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Managing childcare in infant school when living in a childcare-free village!

(28 Posts)
dodi1978 Tue 28-Mar-17 09:49:37


I am starting to really worry about infant school allocations.

We have applied for

School A: excellent school, just down the road and we are likely to get a place there.. BUT: after school clubs end at 4 o clock. The only childminder who used to pick up from this school has stopped the service (I learned yesterday and have been panicking ever since). I have made inquiries (local facebook group, and we seem to live in a completely childminder-free village (stokbrokers belt, lots of SAHMs). Great!

School B: Great school, on my way to work, offering breakfast club and after school provision till 6. Great. But we probably won't get a place as living too far away.

Ever since learning that the one childminder who used to pick up from School A doesn't do it any more I am panicking. How do people manage?

Oh yes, further complications: we have another child to pick up from another place of childcare near my work and a husband who works an hour away. My husband will try to apply for flexible working which, if approved, would mean a 6 am start (and getting up at 4 am) which would allow him to leave just before 3 to manage a pickup at 4. He is getting up at 5 currently and it's already killing him.

Cutting hours almost impossible in my job, financially also not viable at the moment.

I could cry.

PatriciaHolm Tue 28-Mar-17 10:21:39

Would a nanny be a better option if you have another, presumably pre-school child?

Enidblyton1 Tue 28-Mar-17 10:29:26

What are transport links like to London/nearest town? If they are good, consider getting an au pair. Works v well for my friend who is in exactly the same position as you.
(Sadly if your village is a bit cut off, it might not be very appealing to an au pair - hence the question about transport)

bojorojo Tue 28-Mar-17 12:32:39

I live in such a village. You just have to try and employ someone just for you. 4-7 pm might be ok? Is there someone locally who could do that? An evening housekeeper? My friend employed one and it is reasonably cost effective for two children.

Not every state school will, or can, work around parental work hours. Those who need wrap around care here go to the private schools that offer it. Decisions just have to made around the children regarding where to live and where/when to work and not every school can accommodate very long hours on site.

SilenceOfThePrams Tue 28-Mar-17 12:37:52

Taxi from school to childminder?
or instead of childminder, after school helper to do school runs and childcare, possibly cooking tea/supervising homework too?

RunRabbitRunRabbit Tue 28-Mar-17 12:41:18

Have you asked the childminder who used to do pickups for advice and recommendations?

Asked the parents at the school?

The school office staff will know which non-parents do pick ups and might point you in the direction of useful people.

Surely not every single family has a SAHP. There must be others like you.

My childminder has put me in contact with all sorts of useful people, including childminders in the next village over, after school clubs not too far away, and people who will do pick up from school and drop off with her.

CryingShame Tue 28-Mar-17 12:54:43

Where we live a local nursery does after school care, certainly for KS1. Do you have any nurseries in your village which you could ask, in case they offer this service? If there is a parents' group for your DC's school on Facebook, ask on there. I can't believe that there are no other parents in the same difficulty.

dodi1978 Tue 28-Mar-17 13:02:25

Thanks for your answers.

Au Pair - whilst we live in one hours train distance to London, that's not a possibility due to space - we'd go crazy with another adult in the house and two kids sharing a room.

Nanny - also not keen. Yes, we've got DS2 (currently six months), but he'll be going to my workplace nursery from July, just as DS1 did. DS1 loved it there and it's a great place. And it's good value for money as I can salary sacrifice the whole fees via my salary.

We don't have a nursery in my village I am afraid, only a small pre-school, and they don't provide after school care for the school although they are almost next door. Nurseries further in main town do pick ups from particular schools, but not from ours.

Well, I put my feelers out today
- notices on two village notice boards
- asked in shop and one of the shop assistants said she may know someone... asked me to pop in again in a few days!
- went to local pre-school - apparently some staff have in the past provided pick ups from the school next door. Head said she'd ask around and has taken my number. So far the best lead!

Yes, I will try to contact the parents' group - haven't been able to find any contact details for them but will try facebook.

I understand that state schools cannot necessarily provide after school care, but it is very frustrating nonetheless. Going private - we could just about afford it possibly, but it would leave nothing at all to have a decent family life.

BagelDog Tue 28-Mar-17 13:06:04

Do you live in my village? We went with the village school with absolutely no wrap around but otherwise brilliant, went via the school office to contact all the other parents once Place offers were out, and found two other families in the same situation. We managed to find a nanny share who then worked from one of our houses five evenings a week three till seven. She also worked the holidays but three full days so we only had to sort clubs etc for two. Took a bit (!) of organising but has worked well.

hibbledobble Tue 28-Mar-17 13:06:22

An afterschool nanny sounds like the best option for you. Alternatively get a loft extension and an au pair!

dodi1978 Tue 28-Mar-17 13:14:08

Yes, afterschool nanny may be a possibility. Unfortunately, I am not very well networked in the village - DS1 doesn't attend the local pre-school for reasons stated earlier, and we wouldn't be able to get a loft extension done till September I am afraid!
But I do hope that, once allocations are out, we can find other parents in the same situation and maybe arrange a nanny share. Our house wouldn't be great to run it out of - we are still doing lots of DIY in it.
Unfortunately, we are loving with a good, but not great income in a very expensive area. We can't move either as we are completely outpriced of much of the local housing market!

I am sure we'll sort something out, but it is a stress. I am just lucky to be on mat leave at the moment. I have no idea how I'd manage to deal with it otherwise.

dodi1978 Tue 28-Mar-17 13:16:49

Finding that after school nanny will be interesting in itself. Looked at and there is absolutely nobody advertising...

TheSnorkMaidenReturns Tue 28-Mar-17 13:56:41

try gumtree as well

dodi1978 Tue 28-Mar-17 14:00:05

Hadn't thought of gumtree, thanks!

