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To think that people who say that school is not childcare are being disingenuous

(182 Posts)
Notcontent Fri 05-Jun-20 12:17:55

There have been so many threads started by people struggling to work while schools are closed, and invariably there are posters who bang on about how “school is not childcare” etc and people just need to suck it up... there was another one today - about holiday clubs - with someone saying that “holiday clubs are a privilege”!

That makes me so mad. The reality is that children (and actually teenagers too) need care and structure and can’t just be left for days and weeks on end to fend for themselves. In historical times, before we had schools, before most people worked outside the home, young children were looked after at home by extended families and later often worked alongside their parents. Current social structure - where most mend and women work outside the home (and need to do so to support themselves) - relies on schools playing a part.

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Wolfiefan Fri 05-Jun-20 12:21:45

But schools are meant to educate children. The jobs of teachers actually isn’t to babysit. Parents need to sort their own childcare. It’s bloody hard when you have young kids but it’s not up to teachers and schools to solve this.

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Fri 05-Jun-20 12:22:00

We, as a society, expect both parent to work therefore have to accept that school is a form of childcare. It frees up parents' time to be able to do that work.

If school is not childcare we need to return to a way of life that allows one parent to stay at home.

Puddlejuice Fri 05-Jun-20 12:22:10

Of course it's disingenuous.
Most families plan their work / finances / childcare around their children starting school at somewhere between 3 and 5 years old. Whilst the primary function of school is to educate it also provides a safe environment for set hours, hence it fulfills a childcare function.
People suggesting otherwise are just being quarrelsome IMO.

Greysparkles Fri 05-Jun-20 12:22:44

Yip, those posters are being goady twats tbh.

Teachers with their own school age children would probably agree that school does play a large part in childcare.

Nicknacky Fri 05-Jun-20 12:23:55

School might not be childcare but we have the expectation that at least between 9-3 parents don’t need to worry about finding childcare to fill those hours and gear work/childcare requirements around that.

I don’t understand why posters have to be sneery saying it isn’t childcare.

Waxonwaxoff0 Fri 05-Jun-20 12:24:17

Yes it is. And the whole "one parent can stay at home" thing gets on my nerves too cos many of us are single parents.

Stannisbaratheonsboxofmatches Fri 05-Jun-20 12:25:22

Well, it’s not “just” childcare - the main purpose is education- but in a literal sense they do care for children! So in effect it is. And of course parents plan their lives around having children in school.

Stuckforthefourthtime Fri 05-Jun-20 12:30:24

Totally agree. It seems like a weird MN thing though? Most people I know in daily life would acknowledge that the current system of work, childcare and benefits is structured around children age 5+ being in school on weekdays between 9-3.30, for most of the year, and children aged 3+ having some degree of free care - and that if that changes, we need to massively restructure the way individual families work and plan finances, the way that the government provides benefits and more.

Sindragosan Fri 05-Jun-20 12:30:37

So exactly what is wraparound care (not that you can get that either hmm ) supposed to wrap around?

Yes, school is there for formal education, but that's not going on at the minute either.

Not everyone can work from home

Not all jobs outside the home are designated as key workers

Some schools would only take children with two key worker parents

Not everyone can survive on one wage, and the furlough scheme doesn't cover everyone.

This has left a lot of people frustrated and concerned, its not fair that individuals are getting bashed for it, but this whole thing has been a badly handled mess.

Notcontent Fri 05-Jun-20 12:31:46

Wolfiefan - but there isn’t in existence a structure in place which offers appropriate “childcare”. If you are very wealthy, then yes, you could employ someone in a “governess” role - to keep an eye on your children, make sure they do some school work, etc. But for most people that’s not an option obviously!!! And to be honest a childminder (even if affordable) is not really appropriate for older children - not for the whole day.

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BrieAndChilli Fri 05-Jun-20 12:37:59

@Wolfiefan I think there would be a lot of people on here who would love you forever if you could point them in the direction of childcare for children age between 5-11 between the hours of 9-3 everyday? I’m pretty sure it doesn’t exist. Even holiday camps are not running at the moment. A few people might get lucky and find the odd childminder who will take older kids but there definitely is not enough childcare for this Age group who’s parents work!!

rottiemum88 Fri 05-Jun-20 12:39:24

The jobs of teachers actually isn’t to babysit. Parents need to sort their own childcare. It’s bloody hard when you have young kids but it’s not up to teachers and schools to solve this.

What rubbish. How can parents sort their own childcare for a situation no one could ever pre plan for? For the average family sending their child/ren to school, they do so with the expectation that school will continue to be there, during school hours, apart from set holidays which they need to find cover for. The only alternative would be for every family with school aged children to have one parent who stays in the home until they reach adulthood. Is that remotely feasible for most families? No.

DomDoesWotHeWants Fri 05-Jun-20 12:40:26

I think it's sometimes said to differentiate schools from breakfast clubs, or after school clubs.

Some places have these wrap around care takers on the school premises but they are separate from the school. Quite often they are run by commercial organisations and are often independent of the school.

The school's job (in non Covid times) is to educate not caretake.

