How would I be able to HE as a single parent financially?

(38 Posts)
Anothernamechanger1 Sun 11-Dec-16 14:50:21

Dc is in year 6. Has had a lot of problems. He was at home most of year 5 and the attendance board were involved. Very stressful. He's doing ok at the moment, back at school for now. He has dyslexia and ASD. He has severe anxiety and under Camhs for it. I'm trying to basically think ahead, and I know I can't see in the future but I'm not sure he will cope at secondary school next year. I have registered him and he wants to go which is great.... however I think he will struggle which will mean his mental health deteriorate. (He's had suicidal thoughts) BUT im a LP. I wouldn't be able to work if I ended up having to take him out. I have another younger DC at school also. Their father is not on the scene and both my parents work and I don't have a support network so no one to look after him whilst I was at home. I couldn't leave him alone due to the ASD so that isn't an option! I need to work 16 hours to qualify for working tax credits. I won't be able to get a child minder for him term time only. Even if I could he would hate being around crying babies all day. I was thinking a tutor? But then you don't get ofsted registered tutors do you? (So I can get help toward the cost) any earnings I get won't cover a tutor...... are there any other options?!

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Anothernamechanger1 Sun 11-Dec-16 14:50:41

Sorry for the lack of paragraphs!!

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Astro55 Sun 11-Dec-16 14:53:11

Have you looked at any small schools for children facing challenges?
Do high school have a zone - learning zone or support room?

Have you contacted the local schools to look round speak to the head teacher?

Could he consider a reduced time table?

fairgame84 Sun 11-Dec-16 15:02:11

Do you get DLA for him? Would it be an option to go onto income support and carers allowance instead of working? I've had to do that before when DS was part time at ms school then I went back to work once he was settled in his specialist school.

Anothernamechanger1 Sun 11-Dec-16 15:03:44

There is only one secondary school near to us (quite rural) I have spoken to them and they said they would try to replicate what his primary school have in place for him. There is a support unit that he could have access to at break and lunch if he wanted it but I don't think he would use it as he resents the fact he's not allowed break outside at school now (playground makes him hyper and aggressive)
He doesn't have echp, I did apply earlier this year but got rejected as the school were providing adequate support

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shouldwestayorshouldwego Sun 11-Dec-16 15:04:02

Some tutors will take childcare vouchers. Your best bet though would be to find a work from home position. He might surprise you and enjoy secondary school. Having different subjects means that he might excel in an area beyond maths and English. A fixed timetable means that art is never replaced by English because SATs are looming or a Carol concert rehersal wiped out a morning. A wider range of children might mean that there are more children he can relate to.

HeCantBeSerious Sun 11-Dec-16 15:04:07

Most of the single HEers seem to be reliant on benefits and undeclared cash in hand, work from home "businesses".

Alfieisnoisy Sun 11-Dec-16 15:11:17

It's a hard one and I have friends who home educate because like your DS they have struggled in school. I was in a similar position three years ago and had to home educate for six months. I gave up work at that point and claimed Carers Allowance but it was a really hard decision to make. I have no regrets though as it was the best thing for my DS.
I certain,y never had time to do any "cash in hand" work as DS is "full on". at home.

Anothernamechanger1 Sun 11-Dec-16 15:13:27

It's all very complicated but I'm currently trying to get a new job as I had to leave my old job due to his non attendance but i had a dp to rely on. Right now I'm back to being a LP and we're doing ok financially me looking for work, yes I get dla and carers allowance currently but his renewal comes up in a year and I'm petrified they won't renew it as they seem to be getting tighter than ever? So IF it was renewed we would be ok but im scared it won't.

I would love love a job from home but there aren't any! That would be the perfect scenario full stop (he often has random day off due to sensory issues surrounding clothes) and I could still work but there aren't any jobs as it is let alone working from home.

I used to work term time only as I can't put him into any care during holidays as no where is able to look after him sufficiently and last time I tried he got caught trying to escape over the fence. It's better for both DC for me to do term time only. Obviously if I was working from home I could work all year round.

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Anothernamechanger1 Sun 11-Dec-16 15:14:46

Yes alfie how on earth WOULD I be able to do cash in hand! He would be here 24/7! (Not that I have or ever would try to dodge the system)

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HeCantBeSerious Sun 11-Dec-16 15:22:42

They mostly make things or do admin from home, usually when the children are in bed.

Anothernamechanger1 Sun 11-Dec-16 15:25:49

I'm creative but I don't see what I could make that would cover 16 hours and keep us fed and watered? I would happily do admin but again, I can't find any work, I have looked for the last 6 months. There are plenty of people advertising their services here but not the other way round.

I'd be worried working self employed as that messes tax credits etc up. ESP housing benefit as I wouldn't earn the same money every month

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Alfieisnoisy Sun 11-Dec-16 16:02:37

As your DS gets DLA you should be getting extra tax credits. carers Allowance is around £230 a month and you'd be able to claim Income Support as well. That might just make the difference if you lose the WTX.

Anothernamechanger1 Sun 11-Dec-16 16:08:04

Thanks alfie that is what I receive now and we do survive financially although I have debt and a car on hp that I pay off so we're lucky to break even (as long as no big expenditure needed) but I want to go back to work for now as he's back at school. He starts secondary in 9 months so I have 9 months minimum to work and earn is I can pay off debt quicker. BUT If we lose his dla which is due January 2018, I would be up the creek if I have to take him out. I know I know, he MIGHT be fine but I think this is very unlikely.

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Alfieisnoisy Sun 11-Dec-16 16:16:45

Everything went to pot when my DS started secondary, it's a big change for all children and especially so children with ASD. If you need to give up work and it's doable then don't feel any guilt about it. It's what the benefits system was set up for.

