year. It had previously operated as the Orchard Farm Day Nursery for more than eight years.

At the moment there is a flat rate of £59.50 for all ages (from babies upwards) for a full day, or £37.50 for a half day session.

The setting will now introduce a scaling system to reflect the fact that looking after older children is slightly cheaper because of the lower staff ratios needed. Full day sessions for babies to three years old will be cut by £2.50, and half day sessions will be cut by £8.50. The rate for children between the ages of three to five will drop by £4.50 for a full day to £55, while a half day will be been reduced by £10.50 to £27.

Julie Crake, manager of the nursery, said, ‘We reviewed the rates as they were laid out when we took over in Henley in January and as a result we’ve taken the decision to reduce fees for all age groups. We felt that the previous arrangement wasn't very flexible and didn’t recognise the fact that it is slightly cheaper to care for older children than babies, as staff ratios are lower.

'We also want to open the nursery up and promote the Government-funded sessions for three- and four- year-olds and some two year olds - which we currently don’t have much take-up on.

'People in the industry say that fees have gone up by an average of six per cent this year, yet here you have a local nursery company which has actually cut fees.’

A family with a three-to-five year old child attending nursery for half day sessions every day could save £2,730 a year, while parents with children under three could save £2,210 a year on a part-time place. Savings for full time places range from £650 to £2,730 across the age groups.

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