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to resign myself to the fact that there's no way I can do this degree due to lack of childcare?

(134 Posts)
MrsHuxtableReturns Thu 30-Apr-15 14:55:17

I'm desperately trying to think of ways to make this work.

I want to do a nursing degree in a couple of years time but I might well be a single parent by then.

DC will be 3 and 5 and in nursery (9-12) and school (9-3) respectively.

The degree has pretty random blocks of uni (mostly 9-3) and placements (whatever shifts the mentor works I believe is the norm).

So I'd need somebody to take over the school run in the mornings on the days that I can't do it and somebody to pick up from school and nursery. During uni blocks I should be home by 4 the latest. The placements are a big unknown. And of course I won't need the same childcare hours on the same days each week (well, during uni blocks I will but not during placements) which makes it all a rather shitty job for a childminder.

Plus I won't have the financial resources to pay for something like a nanny as I'll just have the NHS bursary and ctc.

I'm getting really down about it but there's no way forward with this, is there?

juneau Thu 30-Apr-15 15:04:12

So you think that generally you'll just need an hour or so before and after school care? Lots of working parents need this OP and many CMs are geared up to provide it. Many schools and some nurseries also provide before/after school care, for a fairly nominal fee. I would ring around a few local CMs and see what they say. Do you know anyone with DC at the schools you hope to send your DC to? If so, can you pick their brains about before/after school clubs? Hopefully you'll discover that your plan is eminently doable.

madwomanbackintheattic Thu 30-Apr-15 15:04:22

I had dd in nursery ft, and the other two went to an after school club and a child minder (all three were in different settings). But yeah, it's all based on having the money to pay for it.

It's why I get a little tetchy with all the folk who are trilling on about their right to education to make a better life for themselves and their children, instead of working, blah blah blah, when that right to education is firmly ensconced in their ability to pay for the lifestyle. It's not a level playing field, and it's not based on your desire to create a better life, or your determination to succeed, or your teach ability or intellect. It's based on your ability to pay for it.

A lot can change in three years though - check out the benefits you might be entitled to, find out of the setting have any financial counselling available to give you some pointers etc. hopefully there will be a way to make it work.

Good luck!

Quitelikely Thu 30-Apr-15 15:05:44

Of course you can find childcare! As a single parent at uni the government gives you a whopping grant to pay for it all!

Go for it smile

OnIlkleyMoorBahTwat Thu 30-Apr-15 15:09:33

Not wanting to piss on your chips OP, but if you do go for it, have you thought about how you will cope with shifts and childcare as a single parent in the future when you qualify?

Or are there affordable overnight/weekend childcare options available to hospital shift workers? If so, could you access these as a student?

MrsHuxtableReturns Thu 30-Apr-15 15:18:41

No, it's not just an hour before and an hour after school.

For DC1 I need an hour before and an hour after school during uni blocks and during term time. For DC2 I need an hour before nursery and 4 hours after nursery during uni blocks and term time.

During placements I need God knows what.

And then there are the school holidays when school and nursery are closed. That's what? 13 weeks of the year.

Our school doesn't have an after school club.

And there are less than 10 childminders. The private nurseries aren't flexible in terms of shifts.

Nope. No government grant for childcare I'm afraid. I'm in Scotland so the NHS childcare grant is a whooping £120 a month. Which obviously doesn't get me anywhere.

Once qualified I'd still have the shift problem as in needing to find a reasonably flexible childminder but I would then qualify for what is now the childcare element of WTC so that helps a lot.

Weekends and nights would be covered by husband.

MrsHuxtableReturns Thu 30-Apr-15 15:20:52

I have already been picking all my local friends' brains which is why I'm so down about it. The next primary school along has an after school club but that costs £4/hr per child so not any cheaper than a childminder.

lalalonglegs Thu 30-Apr-15 15:23:40

Are you able to negotiate with your husband (if the split is mutual and amicable) to come to some shared childcare arrangements for the duration of the degree? Do you have space for an au pair who could pick up the toddler, entertain him for a couple of hours before school pick up and then Dad takes over? Much cheaper than a nanny although you would have to be careful with the hours you set.

Or is it worth waiting until both children are in school - which should be one more year? Can your place be deferred?

PrawnToast12 Thu 30-Apr-15 15:26:34

I'm going to uni in october. Grants pay for my child to be in nursery full time,8am -6pm including holidays. Find another nursery that is open all year round and has earlier starts, then you only have to worry about your eldest.

PrawnToast12 Thu 30-Apr-15 15:27:44

They pay 85% meaning that i pay £43 a week for my one year old and two year old to be in full time.

MrsHuxtableReturns Thu 30-Apr-15 15:30:07

My husband has already said that if I do want to split he won't help me out. He might also be working further away by then so will only do weekends or over nights.

I thought an au pair would a one solution I could possibly financially stretch to but as far as I understand it would be too many hours of sole charge.

Waiting til both kids are in school is not an option. That would only be in 4 years time. DC will only start school at 5.5 and DC2 is only just over 1.

It's just about the money isn't it? If I could pay a childminder for two spaces whether I'm using them on certain days or not would solve many issues.

