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Central London after school and holiday childcare

(30 Posts)
CurtlyAmbrose Wed 29-Nov-17 14:43:42

What are some good after school and holiday childcare options in Central London? and how much do they cost? My almost 3 year old son is currently in a full time nursery (7:30am to 6:30pm). Other than a full time nanny or one of us working part-time, what options do we have to continue with this kind of coverage? It all looks very expensive and very stressful!

About us:
- Based in Central London (St. John's Wood)
- Will most likely be going to a private school with after school clubs only until 5ish which would be too early for either of us
- Keen on stability, would rather pay more to have the same arrangement for a few years if that is possible
- Cover in the afternoon essential, morning too would be great

hiyasminitsme Wed 29-Nov-17 16:52:55

Nanny or one of you works part time, assuming you want some continuity.

CurtlyAmbrose Wed 29-Nov-17 17:00:36

@hiyasminitsme thanks, could you expand on the continuity issues of the alternatives? part-time work wouldn't be possible and a nanny is very expensive

hiyasminitsme Wed 29-Nov-17 17:06:17

Childminders don't tend to pick up from private schools and there aren't really any other alternatives. Actually that's not true - if you have space, an au pair would be cheaper.

Fekko Wed 29-Nov-17 17:11:17

Can you both flexitime the jobs - so one does drop off and the other pick up? Maybe you can find a nanny share at the school.

Lots of the mums I know have part time childcare - ether drop off and pick up or they drop the child off in the morning and the nanny collects them after school, feeds them, sits shotgun over the homework and gets dinner started.

With holidays there are sports clubs but they tend to be 10-4. I would seriously consider part time at least until he is a little older.

Fekko Wed 29-Nov-17 17:13:38

Continuity is important for the child (children need routine and certainty) and also busy parents. It's a nightmare keeping on top of term dates, parents evening, recitals, parties, playfates etc without fading about with changes to schedules (not every child carer will be able to do the same times so you might need to wiggle schedules).

RicStar Wed 29-Nov-17 17:14:39

Childminders do pick up from some private schools - although may be not the one you are interested in or after clubs - probably at normal pick up time. 5pm seems early for after school club to close - is that definately correct. If so au pair or nanny. Or state school with a decent after school club. You could ask about arrangements when you visit school/s they may be aware of some.

Backingvocals Wed 29-Nov-17 17:15:35

I am in this spot (Marble Arch) although also single parent so double the challenge. There are few childminder options in this area. I had a ft nanny for nine years and have really struggled to find a part time solution now both children are in FT school. My only solutions is to throw money at it and even then it’s not that stable. I still spend £1k per month just for after school care.

Jigglytuff Wed 29-Nov-17 17:26:17

If you can afford to live in St Johns Wood and pay private school fees, you can afford a nanny.

Fekko Wed 29-Nov-17 17:26:52

In a private school after school clubs tend to finish 1-1.5 hours after school, so a small child will be finishing around 4-4.30 if they stay of for a club. That's my experience anyway - it's not really wraparound care as you are assumed to be not working or have access to nannies/apiaries/maids etc,

CurtlyAmbrose Wed 29-Nov-17 17:31:05

Interesting, why would a childminder not pick up from a private school? Au-pair might be an option, although I'm told they won't stay for more than a year?

Backingvocals Wed 29-Nov-17 17:33:42

DCs go to a state school but clubs finish at 4.45 and are cancelled for all sorts of reasons anyway so imho it’s not really reliable childcare.

Snap8TheCat Wed 29-Nov-17 17:35:14

Can tend to have their own children to collect and mindees from the same school- a cm is unlikely (not impossible) to have children at a private school.

Also our local private school dismisses classes at different times over a 45 minute period which isn’t convenient for a cm to hang around for different children.

Private schools tend to finish later when the cm needs to be at home to feed children and be home for collections.

Fekko Wed 29-Nov-17 17:35:29

I've not heard of anyone not picking a child up from school.

