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Mature student - missing lectures due to childcare frowned on?

(12 Posts)
user1488756360 Wed 17-May-17 20:20:23

Hello. I'm a mature student with school age children and will be starting uni in September.

Just wondering if anyone has any experience of needing to miss lectures due to childcare issues. During school term time I will be fine as both kids in school but I will be in uni over October and February half term. Will it be frowned upon if I missed the odd lecture?

I had a word with one of the lectures at an open day who said that while they still obviously wouldn't recommend skipping lectures but if you have a genuine reason then it would be ok.

How many lectures is too many to miss? shock

Foureyesarebetterthantwo Wed 17-May-17 20:24:56

It depends if your uni records you being there or not, some do for some courses due to visa requirements for non-British individuals (so they record everyone as its easier that way). If there's a register, it might be recorded but even then it doesn't mean you will be in trouble. Attendance is very poor towards the end of term in my classes as deadlines hit, which is annoying given how much students moan about lack of contact time!

If you miss the minimum amount and make an effort to catch up (e.g. sometimes they are recorded/online) then I don't think twice a term is a big deal. If you attended everything else, that would make you one of my better attenderssmile

SleeplessByTheSeaside Wed 17-May-17 20:31:45

It depends on the uni/course but if there's quite a lot of people on it, the lecturers won't even notice. They can hardly force you to attend anyway!

I missed loads of lectures in my first 1.5 years of uni as I was working part time (as well as having occasional childcare issues). In the first term I tried approaching the lecturers to explain and apologise that I wouldn't be able to attend tomorrow's lecture etc etc. They either didn't give a toss, and looked like they wondered why I was telling them, or made patronising comments of "well, if you don't want to attend....." as if I'd just told them I was planning on bunking off to go down the pub, not that I had to work extra hours to support myself financially, or my child was sick...!!

So after that I didn't bother. Just check which lectures seem likely to be most important, and if any are compulsory (I have some seminars/lab sessions on my course which are compulsory to attend).

Skedaddled Wed 17-May-17 20:42:07

Just wanted to say it depends on your university/course. I'm studying a 2nd degree in healthcare and we need 80% attendance to progress each year. But first time I studied as long as you were passing assignments nobody cared what lectures you attended (or didn't)!

user1488756360 Wed 17-May-17 21:00:28

That's for your replies.
I have a few lectures that are lab based/practical so I wouldn't miss those (my parents will hopefully help) but childcare during both half terms is potentially going to be an issue. The rest of the time when kids are at school I will make it to all lectures with maybe the odd leaving 10 mins early to get back for school run. I've lined up childcare but I'm finding that I'll need to pay for a full after school session when I only need 30 mins which is going to work out at around £55 per week during term time so if I can make it back it will save us around £200 per month.

smellylittleorange Tue 11-Jul-17 20:48:25

See if you can get term dates from the uni..some half terms conveniently are the same week as reading week !

DeadDoorpost Thu 03-Aug-17 17:02:41

I agree with orange.. reading week usually falls on the same week as half term.

It honestly depends on your course and uni however. My course and uni were very on the ball about people who were skipping seminars and lectures and required us to let them know if we weren't going to be able to attend.
Some universities also have a nursery on site; if yours does, see if you can find a contact number for them to possibly talk about childcare arrangements if you need to. They may have a limit on age though.
Also,it would be worth talking with Student Services about any concerns as they may have information regarding possible ideas you wouldn't be aware of. Are you eligible for funding? Have you come across this link and is it useful?

SuzieQuatro Thu 03-Aug-17 17:08:35

I'm an academic. Where I teach lectures aren't compulsory so it's up to you if you attend or not.

Seminars, workshops and practicals are compulsory.

If you're missing compulsory sessions you need to let the department know as far in advance as you can. If you miss more than three without letting us know, you will be called to a meeting with your academic adviser to identify what the issue is.

Though lectures aren't compulsory most academics take a very dim view of students who don't attend but then rock up near deadline time with a list of questions about assessments which were very clearly answered in the lectures not attended.

If, like you, students have a perfectly valid reason for not attending lectures and then come with these sorts of questions, that's absolutely fine.

My advice would be to let your academic adviser (sometimes called a personal tutor), the department administrator and all of your module leaders know the situation as soon as you start. If you do miss lectures and then follow up with the lecturers about things you've missed, I always appreciate it when students say something like "Apologies for missing the lecture but I had childcare issues. I have a couple of questions about the material..." rather than just "I didn't come to the lecture on Monday, what was it about?"

You'd be shocked at how often this happens.


SuzieQuatro Thu 03-Aug-17 17:11:37

Should add, I'm always very happy for students to bring their children along to lectures if childcare is an issue as long, of course, as the children don't cause any sort of distraction at all. Obviously seminars, workshops and practicals aren't as easy for children but I'd say student parents are welcome to try as long as they understand they'll need to remove their child if they become a distraction

I teach social sciences though so no lab work involved smile

SlB09 Thu 03-Aug-17 17:24:26

Totally agree with PP, as long as your open and communicate with your tutors you should be fine. They will recognise your needs are genuine, just discuss it with them from the get go and you can devise a plan to manage things. Good luck with your course!

Sofabitch Thu 14-Sep-17 01:38:37

Having just done a degree with labs and 4 school aged children... i will say those on my course thst struggled the most were the ones that didn't have robust childcare in place.

Some of our units had compulsory attendance to pass... but even then i think it was set at 80%... although one of the lab based classes you lost 5% for each one you missed.

Lectures are this weird thing where often I felt when sitting there they are pointless to attend but I found it harder to learn the content of lectures I missed.

Daniellemakesyousmile Tue 19-Sep-17 11:31:56


I just had to add my experiences about this. As our university have many international exchange students (and also want to have good attendance record) they say we need to have 85% attendance. Last year My spouse got sick for one week, then the kids got sick and I eventually was sick for weeks. This meant I missed many lecturers.

Apparently, having sick kids aren't a valid reason for not attending. And I was almost close to getting kicked out. I was terrorised with emails everyday about missed attendance and what will happen with me and bla bla.

Furthermore, during my year two project my supervisor changed the weekly time to another day on Sunday, "We will have visitors on Tuesday and will therefore have the meeting at 15.00 on Wednesday". I emailed straight back and said that won't work as I have to pick the kids up from nursery and school 15.30. He told me I had to be available for him from 9-17 five days per week, despite being a 10 credit module. He refused to reschedule and once again marked me as not attending. Then he used my problems as a reason to tell me off during the meetings "you can't really say anything as your missed 3 meetings of 12, in comparison with some of your group members with 100% attendance". Ridiculous!

I haven't received any understanding at all and they push me as hard as they do with young single students in their 18-20s.

But, do not fear! I have learnt one thing from this, and that you get very wise with your time. So as soon as I can I study. I don't watch TV. I don't even own a TV and I don't use social media and so as my younger counterparts. This means, I am studying while many of my fellow student procrastinate or go out and drink and I am one of the best in the class. smile

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