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Need advice regarding paying a childminder during school term and school holidays pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

(30 Posts)
ScrewballMuppet Tue 09-Aug-05 22:06:06

I have found a lovely chilminder for september. The thing is she is new to chidminding and our children would be her first. Since we have only had childcare once its new to us to.

Its the fees side I need advice on. We need her to look after the kids 5 days a week 8-5. Although my eldest will go to full time school in sept and only requires before and after school care, which to me would mean we only pay for that time of 2 1/2-3 hours or so but then we need her for school holidays which would be 9 hours a day. What do you all do? do you pay the 9 hours even during the school terms to ensure you have spaces for the holidays to or does your childminder allow you to pay for just before and after school care and then for the full days IYKWIM.

Its the same with my youngest he will start nursery in sept so we only require her again before and after school albeit more hours than the eldest and then full time during the school holidays.

I am going to be a student with very doubtful prospects of gaining help with childcare because were borderline so we can't afford to pay the £225 a week I think the childminder is wanting. That would mean we would pay the childminder more than what my dh earns each month.

Advice please!!!!!!!!!!!!

spacecadet Tue 09-Aug-05 22:08:31

i think that its at the childminders discretion, but shes entitled to ask for payment even if your child isnt there to keep the place, nurseries charge whether your child attends or not, even holidays.

ScrewballMuppet Tue 09-Aug-05 22:13:38

bump

ScrewballMuppet Tue 09-Aug-05 22:24:01

What is the norm for chilminders to do then, do they normally work in favour for the parents or for themselves?

serenity Tue 09-Aug-05 22:26:12

Spacecadet is right. Unless she can get a term time only mindee to take the hours your eldest won't use, she's quite within her rights to ask you to pay. Some CMs might just ask for a retainer, half fees for example.

I know it seems a lot of money, but this is her business, she's doing it to earn money. Have you looked into tax credits/bursarys etc? My BF is a childminder, and the parent of one of her mindees is at college, he gets a grant from them or the education authority that covers a large part of her fees.

serenity Tue 09-Aug-05 22:28:12

Childminders aren't there to do parents a favour any more than Sainsburys or Woolworths or any other business!

motherinferior Tue 09-Aug-05 22:31:18

I agree with Serenity. You may find a CM with different arrangements, but they're all doing childcare as a job. And why not.

ScrewballMuppet Tue 09-Aug-05 22:33:55

Ouch!!
Ok that wasn't worded very well it came out wrong.

I'm asking for advice just on how you all manage and what your agreements are with your childminders regarding fees for school terms and school holidays?

ScrewballMuppet Tue 09-Aug-05 22:43:21

My dh earns less than 13000 a year and I've been told that because I will get a bursary and the amount of my dh wages were not likely to get help with childcare as were borderline. The bursary wouldn't cover all the cm fees meaning that we would beable to pay the mortgage and that would be it no money for shopping or bills etc... hence me worrying about cm fees.

I'm frightened that i will have to cancel the opportunity of going to uni and be right back at working in newsagents for the rest of my life, never stepping foot in another country, being able to take the kids for days out....its even a fortune to take kids swimming at mo. i just feel I'm swimming up hill

serenity Tue 09-Aug-05 22:52:29

Its horrible being in that situation, earning 'too much' to qualify for help, but too little to actually do anything! The only thing you can do is talk to your CM. Maybe she'll be open to negotiation? If you get on, and she gets on with the kids she might be willing to meet you part way rather than lose them altogether?

PeachyClair Tue 09-Aug-05 23:32:28

Screwball Muppet, we didn't get childcare either (sigh), same as you- I think we were £40 over. BUT they found us other student benefits, eg parent/ adult dependant (for me I guess?), so instead of the £4K loan I exoected, we got almost seven and a half K.

The fees for the childminder are a pain though, really stretching us financially and emotionally, we pay £65 a week (Dh works nights, can pick kids up at 1:45) and that's enough! She doesn't do holidays- you pay full stop, BUT our last one charged half for holidays, I guess it depends?

Have you applied to the Uni for help? Access funds are available as soon as you enrol and would probably help, my Student Services were very helpful on all this when i called them.

Jagienka Wed 10-Aug-05 09:06:22

Hi,
I think a lot depends on a childminder. My first one was a retired lady (but very energetic!) who simply didn't need a lot of money, so she didn't charge me for holidays or days that my DS was at home. She also did babysitting! then we moved and got another childminder. And although she was a very nice lady and her DS and mine liked each other, she let us down on a couple of occassions (she was ill, or her son, she needed a couple of days off) and that's why we decided to send DS to a nursery.
Do you know www.childcarelink.gov.uk? you can find all sorts of childcare around the local area, you can check how much childminders charge and if they give any discounts.
Also I signed DS to a nursery near my university which should save me some money that was spent on travelling.

Bozza Wed 10-Aug-05 10:34:22

Right here's my take on it. We're just going down the childminder route from September when DS starts school, both kids are currently in nursery. For the little one I think you can be pretty much expected to pay full hours - 8 - 5 because he will probably only be at nursery 2 hours and with the journeys there and back and the place being taken up think its a bit much not to pay the lot.

