After School Care - Your options

After school care – childcare options for school aged children

What are the options for After School care?

When children start Nursery or School it is common for parents to consider changing their current full time after school care arrangement to part time. Changing childcare is never an easy decision, so the team at Absolute Childcare have written this guide to help you navigate:

 

Why is it so difficult to find After school care?

After school nannies are also known as Wrap around care Nannies.
This type of childcare is highly sought after so competition is fierce.
To fully understand why it’s so difficult you need to understand it from the Nannies perspective:

 

The Hours:

The hours are not set in stone and can be flexed to meet your needs, but they tend to be 7.30-9 and 3-6.30/7pm, plus full days in the school holidays. The same concept applies for children at Nursery, but these hours tend to be a pick up at around 12 noon and a finish at 6.30/7.
As you can imagine, getting out of bed on a cold and wet morning for an hours work isn’t that appealing to most, so afternoon only roles do tend to be more attractive to the Nannies seeking this type of role. You may think that the Nanny will be able to find another role, but it is practically impossible to find a contracted/stable role, particularly as a Nanny, that will fit in with your requirements, particularly if you need part time during term time and full time in the holidays. So in a nutshell, the split shift/stop start isn’t that appealing and there simply aren’t enough hours for the vast majority of nannies to pay their bills.

 

Minimum requirements

Most Nannies need an absolute minimum of 25 hours per week, and even then competition is really fierce and finding high calibre, experienced Nannies willing to work such short hours is VERY difficult. If you can provide more hours in the region of 30-35 hours per week your search will be much easier.

 

So what’s the solution?

Comprise!

– Pay more than the competition
– Offer more hours to make the job sustainable
– opt for less experience (Babysitter/Au Pair or Student)

 

Boost the hours:

If possible, boost the hours with house hold duties related to the children’s care, the standard duties are, children’s laundry and ironing, bedding, tidying and organising the children’s rooms, diary management/planning, errands and meal preparation/batch cooking. If they have this additional time prior to the children’s arrival home, they are able to concentrate fully on the children once home from school. Pet care/dog walking is also another role that some nannies are happy to take on that will boost hours.
You could even include Personal Assistance duties if need admin support. (Nanny/PA).

 

School holidays

The hours in the school holidays will boost the overall annual hours considerably, this will help. If you don’t need full time hours in the holidays, you should retain the nanny at the same rate as the term time hours.
What are the childcare options?

 

Full time Nanny/Housekeeper

Ideally over 40 hours per week to attract a good one
This is a great solution if both parents have demanding roles with no family back up should the children be home from school unexpectedly. (Wrap around care nannies are not contracted to be available if you aren’t paying them to be).
The responsibilities vary, but generally speaking the Nanny takes care of the children when home, to include play, homework support, after school activities, meals and the bedtime routine.
Whilst the children are at school, the Nanny takes care of diary management, organisation of after school activities/holiday clubs/appointments, grocery shopping, school admin, errands, organising children’s rooms, batch cooking, packing for holidays, family laundry and pet care. (If pet friendly!)
The difference between a Nanny/Housekeeper and Housekeeper is simply the focus of responsibilities, the Housekeepers main priority is the household cleaning and management (for the entire family) with less emphasis on the children. This is a great solution if a parent is at home with young children and needs some support with the house and children, or with teenagers that need a responsible adult to be home, but require limited care/support.

 

Nanny/PA

A similar concept to above, but instead of the emphasis being on household duties, the Nanny takes care of Admin duties. Some will also take care of household management duties/light housekeeping related to the children/plus pet care. Again, most will want a minimum of 40 hours per week.

 

Nanny share

A great option to save money as the cost is shared. Speak to other Mums at the school and see if you can join forces, this works great if the children are friends already. By sharing the Nanny your costs are reduced and you can afford to offer an above market rate. £20 net per hour will attract Teachers and experienced Nannies.

 

Nannies with own children

In this arrangement an experienced Nanny will bring their own child to work with them. Your child’s routine remains in place, to include their after school activities and play dates, but the Nannies child will come along too. Bear in mind that these are professional and experienced nannies so managing the demands of two or more children will not be an issue.
This arrangement does offer great flexibility and the hourly rate tends to be less too, as the nanny has no childcare costs of her own. (in the region of £12 net per hour for after school care).

 

Au Pair

An au pair is a young adult aged 18 to 30 who travels to a foreign country for a defined period of time to live with a host family. The au pair supports the host family with childcare and light housework while learning the language and culture of the host country.
The salary level will vary depending on hours required, experience and level of English, in the region of £100-200 per week. They tend to stay with families for around 6-9 months.
More information regarding the costs and pro’s and cons of Au Pairs can be found here:
https://www.lovemoney.com/guides/19755/is-an-au-pair-a-good-way-to-cut-the-cost-of-childcare
Au Pairs are not nannies.

