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How can people in London afford private nurseries?

(31 Posts)
Booklover Mon 18-Apr-05 19:47:13

I would like to go back to work, in fact I had a job offer for 3 days a week, which I am happy to do, but looking at the nursery costs in London (North London) the salary for 3 days would hardly cover the nursery costs? How do people do it? Is it cheaper to find a childminder? I am not British but have lived in the UK for about 8 years now, ds has just turned one and I am just trying to get used to the different system of childcare and the costs....

CountessDracula Mon 18-Apr-05 19:51:19

Not sure about where you live, but around here (SW London) nurseries are the same price as childminders (or cheaper)

CountessDracula Mon 18-Apr-05 19:53:38

I guess that in London the salaries are often higher so the childcare is higher - you need to charge a reasonable amount to recruit suitable staff, it's a vicious circle really.

motherinferior Mon 18-Apr-05 20:15:36

A childminder might be cheaper, IF this is only for one child; but yes, parents in the UK pay more in childcare costs than in most of Western Europe. How do we manage? Search me. I shell out £230 a week to my childminder. I get very good care in return, I should point out, and she's deeply fabulous, but she can't exactly be minting it either, even though she does take more kids.

pabla Mon 18-Apr-05 20:47:45

When I went back to work after dd was born (over 7 yrs ago) the cost of a nursery or childminder was about the same. I opted for a nursery as it gave me more flexibility in drop off/pick up times and dd loved it there. i think the costs have gone up a lot lately. When dd left to go to school, nearly four years ago, it cost £650 per month for a full-time place. It is now £800. The increase in cost is way above the rate of inflation over that time period, but maybe staff costs have gone up a lot in that time too. I think too it is proportionally more expensive to use a nursery on a part time basis.

PrettyCandles Mon 18-Apr-05 20:53:08

I know several mums who work because they want to or need to emotionally or intellectually - but are not financially better-off for doing so because of the cost of childcare. Unfortunately part-time childcare often works out more per hour than full-time childcare.

No help - sorry.

bubble99 Mon 18-Apr-05 23:29:17

I'm a nursery owner and have to say that Countess Dracula is spot on when she says that nurseries need to pay decent salaries to secure and, most importantly, retain good staff. When we set out to open our two nurseries we decided to offer salaries well above the usual rate. We are in SW London and the cost of living here is high. Property prices and council tax in particular. As a result we have employed some fantastic staff. Childcare is seen by many as a second rate job. It is, in fact, one of the most important jobs going. Children in full daycare spend so much time with the staff that it is important that these people are excellent, loving role models. Many providers pay staff poorly and provide poor working conditions, resulting in high staff turnover which is unsettling for children.

Our full daycare rate works out at £3.20 per hour for children from 18 months (we do not provide care for children younger than this) which to me seems a reasonable rate.

stitch Mon 18-Apr-05 23:31:20

i think working conditions here are particularly unchildfriendly.
i wonder how peopole can afford to work too

Chandra Mon 18-Apr-05 23:34:51

Vey reasonable Bubble, I'm not in London and I pay far more than that. But as you say, if the staff is good is worth it. HOwever, I understand that many of us wonder if it's worth it to work when most of the salary goes to pay childcare fees.

bubble99 Tue 19-Apr-05 00:02:46

All of the children currently attending one of our nurseries are sessional. Three sessions a week seems to be the average. Our parents are either freelance workers at home or part- time employees. Our sessions are more expensive at £25 for five hours but for each session, morning or afternoon we provide a sustantial two course meal. All of our fresh ingredients, meat, poultry, fruit, veg and dairy are certified organic and we have a professional chef. We also provide free nappies and sun cream and any extra- curricular activities are included in the price. In addition we do not charge a "Registration Fee". As parents we've always hated being charged £50 to have our name entered into a database If a parent puts their child's name down on our waiting list and then changes their mind we will simply offer the place to the next available person. We may lose out in the short term but morally it feels right.

Bearess Tue 19-Apr-05 01:23:14

I went to look at a nursery after having ds - we lived in Fulham at the time, the nursery was in Wandsworth... £70 per day other nurseries were nowhere near as high but huge waiting lists - ended up being SAHM.

suzywong Tue 19-Apr-05 01:35:51

that's great and very interesting bubble, do you manage to attract any male staff? Just wondered as generally men to tend to see early childhood/caring jobs as not "proper" jobs due to low wages and Im' sure there must be some men who would like to work in the field if the wages were ... well let's be frank here... mansize.

