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Am I likely to find childcare like this?

(24 Posts)
Lougle Mon 08-Oct-12 16:19:24

I am a nurse, who would like to go back to work. I have a place on a return to practice course, starting in January. I need to do placement hours in a hospital, and need to be completely flexible with these, so either morning/afternoon/night shifts.

I have 3 children: DD1 is almost 7, but has SN and goes to Special School. She will need to be put on the school bus outside our house at 8.20.

DD2 is 5, and goes to the local Mainstream school, around 15 minutes walk (at child pace) or 2 minutes drive, which starts at 08.50.

DD3 is 3½, goes to the local Montessori, around 3 minutes walk, or 2 minutes drive (we live across the green from it, so the walking route is shorter than the driving route).

DH works split shifts, so has to leave the house at 06.45 each morning, returns at 09.30, leaves again at 15.00 and returns at 18.30.

So, I would need to have childcare that covers the following:

*Morning & Night shifts*:
Drop off at childminder at 06.45. Childminder brings children to our driveway for 08.20, puts DD1 on the bus, then continues to the infant school, then Montessori.

Morning & Late shifts:
Picks up from Montessori at 3pm, Infant school at 3.10, then back to the driveway to pick up DD1 at 3.30, before going home. I could then either pick up at 4pm (morning shifts), or DH at 6.30pm (late shifts).

I would initially only be doing 1 shift per week, or perhaps 2, but the shift could be any combination of Morning/Late/Night.

After I get my PIN back, I would work full-time, on a fully rotating 5/7 pattern. So, the childminder could be needed to do as many as 5 sessions per week, or as few as 3.

Do you think anyone would want to take this on, or am I kidding myself? I can't afford a Nanny, as I won't be earning initially, and then only earning £20k after that. DD1 can be a bit of a tricky fish. I can't use an Au-pair, as DD1 would need an experienced childcarer.

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Mon 08-Oct-12 16:22:24

Gosh, tricky.

Does the school have to pick up and drop off outside your house, or would they consider doing outside a child minder's? That would make a big difference to the childminder I should imagine.

MoaningMingeWhingesAgain Mon 08-Oct-12 16:22:50

I could only see an aupair, mother's help or nanny covering those hours really Lougle. That's exactly why I'm not working at the moment as well, also a nurse with DH on shiftwork sad

Got a PIN at the moment but not sure whether to try to get some bank/agency shifts or let it lapse. It's so difficult to juggle shifts with children, isn't it.

NickNacks Mon 08-Oct-12 16:25:13

As I childminder I couldn't do it. I need to be at home getting my own dc ready and be there to welcome other mindees for the day.

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Mon 08-Oct-12 16:27:19

There are a few childminders round by me who have a number of children arrive at their house, do a school run to one/two schools in a mini bus and then reverse in the afternoon. The ones I am thinking of also have an extra staff member at those peak times. It's the school bus at your house that's so difficult I think.

Lougle Mon 08-Oct-12 16:30:22

The transport is non-negotiable. It's County Transport for special schools, and the rules are explicit - she can only be dropped/picked up from her home address.

As it's enroute to the school, I thought it might work.

The nursing thing is a complete fiasco, Moaning. I couldn't get any agency work because I didn't have recent nursing experience (I last nursed 5 years ago, so not masses). I also couldn't get any care assistant work because I hadn't done ward work for 5 years. I had no choice but to let my PIN lapse.

Now, I've secured a RTP course (£951 + 150 hours on a ward free of charge!) but childcare seems impossible.

I am eligible for tax credits towards childcare, but the child care has to be 'approved'. An aupair, mother's help or nanny won't count sad

MoaningMingeWhingesAgain Mon 08-Oct-12 16:38:56

I only stopped practising last year but can't see how to get back into it, because everywhere expects you to be 'fully flexible'. Who the fuck can be fully flexible with children and a DP who doesn't work 9-5?

And my children don't have additional needs - it must be really difficult for you.

