The One With An £800 Bill, No Childcare And Two Weeks Left To Work…

Jess McGlynnAugust 9, 2013

I am a working parent.  I have been a working parent ever since Meg was 9 months old.  I say this, not because I feel it differentiates me from a mum who chooses not to work or cannot work but because that is my situation.

Meg has attended the same nursery in Loughborough since she was 9 months old, Eli since he was 5 months.  We have put into this nursery which, to be honest, doesn’t always offer the highest standard of childcare, several thousands of pounds.  At one point we were paying around £850 a month for Meg to attend the nursery.  So it’s fair to say, it’s cost us a fair bit of money.

A few months ago I was handed an invoice which stated that we owed an amount which was almost 3 times our monthly payment.  This was because, apparently, we had been underpaying the nursery since we changed the days that Meg and Eli attended.  The change that had been made at the nursery’s request as they had overfilled their available spaces and which resulted in me having to make a request for a change of hours at work to accommodate the nursery’s mistake.

We had been paying the amount which was agreed between my husband and the nursery manager.  It seems completely illogical that we would deliberately underpay for 3 months and hope to not get caught out.  But this was a case of the nursery’s word against ours, we hadn’t signed a contract with them since Meg started so there was no paperwork to prove either of us were in the right.

So, we called them and agreed that when Meg started school we would begin to pay back the money.  We would pay them back in good faith.  However, as life has a habit of not staying the same, I decided to leave my part-time job to begin freelance work.  This meant that Eli would no longer need his nursery place, and this week we let the nursery know that when Meg finished for school, Eli would also leave.

The nursery’s reaction was to tell us, in no uncertain terms, that Meg and Eli could no longer attend the nursery.

Full stop.

I have two weeks left to work out my notice at my existing job, and no childcare.

The nursery manager feels that, despite us being two very upstanding and normal members of the community, we are trying to ‘do a runner’ and will refuse to pay the outstanding money once Meg and Eli have finished.  She is due with her second child shortly and ‘doesn’t want the hassle’ of chasing us down to make us pay.  My husband tried to reassure her that our intentions were to pay the remaining fees at the end of the month which would put us in the clear, but apparently without paying them the money right now, she has no reason to believe that we will.

We barely, barely make ends meet.  After we have paid for our childcare, I make us just enough to go towards important things like feeding my family.  We don’t have the £800 the nursery wants us to pay to bring us up to date and to keep Meg and Eli’s places at the nursery open for the next two weeks.

I’m not sure I know of many people who would happen to have £800 lying around in the current climate.  Perhaps the nursery manager does, and that’s why she is behaving so unreasonably.  Lucky her.

Frankly, if someone posted a cheque for the exact amount needed through my door right now, I still wouldn’t give it to the nursery.  I don’t know how they can be so, so…ridiculous.  They obviously do not give a flying fig that we have had our children in their nursery for 4 years.  That we have paid our bills on time.  That we know the staff personally.  That we have moved hours and days around several times to help them out.  That without childcare I cannot complete my remaining two weeks at work so will lose out on two weeks of pay.

If we were talking about an elite nursery, who have offered my two children exemplary care throughout their time, then I would probably shrug my shoulders and say we had a good run, but I know, and I have heard from other parents as well, that this nursery have persistently messed up finances and have failed to provide consistent care for our children.  So I won’t…I don’t care if I go down in flames for it but I will name and shame this nursery.

I cannot believe that a nursery would be allowed to do this.  More than that, I cannot believe that a nursery would value its reputation so little, that it would do this without any thought to the repercussions.  You can be assured that I will be making sure local people know how utterly abominable the nursery is, and will be warning potential parents off it at all costs.

I don’t want to feel responsible the next time a parent unwittingly gets handed an invoice demanding thousands of pounds payable that very day or else their children will be turfed out.

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