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Preschool pay/ conditions/ breaks

(11 Posts)
sydenhamhiller Tue 10-Jan-17 13:26:06

Hi, I was just looking for a little guidance, and Mumsnet has always been a great source.

A little background: did a degree, worked abroad for a couple years then got my PGCE but then did something different in Education, and between child 2 and 3 I was a childminder for 3 years. Was a SAHM with child 3 for 4 years, which brought me up to the present date.

I had seen that it was a struggle for DC3's preschool when they were suddenly short-staffed because of illness for example, so I asked if they thought I was qualified, I was happy to do some cover for them as and when in school hours, as I have no ad hoc child care.

Long story short(er), in September after all necessary checks and DBS etc I started doing some short term cover. One morning, and 9-3. That soon expanded to 2 days of 9-3. It is a very lovely preschool, the staff are amazing, I have enjoyed working with small children again.

Then just before Xmas they asked if I would like those 2 days to be permanent, and so I have 5 children I will be key worker for, and expected to go to the team meeting once a month after work, 3-5 pm, unpaid, and have been told "we'll try and give you time to do your paperwork here, but lots of the girls take it home with them". There is no holiday pay (which I expected) but also no sick pay, which is not an issue, but interesting. There is one 15 minute break.

I know I am not alone in this, and childcare is notorious, but I just wondered if this experience is the norm? I know the pay-off is the flexibility of the job in terms of still being around for the 3 kids, and one can't have your cake and eat it. But I hate to feel like I being a mug. (But also hate to think I am being a spoilt princess...)

Matildatoldsuchdreadfullies Tue 10-Jan-17 13:30:46

Difficult to tell from your post whether you're being a mug (you're definitely NOT being a spoilt princess).

I think the real question is, are you working as a Nursery Assistant, or as a qualified Early Years Teacher. If the former, it sounds normal (although I'd expect 15 mins - 30 minutes added to the start and end of each day), but if it's the latter I think they're taking advantage of you.

FATEdestiny Tue 10-Jan-17 13:39:38

Does your job title call you a teacher? Or are you a nursery assistant?

I think nursery work just is a bit shitty, staff turnover is horrendous around here and it's probably due to working conditions.

sydenhamhiller Tue 10-Jan-17 14:01:33

Thanks for the feedback.

I'm a nursery assistant - and really happy with that. After 4 years out of the workplace (even longer really, as a childminder is very solitary), to my shame, my confidence had really gone. So fine with the pay, the 15 min break, no sick pay etc. But I went in saying 'I am happy to help as and when as long as you know it's between 9-3 as I have 2 at primary school - it could be a win-win' (secondary school child is independent-ish), and suddenly, I am going to have to ask favours for childcare or even pay for 2 hours, which I don't get paid for.

I am not work shy, honest, I stayed late and worked weekends in my old 'proper' job, but I was on a professional salary. It seems wrong (for my colleagues too) on a minimum wage.

Does this sort of thing happen to TAs too? I know lunch is usually an unpaid break, and holidays are too. But do they have to stay later than contracted hours, unpaid too? I have done some voluntary work as a TA but don't know about the nitty gritty T&Cs of the job. (Have a sneaking suspicion they probably do too.)

I never thought I would feel nostalgic for childminding... smile

MrsGuyOfGisbo Tue 10-Jan-17 18:27:41

I don't see any advantage for you in being ''permanent' - sounds as if you are already as permanent as you want to be.
Why don't you say you are happy to continue on the current basis?

MissJSays Tue 10-Jan-17 21:29:00

Hi OP,
I am a nursery assistant at a private day nursery, I do 2 days as I am in my final year of uni. Pay is awful, job is stressful but I do enjoy working with the children. We all do 9 hour shifts, 1 hour is unpaid lunch and we get minimum wage. We don't get any time for paperwork, daily sheets are done in the room, planning is done in our own time, however we aren't encouraged to take it home. Next steps completed Jan, May and Sept we are given time to do, however we are very rarely given time to update children's files(learning journeys.) There is a team meeting once per month which lasts usually around an hour (unpaid.)
That's just the facts by the way, I'm not complaining!
My DP is a secondary SEN TA. Could be very different to primary but I'll tell you anyway. He is contracted to work 8-4, he never has team meetings to attend but about twice a year has to help out with open evenings which are unpaid. He gets to go on about 3 residential trips per year, they go out for the day places like bowling, blue planet, the zoo etc. They also go to Wales for 2 nights and once went to Disneyland Paris, which he gets paid overtime for.
Hope this helps, if I were you I'd tell them you're happy as you are and would rather not make it permanent as you have childcare to think about. The stress and paperwork that come with having key children is a big jump from not having to worry about any of it.

rollonthesummer Tue 10-Jan-17 21:34:31

Sounds crap to me-I wouldn't go for it.

PadfootandProngs Tue 10-Jan-17 21:47:37

I've worked in nursery's for many years.
It's the norm! Usually work 8-6 with half an hour unpaid break, planning and learning journals done it own time.
We would also have team meetings and parents evenings which were unpaid.
Mostly on minimum wage, I've been qualified for 9 years and I have been offered £7.50 an hour on my return to work from maternity (working part time as a nursery nurse ), I was getting £7.80 as a room leader.
Unfortunately I think I'm going to have a career change as the pay is just so rubbish for what the job involves, which is a shame as I loved my job so much!!
I do get a bit sad when I see early years practitioners getting a hard time unfairly!!

flouncybeetroot Tue 10-Jan-17 22:14:18

Surely if you're on minimum wage, then they need to pay you for every hour worked? So if you're doing those 2 hours 3-5 unpaid, then that will bring your average hourly wage down to below minimum wage...?

MissJSays Tue 10-Jan-17 22:34:02

padfoot I completely agree. My managers would pay us more if they could but their overheads are ridiculous! I'm not just being naive there, I know as they are my PIL! Nursery insurance on its own is extortionate and that's just the beginning, it's just cost upon cost for them. Breaks my heart that after I graduate I'll have to leave as it just makes no sense for me to stay. I'd be working such long hours for less than a grand a month!! It's just not doable. I'll miss the children and families terribly.

sydenhamhiller Tue 10-Jan-17 22:54:30

Flouncy beetroot: that's what DH has just said to me...
Thanks everyone, I think it might be time to look for something else...

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