Help with balancing work, school and childcare

Do you find arranging the school run, childcare and your own working hours feels like a juggling act? Are your working hours longer than your child’s school day and do you find it difficult to get time off to cover childcare for the holidays?

Dorset County Council have put together some options which could help with balancing work and childcare when your child is at school.

Making a flexible working request to your employer could help. Flexible working involves making changes to the way you work to suit your needs, such as having flexible start and finish times. All employees have the right to request flexible working if they have been in their role for at least 26 weeks. Employers must consider the request but can refuse if they have good reason for doing so.

Find out more

Out of school childcare covers the hours before or after school, or during the school holidays. Depending on what you’re looking for, out of school clubs, childminders and home childcarers can help with covering these hours for school aged children. Here’s a brief overview of what each can offer:

Out of school clubs:

provide childcare for breakfast, after-school and holiday times

are generally for school aged children, but some accept younger children too

sometimes run specific activities, such as sports or crafts

can provide a more social environment for children, allowing them to learn new skills or take up a new hobby


can sometimes offer school drop offs and pick-ups for an extra cost

mostly work from their own home, which can mean they offer flexible hours

offer a homely environment that some parents and children may prefer

There are also some registered home-childcarers who provide this in the child’s own home.

You can find local childcare, including out-of-school clubs and childminders, in the Family Information Directory. Filter your search by type of childcare, location and your child’s age to help find what you’re looking for.

Search the directory

Depending on your circumstances, there could be funding options which could help you with the cost of childcare.

Tax-Free Childcare is for working parents with children under 12 years (or 17 for disabled children). It involves parents opening an online account to pay for childcare. For every £8 parents pay in, the government will add £2, up to £2,000 per year per child (or £4000 for disabled children). Parents can use this to pay for registered childcare, which can include out of school clubs, childminders and home childcarers. If you’re not eligible, you may be able to get help through Working Tax Credits or Universal Credits.

Find out more

If you’re unable to find suitable childcare, or you would like any more information, contact Dorset’s Family Information Service.