Starting an out-of-school club

There is a growing demand for childcare for school-aged children. This page gives you more information on what is involved and how to go about it.

Out of school care is for children from three years of age. It can operate in one or more of the following ways:

  • Before school
  • After school
  • During school holidays

If the total amount of care offered is more than 1 hour 55 min in any day, and for more than five days a year, then Ofsted registration is compulsory.

Before school clubs

Children attending these clubs may be offered breakfast or bring a packed meal from home, and may take part in a range of activities until they are escorted to school by play workers.

After school clubs

Children here may be offered a snack / tea or bring a packed snack from home, they will be able to participate in a wider selection of games and activities before they are collected by parents/carers.

Holiday play schemes

These operate during school holidays, it may provide childcare from early morning through to the evening. Children should be able to bring their own food although snacks/drinks may be provided, there should also be a range of activities on offer.

Checklist for starting an out-of-school club

The main steps involved in setting up out of school provision are:

  • Survey the need e.g. through questionnaire issued to local schools etc.
  • Investigate local provision
  • Make contact with relevant groups e.g. local childcare organisations etc.
  • Design the club (Who? What? Where? And when?)
  • Talk to groups of parents/carers, heads of schools, governors, employers etc.
  • Legal responsibilities: Children Act 2004, employment practice, health and safety, equal opportunities, insurance
  • Programme planning: drama, cooking, relaxing, television, reading, homework, outings etc.
  • Publicising the club: meetings, schools, Children and Young People's Information Service, our directory of support services, local newspapers, shops etc.

Think about the types of management, business plan, numbers, locations, staffing, training needs, equipment, transport, budget and funding. For more information, take a look at the planning for success pages.

Managing your out-of-school club

There are a few different ways in which your club can be managed; these include voluntary organisation, registered charity, user group co-operative, worker co-operative, community business, private business, sole trader, partnership or limited company. Employers or the local authority can also run clubs.

These different management types can be broadly divided into two categories; those that aim to make a profit and those who simply aim to cover their costs.

Non-profit making businesses - voluntary organisations

Out-of-school kids' clubs can be run by a management committee. This can include parents, governors, teachers and other local representatives. The committee will then employ staff.

The management committee is responsible for the running and promotion of the club.

Profit making businesses - private businesses

Privately owned out-of-school clubs can be run by a sole trader partnership or limited company.

However you decide to set up your club, planning is very important. Collect information together from all the relevant sources and weigh up the pros and cons before you decide on the structure that best suits your situation.

Useful information