MrsHuxtableReturns Thu 30-Apr-15 15:31:00

Prawn that grant does not apply to Scottish NHS students.

MrsHuxtableReturns Thu 30-Apr-15 15:34:27

If I could convince my husband to work with me, what could such an arrangement look like?

Of course I could stay in the marriage and use the whole NHS grant to pay for childcare but that would mean another 5 miserable years and I'm not sure that's worth it. Or healthy.

NerrSnerr Thu 30-Apr-15 15:35:17

I'm not sure about courses in Scotland but could you consider another helping profession? Speech therapy, podiatry etc. The placements for those courses would be more 9-5 so easier for childcare.

misselphaba Thu 30-Apr-15 15:38:12

I think unless you have good family support who are willing to provide childcare or a very supportive ex (oxymoron maybe), it is very difficult to manage ward based shift nursing as a lone parent, which you will certainly need to do during the course. Once you qualifiy, there's the possibility of doing all short days if you're lucky (usually finishing around 3pm) or more 9ish-5ish shifts in outpatients or community.

I gave up on returning to studying nursing once I became a single parent. Instead, I'm pursuing a career as a allied healthcare professional which tend to have more family friendly hours eg occupational therapy and speech and language therapy.

MrsHuxtableReturns Thu 30-Apr-15 15:46:04

No family support at all, I'm not from the UK and not a native speaker so I'm not sure about speech therapy (not that I know anything about it).

How co-operative would my possibly ex have to be? In my ideal dream world (haha), he'd stay at his current work place and move not far away so he could help with pick ups etc. His current job would be flexible enough to allow that (he's an academic) but it's all a bit up in the air at the moment.

Of course if we split up within the next year, he'd have a year to calm down, stop hating me and maybe then he'd be mature enough to act in his children's interest by the time the degree would start.

TiedUpWithString Thu 30-Apr-15 15:47:12

An au pair plus or mothers help can provide more hours than a normal au pair can do, so thats worth considering.

Have you joined a local FB page and explained your needs and see if there is anyone who knows of other help channels? Maybe you could also discuss the issue with the school? They might know of other channels.

MrsHuxtableReturns Thu 30-Apr-15 15:48:00

My friend is an occupational therapist. She's been looking for a new job for 2 years now an there really don't seem to be a lot around here. I'd have to train in something that actually has prospects.

HagOtheNorth Thu 30-Apr-15 15:54:24

I hate to be the bucket of cold water, but why right now?
There are a lot of people retraining to be teachers (that's the bit I know about) in their 40s and later, could you not wait until much later to train?
Put it on hold until your children are older, your relationship is resolved and stabalised in whatever form and you aren't trying to juggle quite so many things at once?

Shesparkles Thu 30-Apr-15 15:54:31

I don't mean to be insensitive but why the rush? If there's the potential that you're not going to be with your DH for too much longer, wouldn't it be better to out off training for a couple of years, and keep your children as settled as possible during that upheaval? I don't think it seems fair to your children to split with their father, amd at the same time, or very soon after, take on a course of study which means they will potentially be all over the place being looked after.
I'm sure you're probably thinking of the long term good that this training will bring, but you need to think of your children's welfare in the short term too

MrsHuxtableReturns Thu 30-Apr-15 15:54:44

I'm on all our local fb pages. But our town is not very big so I actually see all the mums that are on said pages personally. So these brains are picked. I also see the childminders. They all meet up every week at an activity that I also take my DC to. I could approach them there or maybe speak to one I see at nursery and maybe she knows who offers what. But to be honest, 70% of them you wouldn't want to leave your children with. There are a few wonderful ones, you couldn't tell from the way they interact with the children that they aren't their own but the majority... it's not good. Sometimes I wish I didn't know what I know.

MrsHuxtableReturns Thu 30-Apr-15 16:00:12

Yeah, but what exactly will I live off if I leave training much longer? If I do it within the next 5 years I'll be fine financially and ready to start work properly when DC2 is in school. I'll be in my late 30s by then.

I'm actually hoping to build some sort of life for myself and the children. That won't happen if I leave this much longer. Changes to benefits, the need for me to pay into a proper pension etc, it's not wise to leave this til my 40s...

lalalonglegs Thu 30-Apr-15 16:02:55

Apologies - I read that your children are 3 and 5, not that they would be when you started your course. Does the university offer any childcare? The only other way I think you can do it is au pair and a large student loan (if such thing is possible in Scotland).

HagOtheNorth Thu 30-Apr-15 16:08:22

'I'm getting really down about it but there's no way forward with this, is there?'

Not at the moment, I think.
Not if you are going to put your children's needs first and not have them handed from pillar to post like lost luggage, in sickness and in health.
If you can get consistent care for them organised, then go for it, but you are in your very early thirties and to me, that seems like you have a lot of work life ahead of you.
But the decision is entirely yours. Would your husband be prepared to be the resident parent, and they live with him?

Duckdeamon Thu 30-Apr-15 16:08:45

You could have a really good look at job options and requirements in your area (or somewhere you'd consider moving to) and then decide what if any qualification to investigate?

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