Childcare for school age children – before and after school and during school holidays provides important opportunities for children (4 – 14 years) to make new friends, relax, improve self-confidence, learn new skills and spend time exploring activities that interest them to a greater depth, such as sports, art, cooking or music. It also offers crucial support and peace of mind to parents who are working or studying.
Changes in regulation for out of school childcare will come into affect from September 2014. It is important that providers are aware of these changes and make adjustment to their own quality processes to ensure that high industry standards are maintained.
The changes are:
- Removal of the learning outcomes element of EYFS Statutory Framework for those providers caring for over 4s in an out of school setting
- An increased focus on welfare and safeguarding measures
Ofsted will be inspecting a proportion of out of school provision every year to ensure high industry standards are maintained. Inspections will also take place following any complaint to Ofsted.
Welfare and Safety
The welfare and safeguarding requirements linked to the compulsory part of the general childcare register require that:
- All persons caring for children are alert to any indications that a child may be suffering from harm, and
- There is a designated lead person with responsibility for the welfare and safety of children.
These changes build on best practice as many out of school clubs already have a designated lead for safeguarding.
The latest regulations remove the previous qualification and ratio requirements for school aged children. It is therefore essential that providers maintain the effective practices and processes established.
- The industry standard ratios of 1:8 for children under aged 7 years and 1:10 for older should be taken into account to ensure children’s safety and well being.
- The workforce needs to be skilled in understanding the needs of children out of school providing a nurturing and safe environment that:
- helps develop personal, emotional and social development skills;
- improves self-confidence; and
- supports and enables children to develop their potential, including new experiences and skills.
There should be sufficient opportunities for training, continuing professional development and appraisal to achieve this.
Best practice providers adopt the industry standards to ensure quality experiences for their children. For example “Funfishers” out of school club in York, have a staff ratio of 1:4 for under 5’s, 1:8 ratio for under 8’s and 1:10 for over 8’s as they feel that with these ratios the staff are able to support the children in the most effective way and create a safe environment.
Ofsted will be robust and rigorous in carrying out its’ inspection duties to reinforce quality out of school care. The aim is that out of school providers operates at a high standard that will give children:
- opportunities to play and learn
- socialise and make new friends
- experiences different environments, experiences and ways to play, and
- Interactions with nurturing and supportive staff that understand the importance of safeguarding.