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Childminder reneged on contract?

(17 Posts)
Feebeela Wed 10-Dec-14 22:11:52

Hello,
I have a question about CM contracts and would love to hear your points of view.
I am returning to work in January and engaged a local childminder to collect my little boy from nursery on Monday and Tuesdays. I went to sign the contract in November but wasn't asked to pay a deposit (although it was discussed). I kept trying to reconnect so I could pay but my little boy was ill, the CM was ill she wasn't working on certain days etc. Finally, connected with her sister who said that she wouldn't take the deposit just in case she couldn't guarantee Monday and Tuesday(!) I got an email over the weekend saying that a mum with a child already at the CM needs Tuesday's place so she can't give it to me!
We met so I could give her the deposit and I asked for a copy of the contract which I signed 9.11.14 . It clearly shows that we originally signed on childcare for Monday and Tuesday but Tuesday was crossed out!
There are not very many CM in my local area and I feel like I am stuck with this. If I push too hard then she could tell me to find someone else which is almost impossible! Please let me know if there is anything I could do to make this right based on the contract I signed!
ARGH!!

LuckyLopez Wed 10-Dec-14 22:15:25

Well the contract hasnt commenced yet so nothing legally has been done wrong. What do you want her to do? Still have your child on the Monday?

Starlightbright1 Wed 10-Dec-14 22:17:59

Well not a lot you can do as she could give notice on a parent at any point . The reason why I take a deposit is that it gives me a month to replace any child who fails to start.

That said She should of said that place wasn't guaranteed

Feebeela Wed 10-Dec-14 22:35:48

I understand about the deposit covering a CM if a child doesn't start but if I sign a contract then surely I can expect what I sign to be guaranteed otherwise, what's the point? It's shoddy. I need Monday and Tuesday CC, I asked for this, I signed a contract and (eventually) paid a deposit. Surely a contract guarantees what I sign for.

HSMMaCM Wed 10-Dec-14 22:41:07

If an existing child takes the day though, then she might be over her legal numbers and simply not allowed to take your child, or won't have enough room in her car. She should have explained this was a possibility and she should have let you know immediately an existing parent asked for the day.

She can't be made to take your child if it would breach her conditions of registration, but should have kept up better communication with you.

lovelynannytobe Wed 10-Dec-14 23:01:23

There's really nothing you can do.

Feebeela Wed 10-Dec-14 23:06:30

Definitely should have kept up better communication! So, I have no come back whatsoever now I am left scrabbling around for Tuesday childcare despite signing a contract? I was so pleased with myself for sorting this out early now it seems I should've waited til the last minute then I would know what there really was a space. I'm struggling to understand what protection I have to guarantee CC. What if another child comes along and needs all day CC M-F which would be worth more than my 4 hours a week? Is my child's space still not confirmed. I'm sorry, I think it's shoddy.

FlorenceMattell Wed 10-Dec-14 23:33:31

You sound very angry about this childminder. Therefore it will not work with her caring for your child.
She may or may not have communicated badly; hard to tell from third thread.
You need to find another childminder or after school club.

HSMMaCM Thu 11-Dec-14 04:29:39

Are you sure it's not because of the unpaid deposit? I have in my terms and conditions that a space isn't held until the deposit is paid.

Karoleann Thu 11-Dec-14 07:01:35

How annoying.
I suspect the problem is that your pre-schooler will be taking up a full space on a Monday/Tuesday, but you'll only be paying for 2 hours. So from a business point of view she's much better off giving the space to someone who will pay for the full day. So yes, I think you would probably have the same problem wherever you go.

Saying that, she does sound a little unreliable anyway, so probably better to find someone else.

Could you do just after nursery on one of the days and then a full day the other day? That may make the proposal a bit more attractive to the childminder? Or find a nursery with longer hours? Or even ask one of the other mums to have your child for a couple of hours?
Our pre-school only runs 8.50-11.50/12.10-3.10. On a Thursday a group of 4 of us take it in turns to have one of the children in the morning when her mum is working.

Jinxxx Thu 11-Dec-14 07:09:31

So do I. My suspicion is that the CM has "given" the space to an existing child as she was not confident that you would pay. It seems there has been a breakdown of communication, but I think you will find you have broken the contract by failing to pay - no deposit means no booking. There are surely lots of ways to get money to someone these days, and failing to do so may have looked like prevarication on your part. I would look for another CM.

Blondeshavemorefun Thu 11-Dec-14 07:16:30

Why didn't you Pay the deposit when signed contract?

I'm se as a temp/night nanny and make it very clear to parents till
A weeks Deposit is paid I won't guarantee working for them even if have sent my contract back to me

Also if you only want 4hrs ie 2hrs a day then your child is using a Whole days space and you will find it hard I rhink , to find a cm Happy to commit to that

Tanith Thu 11-Dec-14 07:36:31

I'm afraid that signing the contract is no guarantee of a place at any childcare setting, childminder or nursery, due to the ratios. OFSTED will come down like a ton of bricks on anyone over their numbers.

It doesn't happen often, and you have been unlucky. If a deposit has been paid, the childminder or nursery would return it.

I also will not consider a place filled without a deposit.

LingDiLong Thu 11-Dec-14 09:40:08

I agree that you've been unlucky. I think the CM should have been clearer about needing a deposit to secure the place but ultimately she could still have given you notice even with the deposit.

Both childminders and parents are really only ever protected for 4 weeks - that's the standard notice for a contract. If my full time mindee was to leave I'd be up the creek financially. If I were to give notice to my full time mindee they'd be up the creek for childcare because there are very few full time places available. It sucks but I don't think there's any fairer way really.

In fairness to your childminder too, she hasn't bumped you off in order to take on a more lucrative customer, she probably feels a certain amount of loyalty to an existing customer which I sympathise with.

Mitchymatchy Thu 11-Dec-14 11:59:05

It's frustrating but if the notice she has given you is at least the notice period in your contract there is really nothing you can do. At nursery first dibs always went to existing customers, and as a PP said, if your child was taking up a FT space for a couple of hours' pay it's understandable if not honourable. And it's little comfort but I'm sure it happens the other way round too - people reserve a childminder's spaces and then don't take them up.

I would speak to the nursery asap and ask if they know of any other childminders who collect. Speak to work and see if you can change your work days temporarily, or take a couple of hours' leave on Tuesdays/makeup time on other days, alternating with your DP if you have one. Childcare wrinkles are common in the early days. Can your childminder offer you an alternative day temporarily or let you know when she is expecting a Tuesday place to free up? I suggest talking face to face or it could all get a bit snippy.

busyDays Thu 11-Dec-14 13:15:17

If she let you know at the weekend that the space is no longer available and you were only due to start in January then it sounds like she has given you the required 4 weeks notice and there really isn't much you can do. The notice period works both ways and there may well come a time in the future where you need to give notice to a childcarer if your own circumstances change. I also agree with what others have said, if you only need 4 hours a week you will struggle to find a childminder who is going to be motivated to do this longer term, unless you are prepared to pay a high hourly rate.

Starlightbright1 Thu 11-Dec-14 13:25:59

I had a parent once pay deposit to start a couple of months before she returned to work. I turned down other children to facilitate this baby however mum decided not to return to work. Baby was replaced but I held place for nothing when I could of been earning earlier so it does work both ways I am afraid.

I still see this mum around have no issues with her, she simply felt unable to leave her child to go to work.

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