Childcare and Early Years

Outside school care

When your child reaches school age, you may find it difficult to juggle school runs and holidays with your work commitments.

Out-of-school care can help, with breakfast clubs, after-school clubs and holiday play schemes to fit in with your needs.

Ofsted usually registers out-of-school providers, if they look after children under 8 years old for more than 2 hours a day for more than 5 days a year. They inspect regularly to make sure they meet the National Standards and all staff has satisfactory criminal records checks.

After school clubs

Registered after school clubs:

  • open in the afternoons, usually between 3:30pm and 6pm
  • mostly only admit children that attend the school
  • plan activities to help children learn, play and relax with their friends

Some clubs admit children from other schools and may provide a minibus service

Breakfast clubs

Out of school breakfast clubs:

  • provide care before school starts
  • usually provide breakfast
  • normally run for less than 2 hours and therefore do not need to be registered

You can find out if a school has a breakfast club by contacting the school directly.

Holiday play schemes

Out-of-school holiday play schemes provide care for school aged children during the school holidays. Activities can include:

  • sports
  • outdoor and indoor games
  • arts, crafts and drama
  • swimming and day trips

They are usually on school premises or in a local community building. Some play schemes are 'open schemes' and operate in places such as play centres and adventure playgrounds. They offer open access play where parents do not have to book so children can just turn up.

You can find more information about activities and out of school care in our Family Information Directory.

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