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to think that this country needs to improve wraparound care for school age children

(194 Posts)
PontOffelPock Thu 13-Mar-14 21:51:05

There is rightly a lot of focus at the moment on the cost of pre-school childcare.

However, for us at least, the real killer has been the lack of decent, affordable wrap around care for school-age DCs. Its nigh on impossible to find an available childminder near our school to do the pick-ups, there is no breakfast/after-school club, and we both have an hour commute, so we are increasingly reliant on family. The holiday club we enrolled our DCs in is very expensive. I wonder how on earth other parents who both work full time (and one parent isn't a teacher) manage when school hours are 9-3 plus all the holidays.

AIBU to think that this needs some focus so that parents are able to work full-time if they need to?

WooWooOwl Thu 13-Mar-14 21:56:33


BumpyGrindy Thu 13-Mar-14 21:58:46

Well many are like me Pont in that they don't work or they're self employed because an actual job wouldn't be worth it once childcare was taken into account.

Many women take the brunt of this and have shit part time jobs in shops.

GreenLandsOfHome Thu 13-Mar-14 21:59:00

I work part time and dh works full time.

I work Mon-Thurs 8-6, term time only. Dh works Tue-Sat.

So they go to the child minder 3.30 - 6.30, Tue-Thurs in term time.

We are lucky with our jobs, it would be a huge financial strain to have to pay for holidays too, or to pay for 5 days a week if we both had Mon-Fri jobs.

Dahlen Thu 13-Mar-14 21:59:16

I agree. There is a lot of talk about flexible working patterns, which is great, but personally I don't want flexible working to fit round school hours, what I want is childcare that suits the hours I want to work at a rate that is affordable.

I have been creative with my childcare over the years, relying heavily on professional childcare with an extended network of friends (mostly other single mothers) to help when childcare falls through. As time has passed, I now have several mid-older teenagers able to pick up some slack during school holidays. Because it's informal and ad-hoc and limited hours spread between them all, I stay on the right side of the law but pay less than using a formal childminder. It's not something I would have considered with younger children, but now mine are older I am happy with it.

WE really need a wholescale approach to childcare though. Even if schools were open for childcare from 7.30am to 7.30pm, it would still leave shiftworkers at a disadvantage. WE live in an increasingly 24-hour society, in which regular 9-5 hours are fast becoming a thing of the past.

purpleroses Thu 13-Mar-14 22:01:11

The presence of an after school club was one of the things I looked for in choosing a primary school.

That's bad luck if yours doesn't provide one.

Costs are much lower though than for nursery.

rollonthesummer Thu 13-Mar-14 22:03:31

The only way that is going to happen is if the state massively subsidised it. I really can't see that happening.

gallicgirl Thu 13-Mar-14 22:04:30

We can afford childcare and both DP and I work full time.
We're about to move so have had to look for new childcare and I've really struggled to find wraparound 8 to 6 care. DD is only 3 so school not an issue but we have no family to help. I was surprised how few nurseries and childminders do full time care.

Dahlen Thu 13-Mar-14 22:05:13

Childcare is massively subsidised elsewhere in Europe. OVer time the amount raised in taxation through increasing numbers of parents in the workplace has resulted in a net gain.

We have the highest childcare costs in Europe.

5Foot5 Thu 13-Mar-14 22:07:27

Agreed. I know at least two women who went back to work after they had children but ended up giving up work again when the DC reached school age because the child care available to fit around school time wasn't available to them.

We were lucky that there was an after school club on the school premises.

BlackeyedSusan Thu 13-Mar-14 22:08:49

the school child care does not begin til 7.45 and finishes at 5.45 hardly enough time to get into work, and get back. if you work more then a few minutes commute away. it would limit where I could get work if i relied on that.

it is not ideal either for my children (one introvert and one asd) who need down time at home.

PontOffelPock Thu 13-Mar-14 22:15:03

Even if it wasn't subsidised, surely group childcare is cheaper than nannys/childminders for parents, yet it is hard to find for school aged children.

If schools can't offer breakfast/after-school clubs (very few in our area do, and they are oversubscribed) then couldn't there be private provision of group wrap-around childcare on school premises? Is there not the demand?

Scholes34 Thu 13-Mar-14 22:15:16

Parents at our primary school who needed wrap-around care campaigned for, recruited to and were instrumental in the setting up of breakfast and after school clubs. They made it possible, and it continues long after their children have left the school.

