I&N Blog: Christa

I have a child who I'd had before starting my BPTC and completed the course when she was very young. I was also living 200 miles away from my family and therefore no family based childcare to rely on. I have remained in the same area for pupillage.

I was halfway through pupillage when lockdown started and so heading into my practising six months. The schools closed the week before lockdown and therefore I had to request from my clerk and supervisor (who are amazingly supportive) that I work from home before we knew the lockdown would start. I was non-practising at this stage and so was set a number of written tasks to get me through the first week whilst we worked out what the courts were going to do. 

My partner (daughters father) was still in work that week, with his hours being 6am to 5pm. I was therefore trying to home school a 6 year old as well as drafting work. It was a very stressful first week of lockdown!

My partner was then furloughed at the end of the first week and so was now home which I thought would have made it easier, but he has dyslexia and therefore struggled greatly to home school. I then took back on this role to make sure she kept up with her work whilst also keeping up with my own work. 

My partner is still on furlough but his work need him back or he may be made redundant however he cannot go back to work until we can find summer holiday childcare. I am doing remote hearings frequently and so she would be unoccupied in the house if we cannot find childcare. Our usual summer holiday childcare provider is not currently open as they run out of a school and our parents are unable to have her for extended periods.

The idea of extended court hours is terrifying. Our childminder during school term only works until 6pm and the breakfast club at school only opens at 8am. My partner works 6am to 5pm and so can usually make it back to collect her from our childminder. The problem is more with the mornings, it would take until past 9am to get to my closest major courts when dropping her off in the morning. I therefore wouldn't be able to get to court early enough.

When we heard of the consideration for extended hours, we discussed my partner, who is currently our highest income, leaving his job to be a stay at home dad in the hope I can earn enough to support our household alone. I'm currently working until 9/10pm already as it is so I couldn't imagine how much barristers would need to work if there were additional court hours to take into consideration.

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