I think that au pairs can only stay for a certain length of time. My old boss used to have them but they seemed to be more troublesome than they were worth (mopey homesick teenage girls, not really able to help put around the house, leaving the child alone whilst zipping around London!) or her child would get very attached then they would leave and she would be very upset.

CurtlyAmbrose Wed 29-Nov-17 17:37:55

@fekko unfortunately part-time isn't an option, 6pm would be the earliest pick up, ideally 6:30pm (we normally pickup at about 6:05pm)

@RicStar pick-up time was around 5ish as they said children would be too tired to stay any longer

Fekko Wed 29-Nov-17 17:41:26

Can one of you do drop off? Holidays will be rough because even school camps are short days. So you have room for live in help?

RicStar Wed 29-Nov-17 18:04:15

I really think you will need to consider an after school nanny - as central London you should find some one. If you / your dp could do one pick up a week - then that is only 3 days cost - but might find better choice of people if you want more hours. It is a juggle - they are tired. Once you are in the school community you might find a nanny share / someone to share costs with. (Although it does sound the type of school where sahm or nannies are common).

hiyasminitsme Wed 29-Nov-17 20:12:53

If you want continuity over a number of years then you are going to have to bite the financial bullet and hire a nanny. In SJW you're looking at paying at least £15 per hour gross, maybe more. That's just the way it is. An au pair would work but will only stay a year usually. There isn't some mythical after school club that goes until after 6pm and in any case a child that age would be too tired for it anyway. If it's a school that has a nursery then there's a slim chance you could get one of the staff to take him home, but you're still stuck for holidays and many schools forbid this. As has been said, you're obviously wealthy - unfortunately this is just another expense of childcare.

Fekko Wed 29-Nov-17 20:36:31

Not everyone in sjw is knocking back the caviar amd lobster you know! There are small flats and large estates there too. They might even live next to riff raf like the fekko...

hiyasminitsme Wed 29-Nov-17 20:59:56

No, I understand that, but the schools in SJW are particularly expensive - around £6k per term - there are many cheaper than that, so if the child is going to a private school in SJW then money isn't likely to be a huge issue.

Fekko Wed 29-Nov-17 22:58:19

Well yes not in alll of instances but once the school fees and rent/mortgage are paid not everyone can cough up another grand or so a month on top for childcare (assuming they don't have space for a live in nanny).

hiyasminitsme Thu 30-Nov-17 12:03:21

True. OP's post though more gives the impression that they can afford it but would rather a lower cost solution that is convenient and gives continuity - I was just making the point that this doens't exist.

AudacityJones Thu 30-Nov-17 12:10:28

Struggling with similar choices - would like to put DC in NW London private school but all the private schools seem to just assume that one parent (mum) is staying at home and available for various things / pickups etc. State schools near us aren’t great (the non-religious ones). Could afford state school + nanny I suppose, or private school but feeling frustrated that solution then is for me to dramatically curtail my career in order to facilitate it. DH cutting back not feasible - his city job is what allows us to afford it in the first place.

Wondering how others manage. And anytime I ask on here I obviously get lectured on how I should completely change my lifestyle and expectations one way or another - so wondering if it really is just impossible.

hiyasminitsme Thu 30-Nov-17 12:45:03

FWIW I know several girls at Habs - most of the parents work and do the juggling act and there isn't an expectation of a stay at home parent. I have cut back my career drastically and really come to the conclusion that with the cost of childcare, two full time working parents is not viable with school age children unless you earn a huge amount and can afford a nanny.

Backingvocals Thu 30-Nov-17 15:22:40

Don’t cut back on your hours - but accept that as a family you will not be in financial surplus until the children no longer need childcare. It is very expensive - as I said I still spend £1k pm and DCs are 11 and 8. I have another three years at least of this.

This is not your cost - it is your family’s cost. If you have a full on full time job you need utterly reliable childcare and imho after school clubs are not that. And as someone else said, holidays are flipping awful. Firstly there are loads of them and secondly lots of the holiday clubs run from eg, 10.30 till 3. And they are not in your usual place so all your routines are shot to pieces.

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