The Mirror News

TheirCare services to stop at Foster Primary School

TheirCare services, including both before- and after-school care and its school holiday programs, will stop at Foster Primary School from Thursday March 28, 2024.

In an online “Service Update” dated Monday March 4, 2024, parents and guardians were told that “TheirCare will be finishing up as your Outside School Hours Care provider at Foster PS at the end of

Term 1, 2024.The update advises that “Whilst it saddens us to be leaving, we would like to extend a warm thank you to the Foster PS families for making us a part of your community.”
It goes on to state that “Moving forward, we will not be operating the Autumn Holiday Program at Foster PS”, followed by a link for families to use “to locate a nearby program.”

The only TheirCare holiday program now available to Corner Inlet district families is run at Welshpool and
District Primary School, with a maximum capacity of 20 places at present. The Welshpool school also hosts TheirCare out of school hours care (OSHC) services, as do Toora Primary
School and Fish Creek and District Primary School, however the latter two schools are not TheirCare holiday program venues.

TheirCare operates holiday programs as well as OSHC at Leongatha’s primary and special schools, and at Inverloch, Mirboo North and Yinnar primary schools, among other locations in the Gippsland region, as well as across metropolitan Melbourne.

Their Care’s service update to its Foster school clients also suggested that “If families require Before School Care and After School Care, Toora PS will be accepting children.”
The update adds that “transportation to this service will be via the school bus system” and that “families are welcome to contact Foster PS for more information about the bus service.”

A telephone call to TheirCare’s customer service line confirmed that the schools-based childcare provider was “actually closing the service at Foster, both the holiday program and the OSHC.”
When asked why all of the care options at Foster Primary School were ceasing the TheirCare spokesperson did not supply any specific reasons, only saying that TheirCare had “come to an agreement with the school”.

TheirCare also responded to an email from a local working parent whose children have regularly attended the 30-place holiday programs at Foster Primary up until now and are currently enrolled in TheirCare OSHC at another Corner Inlet district school. TheirCare’s comment to the parent was that “this decision [to end services and programs at Foster] was made in agreement with the school and has been communicated to families within the required notice timeframe.”

Foster Primary School principal Scott Moorhouse said TheirCare’s announcement that OSHC and holiday
programs would not be held at Foster Primary School from the end of Term One had been “an unexpected surprise” to the school and to the broader district primary school community as opposed to an “agreement”. Mr Moorhouse said the school council had “identified the need” for OSHC and holiday programs and that TheirCare had provided these “valuable and important” services to local families, replacing those previously run by Prom Coast Centre for Children in Foster. He agreed that local families who had come to rely on before- and after-school care and the school holiday programs at Foster Primary would now be forced to make other arrangements for their children.

It is believed that insufficient patronage of the range of services at Foster Primary had led to TheirCare electing to withdraw from the school.

The local working parent said that the end of TheirCare’s services at the Foster school “is likely to have an impact on many families in the community. “I know many families use the school holiday program in particular as their work doesn’t have the flexibility to work from home or adjust hours or take time off,” the parent said. “The closure of this service will be hugely detrimental to many families.”

The parent wrote to TheirCare, stating that “this is going to have a massive impact on many families in our community, including my own as we use the program regularly. “We were not informed that there was any risk to the service or that the service was not sustainable due to numbers,” the parent wrote.
“We have an incredible community and I am sure that if numbers were an issue and the community was told that if we don’t use it, we may lose it, then others would have signed their kids up to help ensure the service is sustainable for your organisation.”

The parent’s letter asked TheirCare that “if this decision can please be reviewed it would be much appreciated. “Or, if we can be given more details on what needs to happen to make the service sustainable in the future, we will help to make that happen,” they wrote.

“My frustration and stress levels regarding how we will manage work and child minding during the
holidays is now pretty high.”


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