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NHS Bursary - What did you do about childcare on placements? What should I do? Live in?

(7 Posts)
ILoveTamsinGreig Wed 02-Apr-14 10:07:15

I will be going to university in September. My first choice uni is about an hour away and an easy commute by train. However the placements are all over the place. I could be lucky and get one of the hospitals that are 20-30 min away, or I could be unlucky and get one of the places 2-3 hours away. You only get 2 main placement hospitals over the 3 years.

I've spoken to someone at NHS bursary and she said that commuting times could be claimed for and if I chose to stay overnight then I can claim for that too. She said that when I am on placement I could, for example, claim for a ofsted registered au pair or nanny. I asked what would happen when I came off placement and went back to uni and didn't need such intensive childcare. She said it was 'fine' as I can change my provider. So the upshot seems to be that I can get an au pair, but I would have to fire her after the placement block is over and use a childminder/after school nanny etc for the few hours I would need. When I went back on placement I would need to find another nanny/au pair.

Does this sound right?

As an aside, I haven't got the sort of house or location that is going to have nannies/au pairs flocking to my door.

Does anyone have any experience of needing to radically alter the amount of childcare when switching between uni/placements? I probably won't need before school childcare and after school I will need 3 days (I get Wed off and their dad can have them one day).

If I did have live in childcare, how does the claim work, if they assessed that I only actually needed, say 15 hours speed over 3 days?

I'm very confused.

NomDeClavier Wed 02-Apr-14 11:09:36

You don't need or want to fire your childcarer. Many people, especially shift workers, have flexible contracts with a live in nanny (or AP assuming your DC are old enough).

alita7 Thu 03-Apr-14 11:35:16

hi I'm a nursing student with a bursary and placements etc...

1. like you say you will only need the child care when on placement, and unfortunately you won't know what you'll need until you find out the placements which may be as little as 6 weeks in advance... Some you may work 9 - 5, some you may work changeable shifts which you plan a week - a month in advance depending on what your mentor is working. others may be 12 hour days 3 days a week. While at uni you won't need this, at my uni you go in 3 days a week during theory time and it's not even all day so you might be able to get away with no childcare.

2. your bursary will give you an allowance to cover some or most of your childcare during theory time.

3. During placements it works differently, you can claim back travel costs above what you pay to go to uni during theory time. so if you travel 1 mile to uni and 3 miles to placement you can claim for 2 miles . you must provide evidence of the cost each trip if using public transport (train or bus ticket) they will not fund taxis. which is very hard on a 12 week placement. you get a certain amount back per pound for petrol not the whole cost If you drive. They will fund staying away if they deem it necessary.

4. You can claim for different childcare but I haven't done this so I'm not 100% sure how it works but like you said, you wouldn't need It when not on placement and would have to fund it yourself during non uni times if you chose to continue with it.

5. All extra placement costs, travel and child care, are claimed on a a claim back basis, so when you finish the placement you send a form with details of your costs to the bursary people who get it back to you MONTHS later. so you have to somehow provide this money upfront... which Is ridiculous in my opinion on a tiny bursary.

so I'd advise you keep costs as low as you can especially as they do not give as much back as you spent in most cases.

The good news is you can request a change of placement if you need to - I did this and although it was stressful and my uni made it as difficult as possible, it was eventually changed as I was placed somewhere that would take me 2 1/2 hours to get to and the same back with my disabled dsd had just come to live wit us from a traumatic environment and needed stability. I could not travel 5 hours a day on public transport as we don't have a car especially when the place wasn't easy to get to so I'd have had to have walked a long way in the dark as they worked 12 hour long days... that's a 17 hour day... no thanks. They eventually changed it to somewhere half an hour away smile

alita7 Thu 03-Apr-14 11:36:23

also you will have a uni hardship fund... but the criteria is very specific and you have to provide every detail and evidence letter under the sun including children's birth certificates...

ILoveTamsinGreig Thu 03-Apr-14 17:31:08

Thanks. That's really helpful.

The 'bad' placements are around 90 miles away and they have said that people who live in Halls can swap for hospital accommodation and claim the money back. It's 90 miles on bad roads too, cross country with no direct train service. They've said that it's 9-5 in the first 2 years but obviously that could change.
I've never used any childcare before so I'm a bit worried about finding someone who is willing to work roughly 5 hours after school 3 days a week for 8 weeks and then a few weeks of nothing and then another 8 week block (or whatever). I know some people who work shifts etc end up paying for childcare that they don't use but I won't be earning anything and I can't claim for childcare I'm not using. Plus I'll be paying something towards my 180 mile daily round trip (plus parking - closer hospitals I can get the bus).
If I got one of the closer placements then they could just go to the after school club.
It's possible that my lack of experience with childcare is making me panic. I feel quite panicky about the whole thing.
There is also the issue that I will be out of the house before they are up and the little one will be in bed when I get home but I'll just have to suck that up.

ILoveTamsinGreig Thu 03-Apr-14 17:45:13

I've just found a pdf on google that says they give priority to people with care or other SN.

I keep thinking I'll be lucky and get a good placement, or at least not get one of the really bad ones.

alita7 Thu 03-Apr-14 18:12:33

they do try to be accommodating for people with other responsibilities - they don't want people quitting a course that the Nhs has paid for because they have no one to look after their kids or they feel their kids get no time.

You won't be living in halls with kids so they won't expect you to up and move for a placement don't worry.

If you're doing nursing you community placements will be 9-5. Ward placements normally vary between 7- 2.30 (roughly) with 12.30- 8 (roughly) and a night shift or 12 hrs during the day, 12 hrs at night. You won't have to do nights in most unis. If you do its none 1st year and about 3 a year after that.

Some child minders are willing to do short term work, maybe look into it in your area?

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