State primary + working parents - can it work?

(70 Posts)
MillionPramMiles Tue 08-Jul-14 16:17:25

If you both work full time so can't do pick ups/drop offs, do you feel your child has lost out? Are they supported with homework, do they still have playdates? How did you find good wrap around care?

I'm favouring private schools not because I think state schools offer poor education but because I can't get my head around how it can possibly work otherwise. It doesn't help that the state schools near us (or schools we could reasonably move near) offer very limited or no after school care.

One headmistress of a local (well regarded) school said they offered no after school clubs as they thought parents should look after their children at the end of the school day. Most working mothers I know are planning to work part time or not at all once their kids are at school. Is that the only solution? (Neither is financially or practically possible for us without one of us commuting 3-4 hours a day).

noramum Tue 08-Jul-14 16:37:30

Why do you think private is more convenient? They may have longer days but also a lot more holiday to cover. DD's clhildminder has a couple of private school girls, they still come to her at 4pm, so care in the afternoon is still required.

DD's school offers clubs but only until 4pm, not for Reception and only until this term the children can go to the club without being handed over to a parent previously.

DD goes to a childminder after school, most days until 5pm-isch. I think 1/2 her class attends some kind of after school setting, there is an independent after school care, next to the school and the children are collected by their staff, or a childminder.

I work part-time, changed hours so I can drop off and DH changed so he can pick up earlier. I have a 1 hour commute, DH now works from home but until last autumn also commuted 1 hour each way. I think part time is helpful, as are DH's hours, as we can help DD with school work and not have to push everything into the weekend. Reception was still easy but I found that, despite DD attending a very good school, she needs some work at home. She has concentration issues and lacks progress due to being distracted in the noisy school environment.

I think there is just one mum in DD's class working full time and I think they definitely see the disadvantages.

bearwithspecs Tue 08-Jul-14 16:49:19

Tons of mums work at our urban state school so we are lucky there is wrap round which is well used. Loads of kids go to all different holiday clubs. There is a private wrap round facility next door to school and loads of other kids are collected and dropped off by child minders, grandparents, other mums or siblings. About 25% are SAHM I estimate. There are after school clubs too like sport or choir. Just research options in your area.

adp73 Tue 08-Jul-14 16:52:36

Childminders offer excellent wraparound car for school children and offer holiday care as well.

fluffydoge Tue 08-Jul-14 16:53:45

We had an au pair. Obviously there's the financial aspect but we found it suited us much better as it was more flexible.

JewelFairies Tue 08-Jul-14 17:00:47

We went private for that reason for a few years. No family nearby, local primary doesn't believe in after school care and has a short school day 9 to 3, plus long commute to work. It worked very well for us and we only paid for the after school care for the time we used (i.e. charged by hour). Dc rarely stayed at school beyond 4.30 but we needed the flexibility to know they could. We also had access to the holiday club run by school staff which was reassuring for our younger dc (too young for other clubs). Oh and it happened to be an excellent school as well.

Dozer Tue 08-Jul-14 17:05:54

Childcare, even nannies, is cheaper than fees! Plus as others say private schools jave longer holidays, approx 18 weeks altogether.

JewelFairies Tue 08-Jul-14 17:11:21

Not all private schools have 18 weeks holidays!
Not all areas have childminders willing to pick up from schools
Not all schools have after school care on the premises or close by
Not all after school clubs have spaces!

It's hardly a black and white scenario where one thing is better than another. You'll have to go with what works for your family in your area.

And please everyone leave out all the generalisations e.g. 'Childminders offer excellent wraparound car for school children and offer holiday care as well' This statement may well be true but is hardly universal. What you can say is that in your particular area of a particular town you have found that childminders offer excellent care etc.

JewelFairies Tue 08-Jul-14 17:12:12

And no, our childcare, even nannies, would not have been cheaper than school fees. Fancy that.

JewelFairies Tue 08-Jul-14 17:12:32

<steps off soap box>

AmberTheCat Tue 08-Jul-14 17:13:08

It absolutely can work, but you need either flexibility or formal childcare.

Dp and I cut down our hours slightly to both work 28 hour weeks, in various different configurations as the kids have grown and their needs have changed. We're also lucky enough to have fairly enlightened employers, and the sorts of jobs where you sometimes have to be in the office for an all day meeting, but can sometimes work from home and fit your hours in when necessary. With this level of flexibility, we can just about cover drop-offs and pick-ups between us, though we do need to use the ASC or call on favours from other parents occasionally.