However childminders are allowed 3 under 5s and 3 more under 8s - so your older child is not really taking up a place during the day. Therefore I think you should be paying the 2-3 hours in the termtime but the full amount during the holidays. This is what I will be doing with my childminder although she has a cheaper rate (40p an hour less) for being there all day. She also has a policy of allowing me 4 weeks at 1/2 price for holidays and taking 4 weeks herself which I pay half for. Obviously I will be trying to coincide some of these holidays to prevent me having a childcare problem....

Xena Wed 10-Aug-05 10:48:07

Ok I'm a child-minder and any child who is in school full time (i.e. reception and above) you don't charge all day only before and after school and have a different rate in the holidays. I have 2 parents with contracts like this 1. Pays equal monthly amts as we have work out what it cost over 12 months and then divided it. 2. Pays at the beginning of the week for either full days in the holidays or Before and after amt.

However the nursery age child it would be at the childminders discrection. The NCMA's handbook would say charge for the whold day, as you are unlikely to fill the couple of hours during nursery, yet they take a whole space.
You should also be able to negotiate a discount for the 2nd child (although these discounts are normally applicable to the older childs fee.


The differences between 0-5 spaces and 5-8 spaces are that you are allowed (inc your own) No more than 6 under 8 of which normally no more than 3 should be under 5 and no more than 1 of these under 1. So the School age childs space couldn't be filled all day during term time anyway.

I hope this helps and makes sense.

Xena Wed 10-Aug-05 10:49:04

Sorry Bozza it took me so long to write that and you got there first and yours is easier to understand

Xena Wed 10-Aug-05 10:50:46

Bozza your childminder sounds the same as me I only do it slightly differently I charge nothing for my holiday but full pay for theres (which amts to the same)

Bozza Wed 10-Aug-05 10:51:09

Yes but you have the authority of being an actual childminder Xena - not just a Mum who is about to use one.

Definitely think the point about the older child not taking up a place is valid.

ScrewballMuppet Wed 10-Aug-05 11:45:52

Thanks I'm getting in touch with her today to see about negotiating a happy medium. Will ask if she will do a discount as there are two and see if she will come to an arrangement regarding the school holidays and terms.

i'm going to be studying child nursing so eligible for a bursary, mature student allowance and a small loan which doesn't amount ot much as I'm doing the degree rather than the diploma.
As far as I've been told by the nhs grants is that I'm not entitled to anything else. the kids are classed as dependant on my dh as he is working so not eligible for dependants allowance. its so frustrating!.
Despite not being eligible for chiol;dcare they have said to apply anyway as you never know. Fingers croossed.

PeachyClair Wed 10-Aug-05 12:47:30

I didnt think I could get dependants allowance as DH working, but am getting it nonetheless! My Uni also does a bursary of £1k on application to them, again there is the access fund resource. I really would call student services or e-mail them.

PeachyClair Wed 10-Aug-05 12:50:52

Oh, and I know it's down to the council, but my DH earns four K mor than yours, there must be something? We posted the loans and grants chap a complete breakdown of outgoings, as they can deduct mortgage etc off your income, and pointed out that it was all a commitment (the phrase is pre-existing commitment) as with three kids you dont get a choice, you have to feed them / pay school meals costs, etc. Seemed to work.

feelingold Wed 10-Aug-05 13:50:31

I am a childminder and I only charge school age children for the hours they are with me eg before and after school during term time and all day during school holidays. However if I take to and pick up from playgroup etc where they are only there for a couple of hours I charge for the time they are there cos I can not fill this small slot,and I would be available during this time in case needed.
Having said this childminders work as self employed and therefore we all work slightly differently.

ScrewballMuppet Wed 10-Aug-05 14:22:37

Thanks for all your advice. Ive rung her and asked to see her so going round very soon to hopefully come to an agreement.
I hate ths part of things sorting money out I mean. I always feel so awkward, not wanting to offend or agree to something that can't realistically do.
In an ideal world I'd pay a childminder loads of money as they are in the thick of it.

Peachychair, I've already sent the forms off apart from the childcare one so i'll do what you have done and list outgoings and point out that they are pre existing. Definately will give student services a ring.

feelingold Wed 10-Aug-05 14:55:24

If it's any consolation my childminding friends and myself hate having to sort out the payment side of things, it's always horrible asking parents for money or charging them for illness etc.

fireflyfairy2 Wed 10-Aug-05 16:31:06

My childminder is going to charge me for the hours DD is @ plaugroup as she will need to hold a place open for her incase she is unwell! After that it'd PER HOUR THAT SHE HAS THEM... I thought this was normal...and never questioned her as it made sense to me... Its only 3.5 hours anyway that DD goes to playgroup.

lunavix Wed 10-Aug-05 16:35:09

As a childminder I can only second what everyone says.

For school age children, you aren't charged when they are at school, just before and after, although a CM may have a minimum rate (say 3 hours, so if you drop them off half an hour before and pick up two hours after they may charge for 3.) The place is technically yours for full time or equivalent in the school holidays, it should state all this in the contract.

For 2.5 - 5 year olds, if they go to preschool in theory the CM should still be paid for these hours. They can't fill 2.5 hour slot, plus if the preschool shuts, or the child is sick or unhappy THEY are responsible for collecting them, not the parent.

Hope this makes sense.

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