Sorry - missed out this bit - au pair expects to attend language class every day. This is not going to happen, we live too far from the college for a start, public transport is limited, and I can't risk her not being there for the school bus each day for my 7 and 8 year olds because she missed a connection. Am I being unreasonable?
Um, I thought that's what au pairs did? I might be wrong but they are often here to study and do light housework/childcare to pay their way. To be honest I don't think it's unreasonable of her to want to go to class each day, however not full time obviously. If you are too far away from the college then perhaps she would be better off finding someone nearer.
Did you speak about language classes before she arrived? Were you/she aware of how far away the college was and the arrangements which would have to be made in order to get to class? Is it actually feasible for her to go to classes once a week - i.e. is the language course only running on one day or is it several days which she needs to attend in order to be part of the course? IMO, au pairs should reasonably expect to attend language classes more than once a week, I think the norm is at least a couple of mornings each week. If you live too far from a language school, then she may need to move families.
My AP also has to be here to meet the school bus - she has the option of language school in one city twice a week 11am-130pm, or same city 7.3-pm-9pm twice a week, or local town 11am or 7.30pm. None of these classes make me worry that she will be unable to get to our house for the school bus drop off. Does your AP not drive either?
i guess you two just dont match what the expectation about english courses is concerned. she probably thought that going to classes every day is the norm whereas you thought once a week is a norm. so none of you mentioned it during the interviewing process. i dont think there is a norm, depends on what classes are available, what the working hours the ap has, what level her english is or how much she wants to study. what courses are on offer? if it is a course that runs every day then going once a week is not going to work. is the only reason you dont want her to go that you think she could miss the bus back? its not like the timing of the course clashes with the pick up time of your children? if it is the first i think you are beeing unreasonable not letting her go. you could make it clear that it is her responsibility to get back on time for the pick up and if she misses the bus she needs to pay for a taxi or something like that?
Did you and she know the time of the language courses when you recruited her? I sent all this to my ap and discussed with her the times (eg if she was in class x she would have been doing classes in the early evening which wouldn't have worked and class y were in early afternoon which was fine).
The prospectus for the college it may offer up some flexibility whihc suits you both.
My ap went 3 times a week. I don't think once a week is enough, and many of the other students were attending daily. It was an adhoc centre running classes of different levels on different days/times on a drop in basis.
HarrietTS - strictly speaking the au pair is meant to pay for language classes but I do know that some host families pay for them or pay towards them. And some APs from the EU attend free classes at local authority colleges.
sorry my ap goes every morning and so did my last 2 before her. They just need to be back in time for school pick up or to allow me to go to school pick up (leaving toddler at home). I'm lucky though- I live in a city with lots of language schools within walking distance.
As to paying for classes, I think this varies. With our last ap, we offered to pay after the first term if it worked out between us, but she was already in the country and didn't come to the uk expressly to help us. We generally do pay, but I think this is optional.
We were in London the first time and bought the ap a travel card. The next time we were out of London but insured her on our car (she didn't have exclusive use), but I don't think on either occasion we paid for the language classes
I think starbucks you are being very unfair. The au-pair is here to learn a new language and culture and unfortunately their priorities are not going to be you and your children. I agree that they need to do their contracted hours etc but these hours should be worked around allowing them to study as many days a week as they like.
If you live in an out of town area then you should have made it clear that classes every day were difficult.
If you worry she won't get back in time for the school run every day then surely you would worry about it on the one day you propose she goes to school?
Starbucks, when you investigate classes, you could also ask about night classes.
My previous aupair attended classes 3x a morning. But it would have been a problem for me if it affected her ability to do the 3 pm pick up. I would have to use the afterschool club to cover. If it was every day, then there is really no point to continue with the aupair because the main reason I am hiring an aupair was specifically so my dd could be picked up at 3pm and from the afterschool club which I could do the pick up from.
Hope you find a solution. When you know the timing and frequency of the classes, it will become clearer.