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How do you settle your child into school if you work full time?

(26 Posts)
Caligula Wed 31-May-06 13:51:05

I've just received notification of my DD starting school in September. Here's the timetable:

1st day (Thursday) - go in at 9.30, stay till 10.30
2nd day - Morning only, 9 until 12

Weekend.

1st full week - 9 until 12
2nd full full week - 9 until 1 (ie staying for lunch)
3rd full week - full time until 3pm.

Well I'm OK, I can work from home and so I can jiggle the hours around (but I'm still going to have to take some annual leave). But how on earth do people who work full time deal with this? 7 days of annual leave needed, plus 5 more half days at least (depending on transport times). When I looked at that, i knew there's no way I could go and look for an office based job yet. But how do you manage if you do work in an office and have to explain to your colleagues that you need all this time off? Is this pretty standard nowadays?

chjlly Wed 31-May-06 13:52:27

I must be lucky ds starts in Sept and is doing 1 week of half days then full time

Feistybird Wed 31-May-06 13:53:09

Yes we had this (I work 4 full days a week). I can work from home so taking to and from was fine but more importantly, I had the arrangement with my DDs nursery that whilst she wasn't at school during the day (the afternoons or mornings) she could go there.

ladymuck Wed 31-May-06 13:54:16

You can try to use parental leave. Or a childminder depending on what your afterschool option is. Or swap days with friends/partner so you only have to cover half the number of days.

Marina Wed 31-May-06 14:03:25

I agree it is a nightmare for f/t WOHM parents caligula. If you try and raise it with the school you can usually expect an X against your name on the "Venal Parents Who Put Their Work above Their Child's Wellbeing" list, in friends' experience.

I will be managing dd's transition to nursery school by a combination of parental leave, actual leave and working some of the hours at home while she is off eyeballing her new pals.

I do at least have an understanding workplace so provided I give notice and make up the hours I will not necessarily be made to feel bad. I'm lucky.

bluejelly Wed 31-May-06 14:09:53

I took two weeks annual leave so that I could be there to pick up and drop off every day. After that the childminder took over...
Seemed to work out ok and I loved pretending I was a SAHM for a couple of weeks. Blissful...

bluejelly Wed 31-May-06 14:13:42

Have to say that I genearlly find my dd's school completely unsympathetic to the fact that so many parents work.
They keep organising great things like parenting courses, IT courses etc during school hours, which basically excludes all working parents.

FioFio Wed 31-May-06 14:16:46

Message deleted

elliott Wed 31-May-06 14:19:03

You have to save holiday, swap with other parents, call in favours etc etc.
Some schools have half days only for the entire first term!
Luckily I have only to cope with two weeks...

bluejelly Wed 31-May-06 14:23:04

I must say I have been overwhelmed by the kindness showed to me by other parents since my dd started school. They are always helping me out with pick ups and offers of lifts places...
Really, really lovely and I know that in a crisis (ie when my childminder was ill recently) I have lots of people to call on. Makes working life ten times easier!

MadameClarydeClary Wed 31-May-06 14:33:46

caligula, yes we had this with dd last sept.
Not with ds1 as he started in Jaunary, but I think now we have 1 point entry they do try to stagger it a bit.
It was about 3 weeks before the whole class got together!
We were luckily able to take dd to our lovely childminder for the half days and got round it by taking lunch hours to fetch her etc but yes, it is a real working parents' nightmare, as I recall ranting at the time.
(not that I think that school is childcare, I don't, I don't, but parents who work make arrangements around a 9-3.30 day and schools need to realise this.
BTW agree with bluejelly, there are always things organised during school hours (which is understandable, of course) such as children's assemblies, literacy info afternoons, school plays!!! so really it's better to stop work altogether once your children start school

Tortington Wed 31-May-06 14:36:20

i would nt send mine in until the first full week and explain to them why not - loss of earnings will not equate with schools timetable - when third full week comes around i would shove em through the door wave happily and feck off quick

bluejelly Wed 31-May-06 14:48:10

Like your attitude custardo

Caligula Wed 31-May-06 16:07:31

Well it's just so funny that in the days when most mothers didn't WOHM, or only WOHMed part time, we all went to school and immediately started full time, and now that the majority of mothers WOHM, they've started doing this staggered thing.