DH is eligible to retire in about 6 yrs so hopefully I will be back into it more then and he can work around me. grin In theory. But between now and then, I don't know.

Everytime I think about just doing NH shifts or something, one of the children is ill or DH has to change shifts and I just think it's bloody impossible.

MarjorieAntrobus Mon 08-Oct-12 16:55:35

Sounds difficult, especially regarding the "approved" childcare.

Could you afford to make it a mother's help role? Advertise in local paper etc. There might be someone who would take on an unpredictable role like this.

There are so few jobs out there. Only half a dozen in my local paper this week.

I'm not saying that you should take anybody, of course not, but I think there are sensible flexible people out there looking for work.

nannynick Mon 08-Oct-12 17:32:06

Sounds like its going to be very hard to me. Thinking outside the box a bit - would it perhaps suit a granny type figure living in your street? Legaly they could be a nanny but may be happy with pay only for hours worked.
What would happen if a child was ill, school closed, school holidays? Those woud need covering by you, DH or someone else.
Would DD1 want to be in group care - could she cope with that before and after school?

The rotating shift sounds unparent friendly to me. Does the NHSTrust or whomever is the employer not have to give consideration to how the job can be adapted for parents?

MarjorieAntrobus Mon 08-Oct-12 17:36:04

Yes, I was thinking of granny type figure, nannynick.

nannynick Mon 08-Oct-12 17:36:41

If you are in England or Scotland (i'm not sure about Wales) a nanny (aupair, mothershelp - these are a subtype of nanny as far as tax credits is concerned) can be an 'approved' form of care, if the nanny meets the registration requirements (in Scotland you need to use a registered agency).

MoaningMingeWhingesAgain Mon 08-Oct-12 17:37:11

They do in theory nannynick, in practice they consider it and decide that there can be no changes. sad

Basically, to work shifts you need a DP who works 9-5 and can do the drop offs/collections from CM/nursery plus healthy family nearby who can look after your children whenever it goes wrong. And the moon on a stick.

nannynick Mon 08-Oct-12 17:42:54

Thought as much. In my view that is what needs to change in this country - experienced workers can't get the jobs due to the working hours.

MiTran1986 Mon 08-Oct-12 18:30:21

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Mon 08-Oct-12 18:43:48

Sigh. The more I learn on MN about 'provision' for children with SN, the more I despair. I can see they can't chop and change but, you know, it would be nice of them to recognise that some parents of children with special needs would want to work.

Page 3 of this HMRC leaflet says "Some providers, such as nannies who provide care in the child’s own home, don’t need to register on the EYR or the compulsory part of the GCR. If you use this type of provider and you want to get help with your childcare costs, your provider must register on the voluntary part of the GCR." So it sounds like a nanny might be possible, as per what NannyNick has already said. Maybe a nanny who has their own pre-school child would be interested? The would have a busy morning and evening, but then the middle of the day to spend with their own child/children? How long is the retraining period - long enough to be worth a nanny doing it? Or the 'granny' idea is good. This is the sort of thing my MIL would have liked to do (although she now does respite care)

Channelling Xenia for a moment, have you considered your DH changing his hours for a while to allow you to retrain. Is there any mileage in a flexible working request by him? Dredging savings/borrowing from family to get you through? I know none of this might be possible, but I am surprised how often people haven't considered their other half changing, so I'll just throw it out there. Feel free to tell me to sod off on that bit smile

Will your youngest go to the same school as your second come September? That might make it a bit easier to find a childminder?

MarjorieAntrobus Mon 08-Oct-12 18:45:09

Do you know the OP is in W10, Mi Tran?

Maybe withdraw your phone number from this public forum.

Send her a pm if it's appropriate.


MrAnchovy Mon 08-Oct-12 18:50:10

You can spend the Childcare element of Working Tax Credit on an Ofsted registered nanny, but I am afraid that unless you could commit to fixed hours each week I can't really see it being attractive to anyone at all, and even then with the split shifts including the early start I wouldn't imagine it would appeal to anyone in the long term.