MilkRunningOutAgain Tue 28-Mar-17 16:41:12

Very good advice on here. I have had the same situation for 5 years, DD is now in year 6 so off to secondary in September. DD does not attend the local primary, which has no before or after school clubs and no childminders either. I drive her 30 minutes to a village which has an excellent primary and drop her at 8am at a childminder's and collect her at 6pm. I haven't even looked round our catchment primary, it ruled itself out by having no wrap around care. The main problem is living so far from DD's friends, which does cramp her social life, but we do what we can.

bojorojo Tue 28-Mar-17 16:59:06

So soon you will have three children? This situation needed a bit more planning!

Can you not advertise for a Nanny in the evening? That's what I did and my friend. Anywhere there are suitable adults looking at the advert will do!

StarCrossdSkys Tue 28-Mar-17 17:04:32

Yes get an after school nanny. There will be people who want extra cash - the school must have dinner ladies, teaching assistants etc. Ask absolutely everyone and something will come up. Think about including babysitting or cleaning to increase the hours you can offer as this might make it more appealing to some people.

dodi1978 Tue 28-Mar-17 19:41:33

Just to clarify - I have two children (am currently on mat leave with a six month old). No plans to make it three - that's me done.

I have planned - as I pointed out in the OP there used to be a childminder who was picking up from that school. That was still the case when the application went in. But they are stopping the service after this term (I suspect they have plenty of children from their more local infant school one village down the road).

As for applying non-locally - yes, that's what we have done with School B, and we are very much hoping for that. But as there is no guarantee we will get in, we had to put School A on in order not to end up with School X in the middle of nowhere...

I had a few pieces of good news though that makes me a bit more hopeful. I was given the name of a member of staff from the local pre-school who may provide after school care (have yet to get in touch). And soomeone from the village got in touch via facebook to say that they have children at School B (yeah! - so there is hope). And have a contact for the school's parent association.

It will all be good. Breathe!

lovemylot1 Tue 28-Mar-17 19:47:55

On try widening the search area. Type in postcode then select 15 miles in the drop down as it defaults to 5 miles. Many nannies will travel that far, maybe further.

suitcaseofdreams Tue 28-Mar-17 19:50:17

I had similar issues here with small village, lots of SAHMs etc. And I have twins so need double spaces which can be a challenge. And single parent so no one else to help out. Mine are yr1 now and it's sort of working kfast club, after school club and calling in favours with other parents but it's tough.

Have you asked after school club if any option to extend? Our after school club mostly does 3-5pm but stays open to 6pm on 2 evenings because a parent needed it.
Depending on who runs after school club (i.e. Teachers/school staff vs external provider) you may be able to come to a private arrangement?

Good luck!

Curioushorse Tue 28-Mar-17 19:58:07

Hi. I'm in that sort of village. It's been a nightmare. But there will be people in the same situation. The things people have done here:

Teenage girls for an hour each evening
Sharing childcare between parents (that's what I do. We have a rota between three parents)
Pre-school staff.
After school clubs. Some of them offer pickups.

When she's allocated a place, ask the school. We were given really good advice there.

dodi1978 Wed 29-Mar-17 11:42:19

Well, lots of new insights gained in the last half day.

I had a facebook chat with someone from the parents' association from School A - quite reassuring in the sense that she said that there is some childcare around and that people also help each other out a lot. Said that she'd keep an eye open for people in the same situation, especially after allocations are out.

Also on facebook - two days ago when I had just learned about the childminder not picking up from that school any more I posted a desparate message on the village facebook site - a lady came on saying that she got all three of her kids into School B without a problem and without even going on the waiting list. That was somewhat reassuring.

Went to the local baby and toddler group this morning. A few insights from there into School A / village life.
- I am now famous in the village. EVERYBODY has read my facebook post.
- it IS SAHM / part time mum territory
- The school can be tricky for full time working parents - recently they decided that on Thursday morning, children have to be taken to another school at 9am for Forest School. This caused huge difficulties for some parents, but the majority vote still decided in favour of it. There is now a system of car pooling, but still tricky to organise in terms of car seats etc.
- After school clubs tend to be over subscribed, so don't rely on them

All in all, I am still hoping for School B! When we visited, I felt much more 'at home' as most people seem to be working, many full time. So I don't think they'd pull stunts such as the forest school thing....

bojorojo Wed 29-Mar-17 11:53:28

My apologies. I thought your baby was at a nursery already and that you were expecting another child. My mistake.

The Forest School is a great idea and not a stunt but transport should be provided if it is part of the curriculum. Only schools with stay at home or flexible working parents can drive children to another location. This would not be acceptable to me. In the same way that children have to be transported by coach to swimming lessons in school time. You may be better off at school B. The other problem you will encounter is the difficulty of meeting any parents which may diminish your enjoyment of school and your involvement with it. You may need to think how you will cope when parents are invited to school activities and collecting an ill child. It happens.

dodi1978 Wed 29-Mar-17 12:16:06

I agree that Forest School is a great idea. By 'stunt' I was referring to the lack of transport provided.
Whilst in this case it seems it was all sorted out via car pooling, even just sorting this out would cause me a headache in my normal working life.
I agree I am probably better suited to school B. A pity, as school A is by all accounts a lovely village school.
Yes, school activities will be a problem. Nothing I can do.
Picking up ill children - well, it's got to be done in an emergency, doesn't it? We've already done it four three years at nursery, and we'll cope. Luckily DS1 is a sturdy one who is rarely ill...

Astro55 Wed 29-Mar-17 12:23:44

Is there a local college with child care students? Any 6th formers needing the money?

Any SAHM with teens or even themselves?

Have you asked if any sAHM are thinking of starting being childminders?

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