How does your child's school allocate breakfast/after-scho
ol club places?
Just this really. My son is in Year 1. We used a childminder for wraparound care when he started Reception in September 2014 and put his name on the waiting list for a place in breakfast and after-school club in the early weeks of that first term. I am now on maternity leave and will be returning to work in September 2016. We released the childminder place (as I am doing school runs) and she no longer has a place for him. Last summer the school indicated that he would almost certainly get a club place in September 2016. Now they are not sure because they don't know how many siblings will join in Reception and they are given priority for club places. This is creating a lot of anxiety for me and the school have said they won't know about my son's September place until June. But the secretary didn't seem very hopeful.
I have asked the headteacher if the number of breakfast/after-school places can be expanded and apparently they are considering this but it is dependant on space (they can't use classrooms). I have queried the sibling priority rule because to me it doesn't seem fair when there aren't enough spaces and we have exactly the same childcare problem with our son as someone whose older children already have a place. He will have been on the list for two years come September. I was told they apply the sibling rule in the same way as school admissions.
For context: the school has 630 pupils and 70 club places (expanded from 50 a couple of years ago). It is a very popular school and in recent years 60/90 places in Reception have been allocated to siblings. A lot of people move into the area (and frequently straight out again) to get a place at the school.
How do your schools manage this? Is it 'first come first served' or do siblings have priority?
I'm fairly sure not all schools use the sibling rule. I know parents who were put out that not a single reception child got a place at breakfast club at some schools. It was widely discussed because some people had chosen certain schools based on the wraparound care they offered but, in reality, there weren't enough spaces and they had to wait until Year 1 or Year 2 to get a place and ended up having to use a childminder anyway.
I've no idea where that left siblings though because you can see your school's logic. It wouldn't make sense for parents to keep 1 child in breakfast club (having waited 1 or 2 years like you have to even get a place at all) and then have to use a childminder for the younger child every day (so 2 different drop offs)
At ours for breakfast club you have to have booked and paid for the following weeks space by end of school on thursday the week before. This is so they can ensure that they have the right number of staff to cover and get more in if needed.
They are only starting to do after school care (up until 6pm) from September 2016 so I'm not entirely sure how that will work but I assume it will work on much the same principle though maybe paying for a term at a time instead of a week.
I'd really really annoyed about the sibling rule to be honest.
First come, first served for us
The only caveat is that places released by departing year 6s will be offered to the incoming reception class first
Our school is similar size (bit bigger actually) and has about 90 after school places for 720+ children incl nursery.
It is only totally full on Wedsnesdays as the most popular day.
Places are first come first served. Booked in 1/2 term or term blocks.
Each child gets a place on own merits.; no sibling priority.
I get that two drop off may be a pain for siblings - but both DC might not actually need the same wrap around care...At our school, a lot of DC do different patterns to their siblings e.g. my DC1 does a sports club at school 2 days a week so doesnt need ASC but the other does. I collect DC1 and then DC2 from different parts of school.DC2 goes to an activity after school with a friend and therefore DC1 goes to ASC that day but not DC2. This is not unusual as choir, gardening club, cookery club, sports etc after school often involve one child but not the other.
I'd be challening it as unfair.
Our breakfast club has no limit to numbers and is in the canteen
Thanks all. I am annoyed by the sibling rule because I am not sure we'll ever get a place at this rate - in September he will have been on the waiting list for 2 years but will have lower priority than children just starting in a Reception.
From September our younger son will be in nursery so we will have to do a double drop-off/pick-up anyway (we are likely to choose a nursery near the train station for that reason). Yet this is apparently an unreasonable expectation for someone whose older child has already got a place at breakfast / after-school club.
Nursery/breakfast club double drop-off is unavoidable though because they are only for specific age groups. So the logic that if you have a pre-school child you are going to have to do a double drop so it might as well be nursery/CM instead of nursery/breakfast club. Whereas siblings at the same school can be accommodated by a single drop-off at breakfast club, so it makes sense to prioritise those families.
So wouldn't it make more sense to look for a CM who can do both school for oldest DC and full time for youngest?
They don't, you just turn up in the mornings. And if you are late for pickup they just get taken to late club. It is a private school though and they have a rota of staff on standby if that particular day is busy and needs more staff.
We had a CM but she doesn't have a place for our eldest any more. And the days she works aren't as flexible - I might change role when I return to work and she wouldn't be able to accommodate if my days changed. There is a lack of CMs who do wraparound care for our school. I also think that going into Year 2 the clubs would be good for my son and also considerably cheaper then £6.75 ph we were paying for the CM (making £27 a day for wraparound).
If the school can expand places so that no one is waiting an excessive amount of time for a place then I don't have a problem with the sibling rule. But with a lack of places it seems unfair on families like ours. And even worse for families with only children, because at least we have a prospect of benefitting from sibling priority in the end.
Sorry, I don't mean to sound unsympathetic, we had no clubs and no CMs when DS started school and it was a nightmare. But it really isn't worse for only child families because it is the same for the first child in every family, regardless of whether they have younger siblings.
Breakfast club I run by school staff as is open anyone, you just turn up on the day, it's also free. It doesn't start til 8.15am though so not practical if you need to commute far.
After school club is run privately by a member of school staff, it's done on a waiting list basis but people with older siblings normally put the younger sibling on the list a year or two ahead of them starting school! Once you have a place it's yours until you give it up.
I don't need a full time after school place so only use it a couple of times a month but have to take the chance there is space, tue and thu are completely full but there is normally space on the other days if I want to put them in.
Depressing conversation in the park after school with a mum whose daughter has been waiting for a place for three years ...
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