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If your DC go to private school, how do you arrange childcare in the long school holidays?

(199 Posts)
MandMand Wed 03-Oct-12 21:27:36

If both parents work, its hard enough to cover childcare during the ordinary state school holidays, but how on earth do you cope with the longer holidays at private schools?

If both parents need to work full time all year round in order to pay the school fees, what on earth do you do when your children then have three or four weeks off at Christmas and Easter, and two months off in the summer? Do you end up having to find even more money to pay for holiday camps/activity weeks etc?

I'd be interesting in any estimates of how much to budget for longer holiday childcare on top of school fees, but I suspect this may be a bit like asking how long is a piece of string ....

Sparklingbrook Sun 07-Oct-12 09:46:55

Go for it jabed. You said it was a genuine question so you will get some genuine answers hopefully.

Hulababy Sun 07-Oct-12 09:47:12

I work in a state school so we have about 3 weeks holidays extra to cover. We use mixture of DH working from home, and dd staying with my parents or dh's parents, and occasionally she comes into school with me to help out.

Evn when I didn't work n schoos for a bit we found that private school holidays were already known by mst holiday companies, ESP at Easter and summer so the prices weren't really any cheaper.m Only one we ever found a bit cheaper was week before Christmas state school holidays began.

jabed Sun 07-Oct-12 09:55:45

Hope nobody minds me asking but what is the thinking behind private schools having longer holidays than state?

I think originally it was so that familes could have time together. Independent schools were used by middle class parents and aristocracy and those who lived and worked in colonies. They sent their DC to school during terms and had longer holidays to allow for travel and seeing their families

Many of our pupils still leave early even though we have much longer holidays. A few still stay all year (as they did in times of yore).

jabed Sun 07-Oct-12 09:57:35

Jabed- perhaps because they need to work and most jobs don't give you 13 weeks holiday a year?

Then maybe their DC would be better off in a state school where they have shorter holidays. It might also be easier on their incomes?

Sparklingbrook Sun 07-Oct-12 09:59:46

Oh right jabed so possibly quite outdated now, but some private schools still want it that way?

trixymalixy Sun 07-Oct-12 10:18:12

hmmHaving kids in state school doesn't solve the problem Jabed. Even if DH and I used all our days holiday separately we couldn't cover the full number of school holidays. I want to have a holiday with my whole family so that's not going to happen, so we'll have to use a holiday club at some point.

I would love to be able to have all of the school holidays off to spend with my kids, but have no chance of being allowed to work term times only. That's the reality for working parents.

scarlettsmummy2 Sun 07-Oct-12 10:29:50

I love my children to death, but could not be at home all day- I am fortunate not to need to work but I choose to as I actually like using my brain and I think it sets a good example to my girls. It doesn't mean I love them any less than someone who doesn't work.

jabed Sun 07-Oct-12 11:07:17

One of the reasons I am selecting an independent school for my DS ( not the one I work in) is because of the longer holidays. I use that time to go to Canada (where DW comes from and we have a home).

I once knew a lady who put her children into independent schools because she was from a show family and they were always on the move and she wanted her child educated and that required her to place her child in boarding. It also meant she had longer holidays when they were at their busiest. The kid also hated school as it happens and independent school with its longer holidays was the main reason it was chosen.

I am also doing it because I really think that state schools spend too much time in the classroom and it really isnt healthy or helpful to a child to be
"educated" so long.

Time was state schools had the same holidays as independent schools (not so long ago even when I was a boy). Its state schols that moved, not independents.

orangeberries Sun 07-Oct-12 11:17:27

Is this question really aimed at primary level, as school holiday provision is pretty thin on the ground for secondary school of any flavour?

For what it's worth the difference in school holidays in our local-ish independents is only an extra 2 weeks per year in the summer, all of them are now pretty aligned to the state sector and make available holiday clubs for those 2 weeks.

Hulababy Sun 07-Oct-12 11:29:55

Yes I did want a child. I adore my child. I spend as much time as possible with my child. I have amended my working life in order to spend more time with DD. As a result I earn far less than I could. But I have a great work life balance. I am very lucky that DH has a well paid job that allows me to do so and one which also allows him to have weekends free, to spend time with DD morning and night and have decent holiday time.

I see DD every morning, every evening, every weekend and for 13 weeks of the holidays. However we cannot cover every holiday - we are 3 weeks short. So DD spends time during those with other people who she loves and who also love her dearly.

Neither DH or me work in order to pay school fees.

Besides there are many many people who have children at state school who struggle to cover the 13 weeks school holidays. Are these people also subject to the same criticism for having children and not being able to be with them in the holidays? Some people need to work in order to pay bills and give their children the standard of living they want for them.

jabed Sun 07-Oct-12 11:39:24

well, I was thinking mostly of those who complain about our extra holidays in independents - hence the comment put them in state schools.

However, I appreciate fully that even with breakfast clubs and after school /homework clubs and holiday clubs that are run there some parents may still be unhappy about not having child care. But that was not my initial question or interest.


ATourchOfInsanity Sun 07-Oct-12 11:41:17

My parents sent me to PGL for a week or two smile Loved it.

ATourchOfInsanity Sun 07-Oct-12 11:56:49

jabed you WORK at an independent? I would have been horrified to think an adult at my school, paid to look after me, was secretly despising my parent's choice. You must realise that kids are in schools like yours for a wide variety of reasons, and not everyone's parents can be as bad as you seem to assume? Or are they the enemy somehow? Bit confused by your morals if you seem happy to get a salary from such a monstrous system, as you see it hmm

Longer hols were handy for overseas pupils to fly across the planet and see more of their, very devoted, parents, in my experience.

jabed Sun 07-Oct-12 12:12:01

I am not despising nayones choice. I simply ask why, having made it, parents complain about one of the main factors involved - the holidays.