If our jobs were less flexible then I think we'd need some more formal childcare to make it work - ASC, childminder, nanny, etc.

AuntieStella Tue 08-Jul-14 17:14:35

You need to check carefully what a private school offers in terms of before/after school clubs, how much extra they cost, and what year groups they are available to.

13Stitches Tue 08-Jul-14 17:19:58

We both work and DS will go to a state primary (as if we could choose private!). He will stay with his current cm who will do drop off & pick up and occasional INSET days.

cheminotte Tue 08-Jul-14 17:21:11

You don't say how old your dc are OP . I wrote to the head of my preferred school a year before dc was due to start about what they provided having established the existing childminders would not have places. I also put in a request to do school hours only in case nothing materialized.
I'm not sure how going private will help with play dates and homework except it may be more the norm to stay after school than it is in a state school where the head 'does not approve' of working mumsnet

MaudantWit Tue 08-Jul-14 17:21:21

As others have said, you need to research what's available local to you.

Our primary school had on-site after school activities in the sense of a particular activity that ran for an hour after school, but the wider after school provision was in two ASCs in the church hall and the community centre. One of them ran a holiday club too. With those, and some flexible working, we managed fine. Other friends worked from home, used childminders or had an au pair, all of which worked for them.

cheminotte Tue 08-Jul-14 17:22:17

working mums

JewelFairies Tue 08-Jul-14 17:22:58

working mums net This made me laugh out loud cheminotte as that's what I've done today rather than work from home

sittingatmydeskagain Tue 08-Jul-14 17:24:03

To be honest, this was my thought process too.

I chose to work part time, so that I could do school pickup, clubs, homework, music practice etc. Obviously, massive pay cut and little career progression.

If I'd chosen to work full time I'd have chosen a private school with wrap around care and holiday clubs (friends are at such a school). The extra salary would have gone on school fees.

I know numerous parents who do both work full time, and are local state schools. I do think something has to give - either clubs/ homework, or just chill out time and sleep, as they cram clubs etc in late in the evenings and weekends.

Hard choice, though. I just hit lucky, and did a lot of planning re: career.

hobblebobble Tue 08-Jul-14 17:24:36

Have you a short list of schools that you have a realistic chance of getting in? Contact them and arrange visits and ask what people do. Every single school near us (bar one 5 miles away) has some form of wrap round provision. The provision is often not advertised fully on web sites. Most people use these or child minders. Our local council also has a big list of CM and will say which schools they pick up from. Most only charge by the hour - big change from private nursery etc

ILoveCoreyHaim Tue 08-Jul-14 17:28:05

We have a breakfast club and an after school club ran by a local private nursery and do age appropriate activities with the kids. They collect them from school and parents can collect up until 6.30pm. Breakfast club starts at 8am and costs £2.50. After school club is £5 till 4.30pm, £7 till 5.30pm and £10 till 6.30pm.

I work part-time to fit around school hours, but our school has pretty good wrap-around care (large state primary). Breakfast club starts from 7:30am and afterschool club finishes at 6.00pm.

A friend of mine has just got her dream job and started working fulltime (was part time before). Her youngest is in reception and she felt that breakfast club/after school club every day was a bit full on. So they've ended up with an au pair.

FinDeSemaine Tue 08-Jul-14 19:06:24

Our state primary offers care from 7.45am until 6pm (at about £4 for breakfast club and £12 for after school club). It seems reasonably good. Certainly the staff who run it are all immensely popular with even the children who don't attend (they help with other sports and lunch activities at school).

Yes, my DC have been to holiday club at school (same staff as breakfast club/after school) and DD in particular absolutely loves them. She has her favourites that she waves to on the way to school.

OatcakeCravings Tue 08-Jul-14 19:36:45

My DS goes to a private breakfast and after school club. I drop him there in the morning at 7.30pm and they bus the kids to school in a mini bus. They then pick them up from school in said mini bus and I then collect him from after school club. It is open until 5.30pm. I work 8 to 4 so pick him up at around 4.20. If I had a long commute it wouldn't work.

OatcakeCravings Tue 08-Jul-14 19:38:03

Oh they also do a holiday club which is open 8-5 in the holidays and on inset days.

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