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After school club didn't tell us DS(8) hadn't turned up and he was in fact home alone

(59 Posts)
chicaguapa Fri 11-Jan-13 23:28:44

DD(11) comes home after school every day, while DS goes to the after school club in the school 3 days a week. Today DH went to pick him up at 4.30 pm and DS wasn't there. shock They said they weren't expecting him, although he goes on that day every week.

Meanwhile DS had forgotten it was an after school club day because they'd had an inset day on Monday so he'd got his days mixed up. On the 2 days he comes home, he walks back and DH arrives home about 5 minutes later, so it wouldn't have been obvious that DS should have been at after school club. By the time he'd put the computer on, both DD and DS lost track of time and didn't realise DH hadn't come home.

DH rushed home and DS was there with DD and had been there since school had finished at 3 pm. DH went back up to school to find out what had happened and they said that they'd been told by DS that he was going to a friend's and wasn't coming. hmm The person in charge was very defensive and DH said that only he or I were able to tell them DS wouldn't be coming. Anyway, long story short is that they'd mixed DS up with another boy and had got their wires crossed.

WWYD? DH is still livid that for the time between arriving at school to pick up DS no-one knew where DS was, when we in fact pay them to look after him after school. I'm just glad he was at home because they'd have been up shit creek if he hadn't been. I'm just wondering if we should take it further as I think it's a serious breach of the DC's safety if they don't have the right controls in place. It's run by an outside company so nothing to do with the school. Thanks.

TheSkiingGardener Tue 15-Jan-13 19:29:03

I hope you get a good response from the ASC OP

whensteaready don't be ridiculous. Quite normal on the continent for kids to walk to and from school from 5 onwards. Suggest you unwrap your children from their cotton wool.

whensteaready Tue 15-Jan-13 19:39:41

TheskiingGardener I am not being ridiculous and at no point have I discussed what is normal on the continent, and to be honest I am not sure why that is even relevant. I do not wrap my kids in cotton wool, I parent them responsibly. My eleven year old is just starting to walk unsupervised now. 8 is far too young to be walking alone and frankly smacks of laziness.

chicaguapa Tue 15-Jan-13 22:05:39

Haha! Lots of different opinions makes the world go round. hmm

I used to take DC up to school and pick them up. I'd find myself walking way behind them while they'd scootered off with their friends and then they would wait at the school gate for me to catch up or outside the house. They begged me to let them go alone.

They walk 100m up a cycle path which has our house at one end and the school at the other. They're not walking in the dark or alone. They both go with friends, DD's calls for her in the morning and DS leaves when his two friends who also live on the cul-de-sac leave. All the cars park on our road to walk up to the school on the same path.

The same goes for home time. DD is alone in the house for 1.5hrs after school 3 days a week. She's shown she can be responsible and trusted. She sends a text when she's home and I call her and have a chat. All she does is sit and watch telly or play on the computer. She absolutely wanted to be home on her own and the small amount of independence has been great for her. She's not allowed to make anything to eat or answer the door. If she answers the phone she has to say that I can't come to the phone and can I call them back. And not to say she's alone.

In fact my mum went round once to drop something off for me and was calling her through the letterbox. We had to phone and ask her to answer the door as she wouldn't. grin

Twice a week DS walks home instead of going to the ASC. Again with his friends and everyone else from school who uses the path. DH leaves his school at the same time so they arrive minutes apart. DS used to have to wait on the doorstep for DH, but DC proved they could be in the house together without fighting, so now he has to wait inside until DH is home. Then he's allowed out to play in the street.

He's desperate to come home after school as he sees that DD can. But we told him that what happened on Friday shows that he's still not mature enough yet to have that responsibility. I sometimes have to be away for work which causes problems in the morning as DH has to leave before the DC. We discussed whether DS could be left for 20 minutes before they leave for school, but decided we weren't comfortable with that yet, so he goes to a friend's for that 20 minutes instead.

It's not laziness though. It's allowing them little amounts of independence and the opportunity for them to show you how responsible they can be and that you can trust them. Small steps to independence absolutely sums it up.

chicaguapa Tue 15-Jan-13 23:16:25

Good news! We've got a letter addressed to all parents at the ASC saying that their policy has now changed and parents must let them know themselves if their DC isn't coming, and they cannot send a message through the DC.

Which is what we wanted really so this couldn't happen again. It's good that they've changed it so quickly.

The staff there were really shitty with DH today when he picked up, but I think some people just aren't big enough to admit they made a mistake and get on with it. And DH has a thick skin. grin As long as they don't take it out on DS, but apparently he's had the best time ever there today so that doesn't seem to be the case.

BackforGood Tue 15-Jan-13 23:20:34

Only what it should have been in the first place of course, but at least that has now been acknowledged in writing. Well done to you and dh for making the time to persue it.

HotheadPaisan Tue 15-Jan-13 23:32:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PickledApples Tue 15-Jan-13 23:50:14

Sounds good - but I would still be asking for a copy of their policy for registration / checking records etc and probably reporting to OFSTED for the sheer fact they have been so shitty about it - and it is a very serious issue at that. Did the letter state what happens if a child doesn't show up? i.e. anything about ensuring contact details are up to date, we will phone after 10 minutes if a child does not attend (who should be there iyswim) or anything?

steppemum Wed 16-Jan-13 00:11:40

My dd has just started Y3. I allow her to walk home sometimes when it is light enough, sometimes at 3:20, sometimes after club.

We live round the corner from school, no roads to cross.

I think it is very important for their independance to learn to do this. I am waiting at home, and if she is late/slow I would start walking to school.

I also allow her to go to the library in our road and the corner shop. Short safe distances with a time limit and task. Why on earth wouldn't you teach them this, as long as you have the context. (couldn't do it if we lived on a busy road for example)

chicaguapa Wed 16-Jan-13 07:29:02

Thanks for the majority support.

hothead It's a good question and it's a good idea to find out. When we started letting them walk to school, we told them how important it was that they arrived and we were trusting them to do so. They'd only have one chance to destroy that. We're not putting all the onus on the school and the DC know it's up to them to get themselves there.

Even in this case DS came straight home. He just didn't know what to do when it turned out he'd made a mistake. We hadn't covered that scenario before. hmm

But you do expect the school to let you know if he's not there. I always phone if they're off, so hopefully there'd be no question that he was supposed to be there if I hadn't phoned.

Once they were being picked up by someone else after school and were asked to wait outside the school office. The school phoned in a panic as the person had arrived to collect them and DC weren't there. She found them outside as to DD where we'd said was in the school office and they were outside. Luckily the school understood where the confusion came from.

So I do think it's important to let the school know what's happening so they don't get fed up looking for your DC all the time. It's just about making sure the relationship is as good as it can be.

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