Breakfast, after School and holiday schemes
What they do
Sometimes called out of school clubs, they provide care for school aged children outside of normal school hours.
Breakfast clubs run before school. Parents or carers drop the children off at the club and staff take the children to school. Many breakfast clubs will offer breakfast and children can participate in a range of activities.
After school clubs
After school clubs run straight after school. Some clubs will pick up children from school and take them to the club. Many after school clubs offer a snack, and usually offer play opportunities and sports activities as well as quiet place for children to relax or complete homework.
Holiday clubs or playschemes
Holiday clubs or playschemes operate during the school holidays. Many offer play opportunities, sports activities and trips out as well as quiet places for children to relax. Out of school clubs can be run by local authority, schools, private companies or voluntary organisations.
Out of school registration
If the club is open to children aged eight and under, offers more than three hours of care and is not just activity based (such as a sports club), it will be registered with Ofsted. This means that the club will be checked to ensure that staff are appropriately trained and qualified and that the premises are suitable and safe. Some clubs will come under the school registration if on the school premises and run by the school.
Paying for an out of school club
Registered out of school clubs can accept childcare vouchers as payment and families qualifying for Working Tax Credits may also be able to claim help with childcare costs.
What to think about when visiting an out of school club
You will be the best judge of what is right for your child. However, the lists below may guide you on points to look for and what to ask. Things to consider and questions to ask when looking for a quality setting:
- Are you and your child made to feel welcome?
- Do the children present look happy and involved in what they are doing?
- How many children attend?
- Do the activities look interesting and inviting and are there opportunities for outdoor play?
- Ask about staffing, how many are there? What qualifications do staff have?
- Ask about outings and how they are supervised?
- Ask to see their registration and insurance certificates
- How much does each session cost? Are there reductions for regular or block bookings or siblings?
- Are there additional charges for extra activities?
- Is there a waiting list? If so when will you be informed of a start date?
General points to consider
- Is there a variety of equipment?
- Are the premises clean, well kept and safe for children?
- Are the children able to have their say in what they want to do whilst at the club?
- Are different cultures positively represented in the toys, books and displays?
- Are girls and boys encouraged to take part in all activities?
- How will the provision meet any additional needs your child may have? Think about equipment, access, skills, experience and training of staff.
- Will you be given the opportunity to say what you want for your children?
Searching for an out of school club
You can use the childcare search on the Family Services Directory to look for out of school clubs in your area. Alternatively, you can contact us on 020 8770 6000 for a list based on a school or postcode.