I am hoping someone has any ideas. We have been given a place at an out of catchment school with no before or after provision, the nursery that both daughters attend 11 months and 4.5 years) is attached to a differing out of catchment school and we were not offered an in catchment school.. The school offered also has no nursery and nurseries who would deliver cannot support our working hours (we commute to London) or else would not support my self-employment, insisting we place both in for full week whether or not working which is too costly. We cannot transfer our jobs as specialist area, we are not from the area we live in currently so no family and the only community we have in terms of other parents is at the nursery and no parents have children going anywhere near the school offered to be able to help. Our current nursery does not deliver to the school either due to distance. We have appealed with no luck as we do not fit the criteria for admittance. We have been in touch with councillors, sure start, family services, the education liaison team all of whom suggest we have been down every avenue possible and obviously cannot be lenient on absence. The school are not interested in sharing any expertise and child minders are either too expensive or cannot be flexible which I can understand. The education department is suggesting we change our circumstances. We cannot afford to live on one wage and having contacted the welfare department they have suggested that we cannot become unemployed and due to our specialism would be sending us to London to look for work and we have looked at moving nearer to my parents but the train fare alone is three grand more and on our current rent we would be swapping a two bed for a bedsit. Sure start tonight suggested we place a note on here in the hope that another set of working parents might have any suggestions as at present our only circumstance change is to split the family, myself and school daughter living in herts for schooling and my youngest staying with dad in Essex, I do not want to do this but we seem to be at an impasse with an impotent appeals scheme, a council with no ideas and another borough education dept who just cannot believe that we are not being assisted as a family as working parents. It seems the education department are only looking at the circumstance of the child starting school and not the fact that we have another child in nursery so are forgetting the sibling discount etc that we get.
One positive outcome so far....I have asked the local MP to raise question with the government who are asking parents to work and then really doing nothing to alter admission policy to give out of catchment consideration to not only mileage but those parents who work and have genuine need, not having family or support and assistance in getting an older siing to school whilst having a younger in nursery, or else other real need. I hope this starts a debate about working parents and assistance with schools attached to nursery schools, as sure start has just told me that more and more nursery schools are closing at 6....a London only problem perhaps but a real nightmare for a commute.
I have to admit that it is now that you realise just how important family networks can be for support....
Any ideas welcome from those finding themselves in the same position. I know people will suggest that we should have considered staying at home and one of us is self-employed to be flexibke to an extent, it is just that some days when we need to work will be difficult with little or no support. We are lucky we know as our nursery and the staff there are amazing and very much part of our family and community which has made work possible....
It may even be worth working at a loss although of course child care is paid 50% by each parent in equal marriages so would not be quite a loss, just to keep two good careers going which you both might be working full time in for the next 40 years to age 70 and beyond,.
We have used a childminder for before school only (7.30 am to 8.45, breakfast and transport to school included) for years, ever since i retrained and started work as a teacher.
Works brilliantly. Because she doesn't have any other 'breakfast' children (her full timers arrive a bit later) she is totally flexible anout which days she has them, so e.g. while I was doiing my PGCE she varied each term and during placements etc to accommodate different timetables.
The benefit that I hadn't expected is the 'surrogate family' effect. Sge is very like my family now - she'll pick my children up from school if they are ill and hold them till I get there, do emergency dashes if I'm held up in the evening, have them for the odd day in the holidays if I need to work, does odd things like pantomime performance drop-offswhen DD is dancing int he local panto, gives them birthday presents etc etc. It's been brilliant.