Out of school clubs and activities
School-aged children need safe care after school and during
school holidays, right through the primary years and often into the
first couple of years of secondary education.
There are a growing number of after-school clubs in the UK.
These are usually based in school premises, youth or community
centres. Some nurseries offer after school care too. Wherever the
location, a child carer or play worker collects the children from
school and takes them to the after-school club.
The child is signed in, and signed out again when collected by a
parent or named carer. The pick-up time is usually 6pm, and some
offer breakfast club facilities from 8am for parents who start work
before school hours. Holiday clubs are run in the school holidays,
often by the same organisation, and offer extra activities and days
out. Both are regulated and inspected by Ofsted.
- you cannot collect your child from school, and want a safe
place for them to enjoy a range of activities with children of a
- your child wants a place to play and have fun with friends
- you have older children who require supervision by adults. Some
clubs offer facilities and support for homework.
Not so suitable if
- you need more flexible hours - you usually have to pick up your
child by 6pm. Also, there may be limited after-school care in your
- you have a young child who gets so tired after a whole day at
school that they're desperate not to socialise with other
- you have a child who finds mixed-age groups hard to
- staffing levels, ratio of staff to children, and safety
records. Are children well-supervised during sporting activities,
and can they take part in activities which need to be supervised
closely? If so, do they have an expert in that activity teaching or
- how rigorous the signing in and out process is, especially for
older children who may have ideas about doing their own thing
- how far in advance you have to book - holiday clubs are often
heavily over-subscribed. You may have to put your name
on a waiting list for an after-school club, and commit to the days
you want in advance.
Questions to ask
- what activities are planned for the children?
- who is in charge and what are their qualifications and
experience? Arrange to meet them
- do younger children have a separate area so they are not
overwhelmed by the older ones?
- is there a quiet area where all children can go to relax?
- do after-school clubs provide a snack or a tea? Do holiday
clubs provide food, or is the child expected to bring a packed
- how many staff are qualified in first aid?
- how will they contact you in an emergency?
- check their records and procedures.