Thinking of returning to work but want to be available for school drop-offs and pick-ups? Let Mumsnetters point you in the direction of flexible and family-friendly career options
Jobs in schools
It stands to reason that if you're desperate to work school-only hours, your best bet will be finding a job in a school. Not a teacher? Not a problem.
- "I work in a big secondary school doing exams admin. Other school-hours roles could be office staff, catering, cleaning, reception, finance, IT, various departmental support staff or TAs. Each depends on the school and their needs."
- "I work 8am to 4.30pm, term time only, as a Child Protection and Attendance Officer. I started out as a Teaching Assistant, progressed to a Behaviour Support Worker and then a Learning Mentor before my current role."
Other school roles suggested by Mumsnetters include midday supervisors, home school link workers, school marketing managers and human resources.
Other jobs in education
Working in education can often mean long holidays and short working days. If you're interested in education but don't want to work in a school, maybe consider the following:
Preschools - "I work in a preschool. I started off as an unqualified volunteer and did a part-time college course at the age of 43. I’m full-time, term-time only now. I love it and it means I get time with my kids too."
Universities - "I work part-time in a university in administration, earn around £16k (£32k full-time equivalent) for 18.5 hours over three days and can be pretty flexible within that." Other roles within universities suggested by Mumsnetters include library work, lecturing and student support services.
Educational companies - "The company I work for is a supplier to educational establishments. A lot of the sales staff work term-time only and the company seems OK with that as school holidays are a very quiet time for them."
Which other sectors offer family-friendly working hours?
The Civil Service - "I'm a civil servant - part-time, term-time only. I do 30 hours per week (9am to 3pm each day). My kids (year 7) leave the house at 8am to walk to school which starts at 8.30. They finish at 3.20 and get home about 3.45, around about the same time as me.
Local government/council - "I work for local government in a part-time admin job. I manage to officially take off all school holidays bar a week-ish - and I usually manage to wangle the rest by switching days. Not the most exciting of careers but I love my work life balance."
Charities - "I do a really flexible job for a charity from home, set my own hours, manage my own workload. Holidays are not an issue - all good!"
Small businesses - "I work part-time for a small company. My boss likes part-time mums and says we are often more productive than full-time staff. I don't have school holidays off but my employers are very flexible."
Hospitality - "Loads of people at our local bar get shifts to match any number of possible hours, so you have all sorts of people. Parents that can do during the day, students that can work evenings, full-time workers… Anyone who can do a few hours here and there for extra cash etc."
Can't muster enthusiasm for any of the above? How about starting your own business?
Private tutoring, freelance writing and working as a self-employed cleaner are just some of the ways Mumsnetters earn a little extra cash while the kids are at school.
"I run my own business. I employ managers to do all the day-to-day running so I don't actually need to be there all the time, and can work school hours and only a couple of days a week in the holidays."
"I've set up my own business: a swim school. I teach preschoolers and adults only, daytime only, term-time only."
"I work from home as a cake decorator. It's great to fit round the kids. The only downside is there is a lot of weekend work - cake deliveries, wedding fairs, consultations etc."
"I started dog walking when our twins started reception for just a couple of hours a day, and I focused on households with youngish children as my clients. If I did need to work on a school holiday day, I'd take my doggy clients with us on outings - there are more dog-friendly days out than you may think!"
For more inspiration, read the thread on Mumsnet