Out of school care (OSC) and holiday services should be as far as possible, accessible to all families and children in their community. This means services should be inclusive of children with Additional Support Needs and disabilities, children from minority ethnic communities, non-native English language speakers, British Sign Language and Makaton users etc.

In terms of physical access to premises, some services have ramps, disabled toilets and other facilities to support access, however many services are based within older school or community premises which may not be accessible to wheelchair users or those with mobility difficulties. The service may not have the ability or resources to make adaptations although they should explore all ways of overcoming any access barriers.

SOSCN encourages such services to put in place long term plans to find more accessible premises, however, the costs of doing so might be a significant barrier to the sustainability of the service. At the very least the service should consider methods of adaptation in order to include a child and, if this fails, to direct the family to other sources of support. Some local authorities may consider financing an additional member of staff, in order to include a child with additional support needs. Sometimes, through Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) a child in need of extra support because of family circumstances may have a breakfast, after school or holiday place subsidised by the social work or children and families department of the local authority.

Another way in which services can be more accessible is to employ staff which reflects the diversity of their local community; e.g. engaging a Polish speaking member of staff in an area with a large number of Polish families.

In terms of financial assistance to parents, services might access additional grant funding (if they are eligible to do so) to lower overall costs to parents. However, all services should provide parents with information on the government's childcare tax credits and childcare voucher schemes as these schemes can provide additional financial support to families to pay for childcare.

We would highlight here however that quality childcare does come at a cost, and as OSC in most instances receives little or no additional support from local or national government to cover running costs, services are reliant on parents paying fees to survive.

last updated: 07/07/2023