SachaStark Fri 05-Jun-20 12:40:45

I think everybody can acknowledge that school is a convenient structure that means that their children are safe and occupied by people other than their parents for 6-7 hours a day, 39 weeks per year.

However, it is not, by definition, childcare. And from an educators’ perspective, I think it sometimes feels disingenuous to refer to what we do as childcare: that is not the profession for which we are trained.

In some rare cases, I have also perceived the use of the term “childcare” when referring to schools as very illuminating in terms of how much the parent respects the (free) education which their child receives in this country.

That’s probably what a lot of posters mean when they say, “It’s not childcare”, OP. Meaning, it literally ISN’T, and to refer to it as such may be reductive and depreciate the value of your debates.

BrieAndChilli Fri 05-Jun-20 12:46:15

But the childcare issue ONLY comes up when school is unable to open. No-one is calling it childcare as a norm, it’s just when a school closes for a fire or illness or Covid that people have to find alternative childcare.
School is education but I think we can all agree that while children are attending school (which is mandatory and you will be fined if they don’t attend) they are being cared for. Someone at that school is looking out for thier well-being and is being trusted to make sure they don’t kill themselves or run away!

Notcontent Fri 05-Jun-20 12:50:21

Ok - so let’s scrap the use of the word “childcare” in this debate. Let’s use “education, supervision and pastoral care”. I think most of us would agree that all children, including older children and young teens, need “education, supervision and pastoral care”.

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EmeraldShamrock Fri 05-Jun-20 12:55:52

Yanbu OP. It may not say it on the box but it is educational childcare they're responsible for DC 5 to 6 hour's a day, many parents depend on it.

museumum Fri 05-Jun-20 13:01:56

My child’s football coaching “isn’t childcare” either but as they take children and send the parents away it functions essentially as childcare (allowing me to work after 3pm).

I think anyone who takes Unaccompanied children For an activity (be that formal education or otherwise) without Their parents staying on the premises Needs to accept that the parents will use that time to see to other life commitments such as earning money.

GrassyArea Fri 05-Jun-20 13:09:06

YANBU. I absolutely agree, it's absurd semantics. The point is that you plan your work and life when children are in someone else's safe hands. Childcare, education, school, holiday club, whatever. Some people seem to think you should have a back up plan at all times. hmm

Stuckforthefourthtime Fri 05-Jun-20 13:10:20

@SachaStark but that's never the point of what people are saying. Of course the key goal of school is not childcare. What inevitably happens is something like:
OP: I'm a single mum without any involvement from my childrens' abusive dad and might have to quit my minimum wage caring job as my children's school is closed / is operating part time / (or pre-covid, doesn't have any space in wraparound care / closes every time a wisp of snow comes down and requires all parents to join school trips every term etc)
At least one smug, unhelpful poster: school isn't childcare, you know!! Why don't you pay for a nanny? Or how about WFH and getting a cleaner? Why doesn't their father care for them?

welcometohell Fri 05-Jun-20 13:13:13

But the childcare issue ONLY comes up when school is unable to open. No-one is calling it childcare as a norm, it’s just when a school closes for a fire or illness or Covid

If only this were true. I work in a school. You would be surprised how often we have parents refusing to collect unwell children due to work commitments, or who feel justified in sending very obviously unwell children into school for the same reason. Last year we had parents who insisted on dropping off their son at 7.30am every day and leaving him at the gate. When told this wasn't acceptable their response was "why not? we know there are staff in school as there are always cars there". They thought we were completely unreasonable for saying that staff who choose to come in before school officially opens to catch up on admin would not be responsible for supervising their son. It didn't occur to them that many of those staff were only able to come in at that time as they pay for wraparound care for their own DC!

tilder Fri 05-Jun-20 13:23:07

It's part of the 'don't bash teachers' narrative on lots of threads.

School is not childcare as such. It is there for education. It does have a side benefit of meaning children are cared for, freeing the primary carer(s) for other activities. Such as working.

My perspective is the comment is made partly because some are offended at the implication that they are providing childcare instead of education. Not sure why, both are valuable and needed. I do understand if you expect to do one, finding yourself in the position of providing the other maybe odd.

The other reason seems to be part of the 'parents are lazy and can't wait to get rid of their kids' approach taken by some posters. Which is seriously rude.

Wolfiefan Fri 05-Jun-20 13:24:15

Of course you should have a back up plan. Snow days, sick days, holidays, kids excluded etc etc.
Some parents truly do think schools only exist for their child and their convenience.
We had a very sick child. No school then. We did have to work and provide wraparound care. We had our kids. They are our responsibility. But it’s not up to the school. We pay or do it ourselves.
And I get it’s stressful. To start with both me and DH were working and DS went to primary school two hours a day. Bloody logistical nightmare. But that was up to us to solve. Our responsibility.

Foobydoo Fri 05-Jun-20 13:31:02

Ask a parent of a child with SEN that question, particularly those with children in mainstream schools.
Many have to give up work as they are repeatedly asked to come and pick children who are 'struggling' up from school.
And yes in theory school should accommodate full time but in reality they can't or the child cannot cope with that.
Those parents get told 'school is not childcare'
I have seen it thousands of times.

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