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Wraparound care - what is the legal requirement on schools to provide this?

(25 Posts)
MollieO Mon 31-Jan-11 23:41:25

Can anyone advise what schools are required to provide? I thought the law had changed two or three years ago and schools now had to have some provision.

Today I spoke to all the primary schools in our village (3). Two provided a breakfast club from 8am - one with breakfast one with nothing. None of the schools provided any kind of after school care, not even bussing to a third party provider.

Ds is at a private school that provides wraparound care 7.30am to 6.30pm. However very likely and quick redundancy in the next couple of weeks will severely limit my ability to pay fees so ds may well have to move schools.

I was amazed to be told that none of the schools provided anything in the afternoon. There are only 3 childminders who collect from the schools so what does everyone else do? Or will I be the only full time working single parent (assuming I get another job but can't afford to pay fees)?

RoadArt Mon 31-Jan-11 23:48:15

I am surprised to read this. I thought that schools had to provide care from about 8.30 to 3.30 and it wasnt their responsibility outside these hours.

if a school provides a service its a bonus.

Would love to hear about the law changes.

prh47bridge Tue 01-Feb-11 00:21:06

Schools are not under any legal obligation to provide wraparound care.

The last government set a target that by 2010 all primary schools would offer access to childcare from 8am to 6pm for 48 weeks a year. The school could provide this themselves, through the LA or in partnership with local providers. However, if consultation showed that this childcare was not needed the school did not have to provide it.

prh47bridge Tue 01-Feb-11 00:27:22

Pressed "Post Message" too soon...

My local primary school, for example, has clubs before and after school during term time plus some kind of holiday provision. These clubs meet on school premises but are provided independently of the school and parents have to pay if their children attend these clubs. They have limited places available so only around 10% of the children in the school can make use of them. This provision meets the target set by the last government.

The schools in your village have presumably either ignored the last government completely or, more likely, have concluded that the breakfast clubs coupled with provision by childminders is adequate and they don't need to do any more.

MollieO Tue 01-Feb-11 10:09:11

When I asked a couple of the school secretaries what people did she said either mothers or relatives collected the children. We are talking about over 500 children which of course doesn't take account of siblings so the actual number of family groups having to be collected would be less.

I was just very surprised that if I do have to change ds's school and am lucky enough to get another job I would have no way of collecting him from school. It has made me realise why some single parents choose not to work as the costs of childcare around here are very high. I'd need to get a reasonably well paid job to afford childcare on top of living expenses. That is of course assuming I could actually find childcare here, which currently none of the CMs have any vacancies.

There is another school in the next village that does 8am to 6pm and not surprisingly it is oversubscribed.

Bramshott Tue 01-Feb-11 10:13:40

I think they have to be armed with the info about local provision for wrap-around care, but in many cases this might simply be saying "there's an after school club at School X, and you could privately organise a taxi to take your DC there".

MollieO Tue 01-Feb-11 11:42:03

I asked about local provision but got very vague answers. All I could think about was what happens at 3.15pm?! If I get another job similar to what I have now but lower paid I am really stuffed. I could only work half days (my work is specialised and I would have to commute to London).

Weirdly it has made me realise I need to try and keep ds where he is for another year before he has the possibility of switching to another school that offers 100% bursary (assuming he gets a place).

I assume there are taxis that do school runs but I'd worry with ds being only just turned 7 when this will start.

SydneyB Tue 01-Feb-11 13:44:49

I'm surprised that you're surprised to be honest! For me and all the WOHMs I know with school-age DCs this is a massive and ongoing problem involving spinning many plates and juggling various balls. Good luck!

LaVieEnTechnicolor Tue 01-Feb-11 13:51:23

What you describe is I think the commonest situation - schools with on-site before and after-school clubs are very rare. Around here, having an au-pair is a popular childcare set-up. Could you do that?

MollieO Tue 01-Feb-11 14:22:54

I'd have to share a bedroom with ds to have an au pair but it is certainly worth a thought. Definitely have the living space but only two bedrooms.

I chose private school when I realised it would be cheaper than the rates my then CM wanted to charge when ds started school. Did it for convenience but since then there has been lots about schools providing wraparound care so I assumed the position had changed. Have been very surprised indeed, even if I shouldn't have been.

As a single parent (no contact with ex) I already do a lot of spinning and juggling so not sure I could actually cope with any more!

suesfault Tue 01-Feb-11 14:29:08

The school you spoke to is obliged to give you details of childcare in the area that you could use as prh47 says.

IME its not at all unusual that they just don't have the resources to provide the care themselves.

I am deciding whether to return to work and I think it will be impossible for that reason. Even if you can afford to pay there isn't always anything available if you don't live in a city.

