Byford not so friendly for working parents

Byford not so friendly for working parents

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West Byford parent Carmel Doherty will have to transfer her daughter Shamieka to another school following the closure of the West Byford OSH club. Photograph — Matt Devlin.
West Byford parent Carmel Doherty will have to transfer her daughter Shamieka to another school following the closure of the West Byford OSH club. Photograph — Matt Devlin.

Families in West Byford have been left scrambling to find childcare after an out of school hours (OSH) club had to be cancelled because of overcrowding at the school.

OSH club had been operating out of West Byford primary school providing before and after school care to students until September when a lack of space forced it to move to nearby Marri Grove primary school.

Last week West Byford parents were told the service would not be delivered at all next year because changes to Marri Grove primary school meant the OSH club facility used by the West Byford club was no longer available to parents.

The Marri Grove club would continue to operate at the school but would only be available to Marri Grove primary school students.

An Osh spokesman said the West Byford Osh club was consistently attended by 20 children in the morning and 40 in the afternoon.

He said the cancellation would affect more than 100 active account holders.

“Since recently being notified of this change our operations team have been working hard to find another suitable location that we may be able to provide care from,” he said.

West Byford parent Carmel Doherty said the cancellation had forced her to transfer her daughter Shamieka to a new school.

“I work full-time in the city and my husband works away so we need out of school hours care,” she said. “It’s not like we’re rich either so OSH was perfect because you didn’t have to pay for a full day of care and I’ve heard the local day cares are full anyway.

“When I heard it was ending I thought it couldn’t be right because that was part of the reason we went to West Byford so I panicked.

“Fortunately we’re on the cusp of the boundary so I was able to get her into Marri Grove for next year and she can go to their OSH club but it’s disappointing because I never wanted for her to have to move around.”

Byford Childcare and Great Beginnings Byford confirmed they were full and had waiting lists.

A Great Beginnings spokeswoman said the waiting list was so long she was unable to give a timeframe for when a position would open up. Since the closure she had received several calls a day from worried parents.

A Department of Education spokeswoman confirmed the closure was due to a growing population but said a new primary school opening in 2017 in southwest Byford would accommodate the growth.

“Every school’s main purpose is to provide appropriate facilities to ensure the best quality education for students during school hours,” she said.

“The Department of Education is supportive of public schools entering into agreements so third-party private providers can run outside school hours care services at school when there is demand from parents and where it does not impact on the normal operation of a school.”

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