Au pairs work these kind of hours for around £65-80 a week but you would need to give them room and board, it wouldn't qualify for WTC and depending on exactly your DD1's needs may be difficult to find with appropriate experience/attitude (but not impossible: many graduates from Spain for example in teaching/caring professions have no prospect of a job in their profession and are filling in with au pairing in the UK).

Lougle Mon 08-Oct-12 19:20:53

Thank you all for your suggestions smile

Mi Tran - very kind of you, but I think the 70-80 mile commute may make the job uneconomical for you.

We have considered DH changing his job. He's reluctantly willing, if that makes sense (desperately doesn't want to, but sees it as one of the only viable options). He can't change his working hours, despite his job being a low-paid role, because of the nature of it. He's also not massively equipped with transferable skills to change job.

I had kind of thought that if I was able to convince someone to do it, then the 'draw' of the job would be that on some days in the week they weren't needed at all, but would still be paid, because they had been booked?

Nannynick, it is as unfriendly as it comes. Even the Return to Practice Course, which I have to pay for, states that all candidates must be able to commit to shifts on a fully flexible basis, even though they only have to actually do 150 hours.

finefatmama Sat 13-Oct-12 11:26:48

we are in a similar position and are still trying to work out what's optimal. dh works 9-5 but unless he works at or right beside one of the schools, he would perpetually be late for work. When he was part time and worked 9.30-2.30, we barely made it in time for registration at one of the schools and still got warning letters from the school.

We currently use an au pair, a childminder, an after school club, a babysitter and the special needs school bus. I really hate the arrangement and feel that life would be so much easier if the school bus was allowed drop dc1 at the after school club. Au pair is not too confident with handling and autistic child so we get a babysitter from his school for two days a week to support her.

Dc2 gets picked up and taken to school by a childminder with no afterschool places and he gets dropped of by an afterschool club which doesn't have a breakfast club. We're happy with the afterschool setting because they are happy to take both boys during the holidays.

We haven't been able to find a morning and evening nanny who happy to be unpaid during school hours. We cannot find any childminders willing to take a severely autistic child and there's only one after school club but the council have insisted on school runs from home.

I'm thinking of writing to the council, my MP and director of children's services to try to make a case for a different route at this rate.

Blondeshavemorefun Sat 13-Oct-12 11:39:16

what do they mean by approved childcare? can a nanny who is ofsted reg be approved?

tbh i would suggest a nanny or older granny type

some companies really dont want to help out mothers to return to work do they hmm angry

MrAnchovy Sat 13-Oct-12 12:27:33

"what do they mean by approved childcare"

It's a term from the Tax Credit legislation, it simply means registered with Ofsted/CSSIW/SCSWIS/HSS Trust as appropriate. Nannies ("home childcarers" in the legislation) can of course be registered although the procedure is different in each country.

Lougle Sat 13-Oct-12 18:37:49

A nanny who is on the voluntary pat of the register would be fine. Unfortunately we live in rural Hampshire, so nannies are few and far between -registered ones even more so.

ebennet Mon 15-Oct-12 14:34:28

Might be a shot in the dark, but have you tried posting a job on any of the online nanny/babysitter sites? Most of them will let you post a job for free, so you could set out what it is you're looking for and see who's interested? I returned to work a few months ago and we found our nanny through, but you could also try or I'm sure there are other similar sites. Good luck! smile

oscarwilde Mon 15-Oct-12 15:23:19

I'd suggest that you advertise too. I've a friend who is a qualified primary teacher but the cost of childcare in London has made it uneconomic for her to return to work. She has a toddler and plans to go back when he starts school. She has advertised several times to work school runs and after school childminding but no takers so far. She's no use to you but a well worded and placed advert might prove rewarding. Local grannies / retirees are unlikely to be surfing gumtree/findababysitter though.

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