after school conundrum - Bubbablue and me

The after school conundrum

When you’re a working parent you do have a lot more to think about in planning the logistics of your child going to school. You have to think about whether there’s a morning club and after school clubs. And you pray for wrap around care. For those who send their children to schools which have full wrap around care, they don’t often realise that not all schools do this. Small schools just can’t cater for it because there isn’t always the uptake to make it worthwhile. Or affordable to have extra staff to cover the wrap around care.

We were so lucky. Just before N started at the school they started a morning club. It’s just an extra 45 minutes before the start of school and there’s minimal cost. It means working parents can get their children to school as well as getting to work without scrabbling to try and find a childminder who can do drop offs at school, in a village location which is virtually impossible.

The school also do lots of after-school clubs. However, apart from one which goes on until 5, most of them finish at 4:15. The doesn’t work with the normal working day. Luckily the local nursery school started doing after school club and could do school pick-ups as well. It used to work well because most of the younger children were gone by 3 as they were doing only preschool hours.

after school conundrum - Bubbablue and me

Changing times

But more recently they’ve had an influx of very young toddlers there for afterschool hours too, when all the children from school rock up. Now he’s older, he’s not so keen on being there with the younger children. And moans that he doesn’t get enough food anymore because the younger ones get the food that previously they would have had. So there’s not enough for seconds or larger portions. The nursery have said that he eats plenty (6 slices of pizza one day!) but he does come home starving every time (not that that’s unusual). I’m not sure how much is just him being a hungry child..

The OH always moans that N is too old to be going to a nursery for after-school club. Yes, he is now that the really young children, are there especially in the winter where the older children are stuck inside due to the weather. But there’s plenty of schoolchildren who go, so I’m not too worried at the moment. It’s really the only solution as I can’t just change my hours and wouldn’t necessarily want to to lose that much of the school day to finish at 2:45 every day.

But N is also being worn down by the OH and it sounds like the OH is planning that N won’t be going to after school club next year. Which of course is all very well, but I’d like to know how he’s going to manage school pick ups.

Currently N does tennis club on a Monday and the OH picks him up after that. But next year he’ll be too old to do the tennis club at school so that will be 4 afternoons a week that the OH will need to do 3:15 pick up every day. I doubt that will happen.. Instead I expect my sister-in-law will be asked to pick him up and drop him at the farm because she already does the school pick up for her son. That’s all very well but it puts her out and it puts the in-laws out if the OH isn’t around.

With N then heading out onto the farm after school, it means homework won’t be done. In an ideal world if he’s been picked up earlier, he should be able to get his homework done earlier and get it out of the way. But that’s not realistic because I won’t be home to help him and the OH certainly won’t. Not good when he’s gone into key stage 2 and I’m expecting more homework to be produced.

We also need to sort out Tuesdays. Tuesdays are a nightmare because the children have swimming in the afternoon and parents have to pick up from the swimming pool.. It’s not far but I can’t see the OH picking him up from the pool, and my sister-in-law won’t be doing the pick up from there anymore.

Currently someone from nursery picks up N at the same time as her son and takes him back to after school club. It’s an inconvenience for her and I feel bad that she has to do it, but it is a solution that currently works for us. I can’t see another solution that the OH will work out. So realistically I think N will still go to after school club one day a week at least.

Childcare voucher worry

At the moment I pay the maximum into my childcare vouchers at work. Because of this uncertainty I’ve reduced my payments so I’m not left with a massive backlog of money sitting in my account that I then can’t use. But then if we’re still using after school club once a week I’m still going to need those vouchers paying-in. I don’t want to pull out of the scheme and not pay anything, later finding that we might want to put him in holiday clubs or other courses that I could pay for with childcare vouchers.

So it’s all up in the air at the moment and I’m not really sure what the plan is. It doesn’t help that the OH won’t plan anything. It doesn’t worry him that him not making a decision will cause hassles for everyone else.

We need to work out over the summer holidays what day N will be going to after school club. He’s also got a friend who wants to go to the after school club with him, so maybe that will persuade N that it’s still ok for him to go to the nursery. We’ll also see if there are some after-school clubs at school that will work better for a later pick up that maybe I can manage.

It’s always a logistical nightmare when you’re a workingschool parent, as well as getting into school for meetings with teachers or events. Although it usually all works out, so hopefully it will do this time as well.

How do you manage the logistics of school runs and clubs alongside work?

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  1. Our school doesn’t do wrap around care, but it is available from other providers (one in the school and one in the building next door). This means we can get care 8.15 – 6. We use breakfast club 4 mornings a week and after school club 3 evenings. However, this could change in September as B wants to do an extra dance class which is at the same time as after school club. Haven’t resolved that logistic issue yet…

    1. That’s handy. Ours is good but it’s a shame there’s nothing just for school age kids at the school. I was so relieved when N’s school started morning club the year N started. Lots of his year use it.

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