NicolaMarlow Tue 01-Feb-11 14:29:16

I think it is very unusual for schools to provide wraparound care. I think from last September they were meant to be able to tell you where you could access it, but that doesn't mean it is easy (or even practical).

I do feel lucky that DS and DD's school has 8-6pm care available for I think 51 weeks of the year (breakfast and after school clubs and then holiday care) in a separately run although with links to the school building. Is also easy to get adhoc care which is what I tend to need. So it does exist, just not universally.

LaVieEnTechnicolor Tue 01-Feb-11 14:36:10

Do you know any of the children and parents at the school/s your son might go to? Is there any chance of doing school run swaps (or even an au pair share)?

grendel Tue 01-Feb-11 14:50:27

The school is supposed to regularly survey the parents at the school to see if there is demand for out of school care. Ideally this should be done once a year since parents' work commitments can change.

If the school can demonstrate that there is little or no demand for extended services, they can satisfy the Government requirements merely by 'signposting' to other local provision, such as childminders or nearby out of school clubs.

I am very surprised that in a school of 500 children there is no demand for an out of school club. Our local school with just over 100 children on the roll supports a very successful club.

The school does not have to provide the childcare itself (ie actually employ the staff) but if there is demand they should be inviting people to tender for running a club for the school.

More info here:

MollieO Tue 01-Feb-11 16:35:24

I do know parents with children at the school so I'm sure I could organise something whilst I wait for a CM place to come free. Just makes me realise how fortunate I am with the provision I currently have access to.

Ds's school do before school care at the school and after school care at the attached nursery (different site so the boys are taken there by school bus). Very easy for me since all I have to do is tell them whether he is on the late or early bus (depending on after school activities).

Jdore Sat 05-Feb-11 09:11:05

Does "Wise Owls" still operate in Maidenhead, they were attached to Winbury school (used premisis not just for Winbury children) but I think they moved to the girls school on the corner of castle hill, is it called Highbury or something? Anyway they do pick ups from surrounding schools

onimolap Sat 05-Feb-11 09:22:50

There is no requirement, as others have pointed out.

Also, the survey system is inherently flawed, as the people they are surveying are those in the school who will of course have already sorted out their after school issues and may well not support additional provision now, though they may well have leapt at it at point of entry. Obviously surveys which are carried out earlier and include joiners mitigate the flaw, but it may well never be done that way.

One thing to try is to see if you can capture a sensible 6th former to do regular babysitting. This only works if there's a nearby school or 6th form college with a workable finishing time.

prh47bridge Sat 05-Feb-11 09:26:41

Visions of the OP lurking outside the local secondary school with a large butterfly net trying to capture a 6th former... grin

MammyT Sat 05-Feb-11 23:05:02

It is a total pain alright. Less than 5% of my child's school's pupils use the breakfast club so either a) they don't need it or b) they chose a school that provides the after school care too.

bitsyandbetty Sun 06-Feb-11 10:01:34

Our school provides afterschool care but only for 45 children so they concentrate on parents who need full time care. I have had to change all my work hours so that I start very early and finish at 3 as I cannot get in to the afterschool club and all of the childminders are booked up. I missed the chance as my DM was helping pick up the kids but is now very ill. We now use the school coach which gives me and my DH time to get to work and back to meet the coach at 3:50. The council wants to stop the subsidy on the coach which could make this less possible to run. I don't know what we will do then. Afterschool care is impossible to get in our area unless you get sorted very early.

crazycarol Mon 07-Feb-11 15:40:47

At dds primary school they only have a breakfast club, but not to provide childcare for working families, it is to provide a breakfast for the kids who were turning up to school having had nothing.

MollieO Mon 07-Feb-11 18:13:17

Ds's current before and after school clubs are food free. I'm happy to pay for a provision that doesn't include food.

Wise Owls offered a service briefly but stopped when they were only picking up one child in total from all three village schools.

southeastastra Mon 07-Feb-11 18:15:32

i think children's centres should start a/s clubs - would make sure they were used for all ages not just under 5s. our council is cutting funding for subsidised a/s clubs so situation will get worse for lower paid full time workers. it's grim

chillikate Wed 29-Jun-11 13:42:21

I'm reading all this with interest. My DS starts school in September. The after school club for our town is icouncil run and n another school. They have space for him, but no space on the mini bus currently.. I am a bit lost about what to do. If he went to the hosting school he'd get a pl;ace no problem, but its out of catchment.

sarahfreck Wed 29-Jun-11 16:39:08

Try your council website. Ours council can supply details of all alternative childcare possibilities in your neighbourhood including local childminders and after school clubs

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