 

Childminders

Childminders are carers who are registered with OFSTED. They look after children in their own home, and will have undergone inspections as well as basic training and first aid courses. The cost varies as each Childminder sets their rate, but on average £6.50 per hour per child. You will need to provide nappies and food, although some Childminders provide this for an additional cost.
A list of providers in the Richmond Borough can be found here: https://www.richmond.gov.uk/services/children_and_family_care/childcare

 

Students

Students often take on these roles if they have had experience working with children as Babysitters, through voluntary roles, part time weekend work or through their University course if childcare related.
The timetable for the Academic year tends to change each year, so you may find the Student is only able to commit for a short period of time. They may also need support in other areas, such as cooking. The salary tends to be in the region of £12-15 gross per hour. It is also difficult to find a Student that can cover every afternoon due to their Lectures.
Absolute Childcare specialise in experienced Nannies, if you wish to employ a babysitter/Student, you could try www.Korukids.co.uk
We haven’t described after school clubs as you will be aware of this solution.

 

Paying your nanny

Annualised Salary

This method is the most popular amongst nannies and enables them to budget, rather than having to cope with fluctuating salary levels during term time and holiday periods. To do this you will need to work out the hours you will require over the year – so add up term time hours, inset days and holiday hours and divide by 52 weeks – this will then give you an annualised average. The salary is then paid in 12 equal instalments.
If the Nanny resigns before completing a full year, the contract should state that any unused hours will be deducted from final salary.

 

Salary expectations

The less hours you require, the higher the hourly rate.
If you offer a decent hourly rate and enough hours, you will attract experienced Nannies and Teachers seeking a work life balance. Minimal hours/low hourly rate will attract inexperienced babysitters.
Babysitters are not professional Nannies.

 

Salary levels in the Richmond Area (As of March 2021)

The average salary for a Nanny in the Richmond Borough for FULL DAYS, is in the region of £12-14 net per hour. This of course varies based on experience, but most experienced Nannies will not accept less than £12 net per hour. (Net is the figure the Nanny takes home – tax, Ni and Pension is paid on top)
As a gross comparison, £12 net is around £15 gross per hour. On top of this you will need to pay Employers NI and pension.
You can find a breakdown of costs here: https://www.thesalarycalculator.co.uk/salary.php
The going rate in the Richmond Borough for experienced Nannies working wrap around/after school care hours is in the region of £15 net per hour. (Approx. £17.50 gross per hour) If the Nanny works for 20 hours per week at £15 net per hour, it equates to a gross annual salary of £18,500 gross per year.
Whatever you do, ensure you offer a GROSS salary. This is even more important if the Nanny has a 2nd job as it will effect the Nannies net salary which could cost you more. More information is available here: https://absolutechildcare.co.uk/client-information/always-agree-a-gross-wage/

 

Don’t start deducting salary when you go on holiday.

When you start deducting working weeks due to your own holiday plans, the role becomes less attractive to the Nanny. Imagine if your employer decided to shut your office during the School holidays without pay….
My advice is to treat your arrangement with the Nanny in the same way you would enter into an agreement with a Private Nursery, you pay for the availability, even if you choose not to use it.
If you stop and start the nannies salary they will understandably leave as they cannot pay their bills.
If you don’t pay the nanny when you are away, you will need to offer the Nanny a contract based on her annual working weeks. For example, if you only need 5 weeks of the school holidays covered and the Nanny will not be paid for the remaining 8 weeks (based on a state schools 13 weeks holiday) you will be offering a 44 week contract, not a 52 week contract.
This will be a cost saving, but it does have its negatives….
• It will be even harder to find a Nanny as the overall ability to make up their salary in the holidays has been taken away.
• Any weeks that the nanny is not required to work are classed as non-working weeks. Not holiday. As such, the Nanny will need to be able to take her holiday allowance during the contracted working weeks. Holiday is accrued each week that an employee works. If you are not able to accommodate time off during the contracted weeks, you will need to PAY for the holiday that the Nanny has been unable to take. The same applies for a term time only Nanny.
• If they are not contracted to work and you suddenly need cover – they may not be available

 

So do Wrap around Nannies actually exist?

Yes they do, but they are not easy to find.
Generally speaking there is a reason that someone will apply for wrap around care and it tends to be around a work life balance or a role that fits in with their studies or own family. As such, you may need to consider tweaking your requirements to meet their needs too.

 

Employers obligations:

Even when employing a part time Nanny you will have obligations such as paying your employees tax, Ni and Pension. You also need to provide regular pay slips and a contract of employment. Absolute Childcare can assist with this and offer a payroll service. Further details here: https://absolutechildcare.co.uk/client-information/paye/

So in a nutshell, if you want a high calibre nanny you will need to:

• Offer enough hours and salary
• Provide a stable role and a contract
• Pay the Nanny 52 weeks of the year
• Treat your Nanny well, the person caring for your Children needs to be happy.
Our focus at Absolute Childcare is finding experienced childcare professionals that are the right match for your Family.
If you would like to assistance finding a Nanny, Housekeeper or PA, Absolute Childcare would be happy to help, please call to discuss: 0208 15 00 017 or [email protected]
Further details regarding job roles, employer responsibilities, PAYE, interview questions etc can be found at our website: www.absolutechildcare.co.uk