I do not see the independent system as monsterous. I see state schools with their breakfast clubs and shorter holidays as monsterous. That is why I am going to pay for my DS to go to a small prep near our home.

I know many of the pupils in my own school go home even earlier at Christmas and in the summer. So I guess their parents do not worry about child care?

I asked those parents who clearly do worry about the additional child care why they chose independents when they know about the holidays?

AuntieStella Sun 07-Oct-12 12:27:21

As pointed out, it's not just a private school question as many working parents in the state sector find the holidays longer then their leave allowance. Perhaps the question could be phrased in terms of "how can the DCs have a good time during the weeks of their holidays when both parents have used up their annual leave allowance? Especially for those weeks of private school holidays when the clubs based on state school holiday dates aren't running?"

OP: I think you need to look at using holiday clubs - especially ones thatfit children's interests like sports, dance or drama, for all the weeks that state schools are off. Then use your leave allowance to cover the ones which don't overlap. If you have GPs/siblings and can child swop some of those weeks, that extends the options. Or perhaps, and especially as the children get older, you could see if any of your friends have sensible sixth formers or ideally university aged DCs (as their terms are also shorter) who could baby sit.

jabed Sun 07-Oct-12 13:05:11

When I was a lad and my mother went out to work,I was farmed out to my grandmother or sometimes an aunt. I have vivid memories of this. I had been under the misguided view ( clearly) that grand parent day care and holiday care was the way things are going?

My DW tells me that where we are there is a church run holiday club which charges very little apparently. She knows this because she was asked if she might help being a SAHM and having some musical ( piano playing) ability as well as being a trained teacher (even if she is an OTT) . However, we will be away.

Perhaps there is something similar near you in a community hall or something? Have you checked?

suebfg Sun 07-Oct-12 13:09:48

Jabed, we don't all have the luxury of spending the 'summer' travelling, visiting friends etc. Some of us have to work for a living.

jabed Sun 07-Oct-12 13:14:57

We do not spend our summer travelling and visiting friends. We go to Canada. There are many other things we do not have for that I am sure. I work for a living too and have done all my life

marriedinwhite Sun 07-Oct-12 13:23:03

To answer your question OP:

I get 7 weeks holiday; DH takes about 5 weeks; we have a three week holiday each year. That covers a total of 10 weeks out of an overall total of 18 to 19 weeks hols (yes two different schools and not necessarily the same holiday dates). When the DC were smaller our au-pair (say from when dd was 6 and ds was 9 until dd was about 11 - was part time and didn't work in the hols before then) would help out for three or four weeks (with extra pay) although usually the dc did a morning activity during those weeks. That was 14 out of a possible 18 covered. Probably did a combination of two weeks at grannie's, own a pony week, camp beaumont, sailing, etc. with me and dh divvying up the taking and collecting - occasionally I worked 1/2 days for a fortnight.

Thank goodness they are 14 and nearly 18 now.

suebfg Sun 07-Oct-12 13:34:46

Well, you clearly benefit from longer holidays than most. Most people do have to juggle a lot to work around school hours, school holidays etc - it doesn't mean we don't want to spend time with our kids and it's offensive to suggest that's the case.

trixymalixy Sun 07-Oct-12 13:38:18

I just wondered why so many MNers seem to have children and then require someone else to look after them? Genuine question.

At the risk of offending (I am grumpy today). Did any of you actually want children? Why did you have them to put them into wrap around care? Do you ever see your children?

These posts^^ come across as despising families where both parents work Jabed. You seem fortunate enough to have a term time only job.

In the real world most families aren't fortunate enough to be able to afford one parent staying at home, or to be able to work term time only, it's just not a choice that's available to them. That really is the holy grail of a working parent, and we can't all work in schools.

mummytime Sun 07-Oct-12 13:42:23

I wouldn't rely on Granny. Lots of Grannys have their own job, or own plans or aren't well enough.

jabed you seem to labouring under the misapprehension that "working full time" for most people means having 13 weeks holiday a year. It doesn't.

Additionally you have a very bizzare attitude towards the circumstances of parents who keep you in a job and enable you to have the lifestyle that you choose and many other parents would like.

OP our children are in state but both work FT - we juggle holidays between us and have make up the rest with sports clubs, holiday clubs and family care.

jabed Sun 07-Oct-12 14:05:33

In the real world most families aren't fortunate enough to be able to afford one parent staying at home, or to be able to work term time only, it's just not a choice that's available to them. That really is the holy grail of a working parent, and we can't all work in schools

I would beg to differ. In the real world of independent schooling most parents no doubt could have the choice. School fees are expensive outlays and so if they did not make that outlay they would not need additional holiday child care or if they did, it would be covered easily by any salary saved in going state

I also think that many more parents could if they wanted manage on one salary.

I do not work full time anymore. I was eased out into retirement a few yearsago. Yes, I have done the 24/7 but it isnt worth it. There are no thanks for it. I would hate my DS never seeing me and growing up thinking that was right.

The income in my household is not excessive but I do not complain. My DW does not work. She does not want to and I respect that. We have what we need and we go without other things to go to Canada (but we only pay plane fares anyway). It depends on where the priorities are really doesnt it?

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