Joined up thinking, eh.

Gingerbear Wed 31-May-06 16:19:40

Quite Caligula!
I haven't had the letter yet, but I think DD will have 2 weeks of mornings only. I have no choice but to book holiday/take parental leave.

foxinsocks Wed 31-May-06 16:23:25

we had 2 terms of part time (and ds when he starts will have one).

Most people just rearranged their childcare or sorted out something extra. One of the local nurseries and a few childminders put ads in the bookbags for pick up for children who were part time (thought that was good business sense!).

hewlettsdaughter Wed 31-May-06 16:25:37

I had a second child just before ds started school (half-time for a term) so luckily I was on maternity leave. Not sure what we'll do when dd is old enough though.

annh Wed 31-May-06 20:47:10

Caligula, I think the first couple of weeks of part-time days are only the start of the juggling, tbh! That does tend to be the most concentrated time of half-days etc but "extra" days off do seem to crop up a lot. There will be inset days, half days on the last day of term, days off because the school is being used as a polling station etc. I'm not saying that all of those happen in every school but I did find it significantly harder when ds2 started school to cope with all these demands. Apart from all those days which you just have to cover, often by taking leave, there are all the occasions like class assembly, nativity play, sports day etc when you really WANT to take time off to be there for them. I cope by having very good and expensive childcare in place for more hours than I normally need so I can cover these eventualities, also luckily I went down to four days a week before ds2 started school so I can get to anything which happens on a Friday, which luckily seems to be quite a bit! I found pre-school care much easier as there seemed to be an acceptance that your child was in nursery etc because you worked, the reverse seems to be true at school! I'm not saying that schools should necessarily be trying to accommodate working parents but atm, e.g., our school doesn't even start the school day on time which, given that I can't leave ds2 (reception) until they are going into class, makes an already stressful drive to work even more rushed.

Uwila Wed 31-May-06 21:32:53

I'm convinced that the only way to go to work full time is to have a nanny. DD will start nursery (2 1/2 hour sessions 5 days a week) in October. I couldn't possibly manage without a nanny to take her there and home. Of course, a childminder does school runs, but they don't open for business until an hour or so after I am meant to be at my job. So, that's no good.

julienetmum Wed 31-May-06 21:35:07

My dd will be going private so the first week (Wed - Fri) are optional half days including lunch. You can start them full time straight away.

I remember when I worked in an office my manager had to take a week off for her daughter's first full week at school, after that her previous day nursery picked her up and took her into their after school care scheme.

If my dd was going through the state system I would be very tempted to go the custardo route!!!

BonyM Wed 31-May-06 21:42:01

Blimey, when dd1 started school it was straight into full days, no messing about with a few hours here, a few hours there...

None of the children that I know of seemed to be particularly phased (no pun intended ) by this.

Some schools are just too soft these days .

Nightynight Wed 31-May-06 21:51:45

settle your child into school? - ha ha. you wave them goodbye merrily, and run for the station, thinking happily about how much you're saving in childcare fees.
Au pair handles the funny hours for my children.

FloatingOnTheMed Wed 31-May-06 21:58:06

i shudder.
i had a horrendous time when i started school. I sat under the table for the whole of the first term.
I am terrified for dd. Financially as a SAHM i am up the creek so was considering going back to work before i intended to but this thread has completely put me off again !

Caligula Thu 01-Jun-06 08:52:07

Well I know FotM. I was toying with the idea of getting a job outside the home, but then this school schedule came through, and I thought "oh bugger that".

It's just an enormous amount of stress even if you have a sympathetic employer, at a time when you should be concentrating on ensuring your child isn't stressed. The staggered entry is a marvellous thing for cutting down on a child's stress - if there's a parent at home for them to go home to after their measly couple of hours at school. But if they're havign to go back to a new childminder, or a new nanny or au-pair (becuase they used to go to nursery) then that staggered entry is no less stressful than the oldstyle normal one. In other words, it's designed for households with a SAHP or with a longstanding childcarer like a nanny or au-pair.

elliott Thu 01-Jun-06 09:20:34

Isn't it really designed to ease the teachers in gently after their long holiday
(That's a joke btw, I know how sensitive teachers can get....)

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