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Private Schools and Holidays

(35 Posts)
tryingtobemarypoppins2 Fri 26-Aug-11 21:33:46

AIBU to wonder just how parents with children in private education manage with child care in the holidays?

My son is at a nursery attached to an independent school and so the term dates are the same. Last year he had 9 weeks off in the Summer, 4 weeks at Easter, 4 weeks at Christmas and a week in Feb. This seems so much more than the state system (which he is going to asap!).

Just how do parents do it???

Andrewofgg Fri 26-Aug-11 21:38:17

With great difficulty.

tryingtobemarypoppins2 Fri 26-Aug-11 21:40:26

Seems mad, considering the cost, you would expect they were in school a few more weeks a year???

thatsenough Fri 26-Aug-11 21:41:09

With difficulty! I work full-time, but do 17 hours from home which I tend do in the evenings when the boys are in bed during holidays. DH works shifts so is around a reasonable amount of time and able to help out.

Other than that we use the school and gym holiday clubs (as little as possible as we need to keep costs down) and my parents help out a little too.

If we both worked a standard 9-5 job I dread to think how much childcare would cost!

thatsenough Fri 26-Aug-11 21:42:30

Forgot to add that we will have had 9 weeks and 3 days off by the time they go back to school!

tryingtobemarypoppins2 Fri 26-Aug-11 21:50:41

9 weeks and 3 days :0 OMG!
TBH (along with many other reasons involving the choice of independent schools locally) the amount of time off, really puts me off sending him to the main school, hence starting in state next year. With extra childcare the cost would be shocking.

elphabadefiesgravity Fri 26-Aug-11 21:56:21

My husband is a college lecturer so he finishes about a week before the children do and goes back the same day as they do except for a bit of private tuition.

tallulah Fri 26-Aug-11 21:57:12

We worked shifts. The much longer school day, and my very favourite Saturday morning school more than made up for it.

thatsenough Fri 26-Aug-11 21:57:56

I think we have just got used to it and tried to break the holidays up with a few camping trips.

Unfortunately the choice of state schools near us is not good. DS1 has some fine motor control problems and DS2 mild speech delay and the small class sizes are fantastic for them. DS3 will be joining the nursery in a year which is when it will get really expensive - I will be forever grateful to my parents who pay half our fees.

We are considering a house move before secondary so we can get the boys in to a good state school, but we still have a few years to decide!

Dozer Fri 26-Aug-11 21:59:01

Our local private schools have 18 weeks holiday, the state schools 15.5 weeks, both not easy to cover!

Helenagrace Fri 26-Aug-11 22:05:29

I survive by forward planning my work, swapping favours with other mums and some holiday clubs. I also offer clients "special offers" in term time (actually I just hike my rates in holidays) to persuade them to take dates that suit me. I usually only have to work about three weeks in the Summer and about half of other holidays.

This summer we'll have had 8 weeks then two weeks for half term, three at Christmas. It's even worse when the holidays don't match. Last year at Easter I had at least one child off for nearly four weeks. This year the October half term stretches over three weeks. I'll be glad when DS joins his sister in the independent sector.

Until this summer DDs school only offered holiday clubs between 9.30 and 3.30. Unsurprisingly that didn't prove popular.

WillowFae Fri 26-Aug-11 22:08:31

My DCs prep school offers wrap around care. 8am-6pm Term time plus playscheme all adding up to 46 weeks a year.

You can pay for term time only, but we pay all inclusive. We have just got to the end of their 2 weeks summer closure and have a week of playscheme before term starts.

We have various reasons for them being at a private school, but the wrap-around care is one of them.

tryingtobemarypoppins2 Fri 26-Aug-11 22:10:37

I'm glad in my neck of the woods the state schools are so, so, so much better than the independent schools.
Out of interest, why do private schools have longer holidays?

tryingtobemarypoppins2 Fri 26-Aug-11 22:13:23

Am I allowed to ask how much 'all inclusive' sets you back Willow?

thatsenough Fri 26-Aug-11 22:16:36

No idea why the holidays are longer, although we do have a longer school day (8.30-3.30) than the local state schools which may account for it?

Hulababy Fri 26-Aug-11 22:17:25

I think DD gets about 3-4 weeks more holidays than state schools. I work in a local state school so I only have those extra weeks to cover. I do it through a mix of
* DH working from home and DD staying with him
* Grandparents, have two sets living within about 45 minutes from here and they'll have her as and when
* Friends in similar situations
* DD has on occasion come into school with me and helped out

TBH it generally just seems to sort itself out. If I had to find child care for the additional 13 weeks of normal holiday time I would be stumped though. But I chose to work in a school so mostly it is covered.

Hulababy Fri 26-Aug-11 22:19:32

I think they have longer holidays but also often longer hours during their term times. For example DD's school day prep/juniors) is 8:30am-3:45pm whereas the local junior schools are around 9am-3:20pm. We don't have Saturday school.

WillowFae Sun 28-Aug-11 17:07:48


In pre-prep it is an extra £130 a month than term time 8-3.30 only.
In prep it is also an extra £130 a month but the term time fees are 8-6 in prep as the school day runs an extra half-hour and they have extra clubs plus homework club.

BellsaRinging Sun 28-Aug-11 17:11:32

When ds was at an independant it was really good, and had holiday clubs all through the holidays 8-6, so when I wasn't at work he was there, or an alternative day camp, same as Willow, really.

LisaD1 Sun 28-Aug-11 17:40:03

We struggle with child care in the holidays but manage it by taking it in turns to work from home (both have very flexible roles), I don't work Fridays anyway so that's one less day to worry about! We sent the girls to my mums for 2 weeks which they loved and meant we could put some extra hours in at work so as not to feel so bad about having to take time off, we also had a couple of weeks holiday and my inlaws are helping out too. Without lots of juggling and a supportive family we would have no hope of covering the holidays.

CMOTdibbler Sun 28-Aug-11 17:46:01

DS's prep have wrap around care as standard (8-6, but school day is 8.30-4 anyway), and offer holiday club all but 2 weeks a year at a very reasonable cost. It was why ds goes there to a large part. But I think we only have 3 weeks holiday more a year than the local state schools

EndoplasmicReticulum Sun 28-Aug-11 18:09:07

Private schools traditionally have longer holidays to give the boarders more time at home, I think.
The school day is often longer, too - so probably the same amount of hours are taught over the year.

Lots of independent schools do offer holiday schemes / clubs to cover at least part of the time.

legalalien Sun 28-Aug-11 18:38:03

you have forgotten the two week October mid term break! at DS' school, it's either covered by being a SAHM or part time worker, having family nearby, or having either a full time nanny or a nanny who works part time in school termtime and full time in the holidays. none of which is a cheap option. But you can't really send your kids to school holiday clubs for 9 weeks on end, can you? they'd be exhausted.....

Journey Sun 28-Aug-11 18:47:39

Don't private schools have longer holidays because of boarders?

Isn't it also just a case of one of the hidden costs of going private?

WhiffOfBath Sun 28-Aug-11 18:52:08

With difficulty. I work from home, and can't work at all during the holidays - even if I did, I wouldn't earn enough to cover whatever camp/holiday scheme I might be able to force them to go to. As all our money is eaten up by fees, it also makes for a lot of time spent in the library during the 9.5 week summer holidays.

On the other hand, they are at school from 8.30-4 every day, so I get a bit of extra work time during the week when they're actually at school.

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