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Private schools and holidays

(21 Posts)
milkmoney Thu 04-Jun-09 15:14:42

Like many on here we've in been in school appeals nightmare for the last few months and have had our appeal turned down. The school we were offered is not one we want DD to go to - she would know no one and their academic record is awful. We are in the (relatively) lucky position of having an inedpendent school near us and we can just afford to send DD there, although it will be challenging.

The only reason we can afford this is because both DH and I work full time. However, I am now in a total panic about the fact that private schools seem to have about 4 weeks extra holidays a year - we were only just about able to cover the existing ones! Is this normal and does anyone have any experience about how on earth you deal with all this time off while at the same time needing to work to afford the bloody fees in the first place?

LIZS Thu 04-Jun-09 15:19:33

yes it is pretty normal to only have 34-35 termtime weeks. If you are talking about secondary age I suppose it won't be forever that need her looked after. Perhaps you can arrange a swap with someone in similar position or find a holiday activity club (school may run it own)

MollieO Thu 04-Jun-09 15:19:37

Ime yes all private schools seem to have significantly longer holidays than state schools. No idea what you do at secondary age. Our school runs a holiday club that takes 12 and under.

MollieO Thu 04-Jun-09 15:20:52

Should add that ours has a senior school attached.

stealthsquiggle Thu 04-Jun-09 15:23:56

Yes it's normal.

We use a collection of holiday clubs, grandparents, etc - and find other parents in the same situation to come to reciprocal arrangements with. We are also lucky in that DH and I both work from home quite a lot so DS can mooch at home sometimes with us working.

Also, if you are talking about secondary schools, it's not that long before she can be more independent and be at home alone occasionally.

milkmoney Thu 04-Jun-09 15:25:16

Oh joy - I think you're right, I'm sure it will be a problem for a few years then she'll be more self sufficient. Until then I'll need to try and get some unpaid leave which will help the financial situation no end!

stealthsquiggle Thu 04-Jun-09 15:28:01

Don't discount the 'find other parents in the same situation' response - it could half (or more) the amount of time off you need.

stealthsquiggle Thu 04-Jun-09 15:28:42

halve blush

Quattrocento Thu 04-Jun-09 15:31:25

This is normal - they have an extra two weeks in the summer, an extra week at autumn half term and an extra few days at Easter and Christmas

We muddle through. Although muddle is the operative word

giantkatestacks Thu 04-Jun-09 15:33:46

Could you not use the extra weeks to go on holiday yourselves because its often sooo much cheaper - see there is a brightside...

ABetaDad Thu 04-Jun-09 15:45:58

Its a standing joke we tell our friends with DCs in state school. We pay and get less term time than they do for free.

We bridge the gap with holiday clubs but is expensive. We get slightly cheaper holidays though as we can go slightly off-peak.

stealthsquiggle Thu 04-Jun-09 15:47:06

Good point - use the 'extra' weeks to go away (also half terms where they differ from state sector ones) when it is cheaper, less crowded, and altogether more pleasant, and save the 'muddling through' options for core holiday time.

hanaflower Thu 04-Jun-09 15:55:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mistlethrush Thu 04-Jun-09 15:57:40

We've found a local family that ds is good friends with and have come to a reciprocal agreement which helps us both.

There is also a holiday club...

abraid Thu 04-Jun-09 16:02:06

We box and cox with other families in the same situation. Sometimes our local leisure centre does good holiday clubs, too.

LetsEscape Thu 04-Jun-09 16:40:20


yes holidays are very long.. we get 4 weeks Christmas and Easter and 8 to 9 weeks in the summer plus 3 half terms... It takes a while to get used to. Lot's of sharing going on in our school, and granny's play a big role too. I know some people who get summer aupairs and that works well. The big plus is taking holidays before everyone else breaks up It's a lot cheaper and quieter and going to favourite museums etc that are packed in the hols. There are lots of holiday clubs or sports camps but they tend to work in state holidays but if you ask around there are clubs that don't..

Some schools( not ours) do have hol clubs.

Good luck

Somehow it always works out and its lovely to have those relaxed periods.

milkmoney Thu 04-Jun-09 16:59:20

Feeling more positive now - especially going on holiday off peak! Our families live quite far away but DD is really happy to go and stay for days at a time, also the summer au pair idea has given me an idea about her favourite cousin who is at college and therefore has long holidays and need for extra cash.

Thanks for all your ideas. This was the one remaining factor making me hesitant about going for this option but I think we just need to for it as I think DD's eduction will really benefit (braces herself for tightened financial circumstances)

mumoverseas Fri 05-Jun-09 11:32:09

I used to struggle when I was working FT and DCs 1 and 2 went to private school.
As others have said, use the longer hols to your advantage with regards to your family holiday. My DC used to get 4 weeks off at Easter compared to 2 weeks in state school so we'd always go abroad then, choosing the two weeks when state schools still open and it would be much cheaper and quieter.

They used to spend a lot of quality time with nanny and grandad at their home on the south coast and they have many happy memories of that, particuarly as grandad died 4 years ago and nanny last week and much of the last week has been spent talking about the fun things they did with nanny.

Also, look into holiday clubs. What area are you in? We were in West Sussex and there is a fabulous holiday club based in Brighton (Pied Piper Holiday activities) that has holiday clubs running at easter and summer in around 5 private schools spread around the Sussex area. The kids used to love it as they used to do swimming and all sorts of activities and it was perfect for working mums (and dads) You may find there is something similar in your area.

Also, have you considered scholarship exams (too late for September start but some schools let internal students sit them for next year) or a bursary? Worth a go. Good luck

NewTeacher Fri 05-Jun-09 11:46:08

the school itself generally has a summer camp that run as long as their holidays.

Litchick Fri 05-Jun-09 14:39:19

We get 2wks in Oct, 4wks at Xmas, 1wk in Feb, 3.5 wks at Easter, 1wk in May and 8 or 9 in the Summer.
I suspect most are similar.
We limp along by me doing as much work as I cna in term time, using GPs and anyone else willing to help. But I am self employed so don't have set hours so that helps.

Hulababy Fri 05-Jun-09 14:49:30

DD's school (prep, but same as the high school):

Christmas: had a week extra before Christmas, finishes at noon on the Friday 2 weeks before Christmas. Normally go back on a Tuesday.

Easter: again, a week extra, normally finishing at noon on the Thursday before the local state schools finish. Again, go back the Tuesday after.

Summer: another week extra at start of the holiday, again finishing at noon.

However there are no INSET days in addition to those.
Oh, and the holiday companies have definitely cottoned on to the early summer finish - pices are no cheaper for that first week. You can benefit before Easter and Christmas though.

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