Anothernamechanger1 Sun 11-Dec-16 16:22:31

Yes Iv lost my pride in that sense but right now I could be at work as he is at school, I just can't find anything term time only in school hours at the moment like I had before. If I knew his dla renewal would go through I wouldn't be worried about it

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ommmward Sun 11-Dec-16 19:18:48

- In our area, there are several home educating childminders, proper OFSTED registered and everything, who take home educated children as mindees. So your child would be there with their children, either doing education or activities or whatever. The ones I know don't do baby child minding at all, and sometimes take their mindees to group activities etc.

- ask around to see if your LA will fund people using Interhigh or other online schools, which can be a good fit for children with special needs (doesn't help you with the childcare issue)

- anecdotally, secondary school is when formal schooling often goes to pot for children on the spectrum. Just sayin'. (but it does mean that the HE community is packed with teens on the spectrum who, when they find each other, have found people who really get them).

Good luck!

Anothernamechanger1 Sun 11-Dec-16 19:26:32

Thanks om. That sounds a good arrangement as long as they get on! Where would they advertise that sort of arrangement? Iv googled, gone on that childcare web that advertises all sorts, and have asked about but there only seems to be child minders for baby's or tutors but just the education side of it so aren't ofsted registered. I only need them to be ofsted registered so that I can get help through tax credits otherwise I would be going to work just to pay for a tutor. Well actually I wouldn't, I'd be in negative money as they charge an awful lot more than the minimum wage job for me!

What are these 'online schools'? I know someone who has an older boy who she goes out to work and she pays online basically for all his work? He has an online tutor if needed, sends his work off. Is that what you mean? What is the interhigh? Can't see our LA to pay toward it! Won't pay for any extra help at all for him at school!

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bluelilies Sun 11-Dec-16 19:30:13

Would becoming a childminder yourself be an option?

Be careful about leaving a job to go on benefits though. As your youngest is school aged you'd have to claim JSA, which they'd withhold if you're deemed to have given up a job voluntarily.

ommmward Sun 11-Dec-16 19:34:13

Ah - you need to get onto the facebook groups in your area for home educators. Occasionally someone pops up on our ones, asking for a childminder, and about five people say "me me me" and they find their work that way. I highly doubt they advertise publicly (Why would they? They probably have 5-12 year olds themselves, and don't want to tie themselves down minding pre-schoolers!)

Some LAs will pay for pupils to attend Interhigh, but only as part of one of those educational plan thingies for special needs (I don't know the terminology), and the child basically has to have a ghastly time in onsite provision first, so you've got the evidence that that is traumatising them... eurgh.

Anothernamechanger1 Sun 11-Dec-16 20:36:58

blue I'm not currently working, I had to give up my job last year when he wasn't going to school, this September he's gone and doing ok, so I'm already on max benefits, I'm looking to go back to work, but would have to go back to the same role on the min wage to fit around school hours and working term time only. Interesting point though about leaving a job voluntary. I would be on the same benefits I'm on now which is what was listed above. I did look into being a child minder myself but I can't do it (although my qualifications would cover it) I live in rented so can't run a business from my house, I also can't provide the provisions that are needed for mindees. Also I don't think it would be fair on anyone as my youngest suffers enough getting caught up in DC meltdowns etc I can't inflict that on an unrelated strangers child, his needs can be too great to then be responsible for other people's kids at the same time.

omm that doesn't seem fair does it? His mental health is already severely impacted on things he has gone through in life and then school on top of that. He's always struggled, always. Apart from this school year being the best out of the lot so far, he's never had a good year. Always in trouble. Very negative about school, thinks he's thick when he def isn't, this affects his self esteem which then affects the mental health

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Alfieisnoisy Sun 11-Dec-16 21:35:19

My other bit of advice would be to get someone who knows about DLA forms to help you complete the renewal one. It sounds like your DS still requires it and it he,ps to have someone who knows about DLA to help complete it.

Cerebra website is very good. It's for children with head injuries but they have some fabulous general info stuff there including some info about completing the DLA form

fairgame84 Sun 11-Dec-16 21:46:57

blue that is incorrect.
You wouldn't need to claim jsa at all. There is no penalty for leaving your job voluntary if your child gets MRC and you are in receipt of carers allowance. You would be entitled to income support instead of jsa and would have to visit jobcentre every 6-12 months for a 'work focused interview' which is basically to check in with them.
I've been in and out of work for the past 8 years due to DS (he is 12). I've never had a hard time from the jobcentre, it has always been straightforward.

Anothernamechanger1 Sun 11-Dec-16 21:47:34

Thanks alfie. Do you think the renewal will be harder? Is it the same form as the first one? When I first got it he was at school. Didn't have the non attendance factor involved (although that isn't a problem right now) do things like that make a difference or are they not interested in that? I wonder if me having to give up work because of his problems wouldwork in our favour? Probably clutching at straws! I didn't have any help filling out the first form as I didn't think that I would get it to be honest! I shall make sure I get prepared before the renewal. The only problem is that he will be new at secondary school so I won't have anyone that knows him well to help with the form?

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Alfieisnoisy Mon 12-Dec-16 06:50:07

The form will be the same one you completed last time. It might be worth contacting the CAB or any local charity which supports disabled people. They can usually help or point you in the direction of someone who can. Not sure where you are in the country but here in Essex we have an organisation called Families in Focus who offer support with many things including the DLA forms.
I completed DS's first form myself but when it came up for renewal I felt so overwhelmed with everything that I wanted help with it. Families in Focus he,led me.
It would be worth seeing if there are any autism or SEN support organisations in your area.

The non -attendance at school does matter as it shows his anxiety is ongoing. It's part and parcel of his ASD so definitely needs to go on the form. Likewise you having to give up work because he needs your support. Without your support he would struggle even more.

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