Choosing Out of School Care
What is Out of School Care?
Out of school clubs provide care for children
of school age outside of normal school hours to play, relax and
have fun in groups. Schemes can provide care before and after
school and all day during school holidays (this will vary from one
club to the next).
Breakfast clubs run before school. Parents
/ carers drop the children off at the club and then the club staff
take the children to school. Breakfast is provided and children are
able to participate in activities.
After School clubs
After school clubs run straight after
school. Children will be given a snack and participate in
activities or complete homework.
Many schools provide extended services for
children. This means things like homework clubs, sports activities,
drama clubs etc.
Holiday playschemes operate at varying times
between 8am and 6pm during school holidays.
- children can relax after school and have fun
with their friends.
- geared to the needs of children with working
- offer a wide range of activities which
children may not have the opportunity to carry out at home
Have a look at our Early Help
Directory for a list
of school care and
holiday schemes in Bedford Borough, or call us on 0800 023
All services provided by a school are
inspected by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) as part
of the school’s regular inspection, to make sure they meet specific
standards and that staff are suitable to care for children and
Out of school clubs not run by a school,
caring for children under eight years old for more than two hours
per day and for more than 14 days per year must also be registered
on the Ofsted Childcare Register.
Clubs that are for under 8s and run for less
than 2 hours or those that are only for children over 8 do not need
to register with Ofsted but can choose to register on the Ofsted
Voluntary Childcare Register.
As well as being confident that your child is
safe, having the club / activity you are using registered with
Ofsted means that you may be eligible to claim the childcare
element of the Working Tax Credit or childcare vouchers.
If a club is not registered with Ofsted, it is
always worth enquiring about any quality accreditation that they
may hold and whether staff working at the scheme have had
a Disclosure and Barring Service check (formerly a CRB
Ofsted registration requirements will specify
the number of children that are allowed to be on the premises at
any time and the ratio of staff to children. The minimum
ratios are as set out below:
Children aged 3 – 8
adult to every 8 children
When you visit
Try to take notes as you go along, for
reference later. You must be your own judge of what is best for you
and your child, but the lists below may help guide you on points to
look for and what to ask.
Things to consider and questions to
- Is the age range of the club suitable for your child?
- Do the times of the sessions fit in with your
- What activities are on offer? Is there a variety of
- How much does each session cost? Are there reductions for
regular or block bookings or siblings? Are there any
additional charges for extra activities?
- Are outings arranged during the holidays? Are you happy
with the supervision?
- Ask about staffing arrangements. How many are
there? What qualifications do they have?
- How many children attend?
- Do they provide snacks / meals and cater for any special
- If possible visit the club whilst it is in session and see if
the children appear relaxed and happy.
- If the activity / club is not registered with Ofsted then make
sure that all the staff running the scheme have had a Disclosure
and Barring Service check (formerly a CRB check).
General points to
- Are the children calm, safe and happy?
- Do children play and talk together?
- Are the staff listening to children and
- Are the staff friendly and proud of their work?
- Are the staff joining in with what the children are doing?
- Are the premises clean, well kept and safe for children with a
fun outside play area (or will children go to parks and other
- Do parents have plenty of chances to say what they want for
- If there are other things you want to know, do not be afraid to
ask. Good childcare staff expect you to ask questions and will be
happy to answer them.
Do you have a child
with a disability or additional need?
Bedford Borough Council is committed to
ensuring that all childcare and early years settings in Bedford
Borough provide a service that includes all children. We
believe that every child has a right to a safe, stimulating and
inclusive environment to enable them to reach their full
Fees and conditions
Costs vary greatly depending on hours and
- Breakfast and after schools clubs usually
charge £3.00 - £4.00 per hour
- Holiday clubs charge in the region of
£20.00 - £25.00 per day.
- Schools’ extended services activities / clubs
are usually free but you may have to pay for things such as music
You may be entitled to some help with your
childcare costs, please contact the Family Information Service on
0800 023 2057 for more information.
What to do if you are not happy with your
If you are not happy with the care that your
child is receiving and have spoken with your carer but are still
not satisfied with the outcome, then you can phone the Ofsted
Complaints Line on 0300 1234 4666.
Ofsted will investigate any complaints about
providers and take enforcement action if providers do not meet the
If you are using a scheme which is not
registered with Ofsted and you have a concern regarding the health
and safety of children at the scheme then please contact the
Find out more
For a list of out of school care provisions
in your area please contact Bedford Borough Family Information
Freephone 0800 023
Lines open: Mon - Thurs 8am – 5.15pm, and
Fri 8am – 4.45pm. 24 hours answerphone service.
If you would like to speak to someone face to
face please call on the above number to arrange an appointment.