Meanwhile, I've worked part-time close to home to be able to do the school pick up and paid vast amounts of money for holiday clubs whilst the kids were younger. That expense is all behind us now that the DC are well into secondary school. Whatever the expense and inconvenience, it doesn't last forever.

BornToFolk Thu 13-Mar-14 22:17:45


I had no choice about which primary school to send DS to as most in our area are massively over-subscribed. It has a breakfast club (heavily subsidised and I don't think it'll last much longer), and the after school clubs are not reliable enough to use as childcare. There is 1 private after school club that'll pick collect him from school on the two days that I work longer house, no childminders will.

It's not so much the cost of childcare that causes me problems, it's finding it in the first place.

As a lone parent, I have no choice but to work. Working full time is not really an option though and if the breakfast club does close, I'll probably have to drop more hours.

I'm lucky that I have family that will help with childcare during holidays and I can take leave too. I also use a holiday club but that'll only take children until age 8. Not sure what I'll do with DS after that.

Tanith Thu 13-Mar-14 22:23:25

Several years ago, childminders fulfilled this job. Then Childrens Centres, breakfast clubs and after school clubs, all heavily subsidised, wiped many of them out. More and more childminders found it impossible to compete and either stopped doing wrap around care or went out of business altogether.

Then the subsidies were cut.

Wrap around care became too expensive to run and the clubs started to fold, nurseries found it unprofitable and Childrens Centres were restructured.

The result is what you see now.

Isthatwhatdemonsdo Thu 13-Mar-14 22:25:47

I agree Pont. Our head teacher has sent out questionnaires to our parents to see if they are interested in wrap around childcare at our school. It will be interesting to see the results.

Damnautocorrect Thu 13-Mar-14 22:31:29

Our (inf) school does wrap around from 7.30-6. I don't think many take it up, maybe given the age. I think its £10 a day they do activities with outside people bought in.

Mimishimi Thu 13-Mar-14 22:36:30

YANBU at all because when things don't work out, I and a few other mums seem to get a lot of requests to take other's people's kids until their parents can pick them up! Even if I hardly know them and they are really just a classmate of my son... it's really uncomfortable turning them down and they seem to think they we don't do anything with our own kids after school (which might be the case on some days but they have no place questioning my schedule). I don't think it should be any cheaper than regular childcare though, you still need to provide the carers with a decent wage, insurance etc. If I was a childminder, it probably wouldn't be worth my time to do school pickups and parents expect to pay less for a school aged child. The demand for care is such that they don't have to take those kids on.

manicinsomniac Thu 13-Mar-14 22:39:26


I am a single mum and the only way I could think of to survive was to become a teacher in an independent school so I have had free or very cheap wraparound care from 8 weeks old up to the present day (oldest is 11). We are in school by 8 and some days we don't live till 11 at night. Sometimes we sleep over. It has been such a relief and I genuinely can't think how else I could have afforded to live. I know other single parents manage in other ways but I'm not entirely sure what they do!

gordyslovesheep Thu 13-Mar-14 22:39:51

YAsoooooooNBU - my childminder retired with a month notice, all other that collect from the school are full, managed to find an after school club in another school but have had to ask another mum to walk them there - and when my eldest starts secondary in Sept there is nothing for her as she is too old for after school club

gordyslovesheep Thu 13-Mar-14 22:40:12

lost of missing 's's there - sorry

nokidshere Thu 13-Mar-14 22:40:30

Me and All my childminder friends do dropoffs/pickups from the local schools. I don't know any childminder in our network that doesn't.

I charge £10 for 3 hours and provide lots of activities (or none if they want to chill) and a 2 course home cooked meal. I am also flexible for shifts and don't charge extra for getting held up at work or in traffic. Wraparound care at school wouldn't be able to match my provision.

Norfolknway Thu 13-Mar-14 22:40:44

Yup, I have a part time job in a shop
that gives me excellent hours and good pay

VestaCurry Thu 13-Mar-14 22:45:40

One parent being a teacher is only helpful in childcare terms during the school hols. When I was teaching I had a 45/ 60 min commute and needed to be in school by 8.10 at the latest, so left home at 7 each morning. 3 afternoons a week there were various staff when teaching finished at 3.30, and the other 2 afternoons were taken up planning the following week's teaching.
Wraparound childcare is indeed patchy and childcare extremely expensive, but it's important to point out that having one parent who is a teacher doesn't help.

gordyslovesheep Thu 13-Mar-14 22:47:00

which is great Nokids if you have spaces

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