Don't get me started on the wage gap

bobbybob Tue 19-Apr-05 02:29:27

bubble, that's interesting about the registration fee. ds's nursery charged NZ$20, but when I thought about it, given their holiday policy (they allow so many free days and then charge full rate over that)it would make people think twice about removing their child completely for the summer holidays (which here are over Christmas) and then enrolling again in February.

tiredallthetime Tue 19-Apr-05 04:37:42

it might be worth contacting your local council, and seeing if there are any community nurseries, can be a bit cheaper, also this new inland revenue scheme re childcare vouchers can apparently save up to £1800 (based on two partners) a year depending on both parnters incomes - need to find more about it myself but info on revenue's website

Booklover Tue 19-Apr-05 09:29:09

Well, 800 pounds for a full time place seems a lot but I looked at some nurseries in the Islington area who charge 1150 and about 600 for three days. I can understand that the people who work in nurseries and as childminders need to earn a decent salary as well as they are doing such an important job, however, I am sure they get a decent salary in other countries where childcare costs much less. Is is probably because other countries get more funds from the government? It is hard with one child but what do you do if you have more than one?

Pamina3 Tue 19-Apr-05 10:17:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Marina Tue 19-Apr-05 10:34:52

Gosh bubble I wish you would expand into SE London, your ethos sounds terrific. We are very happy with our chain nursery on the whole but they don't do organic food and we are the loons who insist on supplying our daughter's milk every day...the staff are great otherwise though and we really appreciate them.
We pay about £1000 a month for nursery for dd and after school club for ds. We are very broke at the moment but my job is a bit of a one-off and well-paid in the sector so (apart from not being able to afford the mortgage on one salary) we took the decision for me to keep working to keep this particular job.

bluebear Tue 19-Apr-05 11:07:45

I pay more out in nursery costs than I earn - nursery is £975 a month full time for under 2's, and £780 a month full time for over 2's and is standard priced for the area (nappies and baby milk not included in price).
I am lucky in that we can live off dh's income alone (although this is because we calculated our mortgage etc on his income and planned it this way).
I work (part-time) because I am not cut out to be at home with the children full time - and because in the sector I work in, a career break is not possible, I would be unemployable if I took more than 2 years off.
Childminders in this area are in short supply, and are seen as an 'alternative' form of childcare rather than a 'cheaper than a nursery' form of childcare.
Most working mums I know either work for effectively nothing or have parents who take the children for a day or so a week.
I have many friends with only one child as they can't afford another until the first one reaches school age.

I wish that we didn't pay tax on childcare - it's necessary to have it so we can work, so why do we have to pay tax twice on the same money?

(Oh, and I already do the salary sacrifice childcare voucher scheme - it's been available for sometime just not well publicized..in fact it's less useful now for me, as previously it was uncapped so I could take home a lot more in vouchers, now it's only £217 per month)

bundle Tue 19-Apr-05 11:15:05

booklover, whereabouts are you in n.london? i work 3 days a week and my 2 daughters have gone to nursery since i went back to work..now we only have one there (the oldest is at school) it's getting more affordable. CAT me if you want details of our nursery, which has just had an excellent OFSTED (finsbury park)

Blu Tue 19-Apr-05 11:17:24

How old is your child, Booklover?
Nurseries do get cheaper as they get older, and you will get the Nursery grant once they are 3, which subsidises the cost by £1,248 a year if your child is in nursery for 5 sessions or more (reduced pro rata if p/t).
Also have you checked out all the various tax credits as suggested?
DS's nursery (S London) is £33 a day for 3 year olds, before the subsidy. The food isn't organic, but it is freshly cooked to a v high standard and they provide any special requirements like soya or goat milk.

CountessDracula Tue 19-Apr-05 11:42:34

Pamina our local childminder charges £7 an hour which works out more than nursery!

HandbagAddiction Tue 19-Apr-05 12:34:12

We pay £946 a month for a full-time place for dd in Godalming - under 2s. This includes all food and drinks (water or milk only though) - breakfast, mid morning snack, lunch, mid afternoon snack and tea. Also includes nappies - which considering they change them about 5 times a day is god value in my book. I think dd's nursery is fab and staff are excellent - no wonder that it has a huge waiting list. There are others in the area which charge the same amount.....

bundle Tue 19-Apr-05 12:37:34

(think our nursery is about £550 a month for 3 days a week for a - just- 2 yr old)

jane313 Tue 19-Apr-05 12:40:55

Childminders where I live in west london are much cheaper than nurseries, they all vary as to what they include though. a friend pays the equivalent of £500 a month for the former, another about £800 for a nursery.

Pamina3 Tue 19-Apr-05 15:45:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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