Out of School Care Start Up Guide

This guide contains everything you need to think about, and do, in order to start up an Out of School Care Service in Scotland.

The step-by-step guide to setting up an out of school care service takes the reader from the initial stages of measuring demand and designing the service according to the needs of users, to the necessary processes required for actually setting up the service. The guide includes information on relevant legislation and how to comply; information about, and contact details for, relevant regulatory bodies as well as good practice and handy hints and tips for running a successful and quality childcare service.

By the end of the guide the reader should have enough knowledge and information to start an after school care service, as well as an awareness of the development support on offer at local and national levels.

What is Out of School Care?

In general terms out of school care (OSC), also known as after school care (ASC), is the provision of a safe and caring environment providing play and leisure opportunities (including a wide range of physical, artistic and creative activities) to school-aged children and young people, outwith school hours.

Out of school care is of enormous benefit to all children, young people and parents. In addition to providing children and young people with opportunities to socialise and play with peers in surroundings less formal than those within the traditional education system, it allows parents/guardians to access employment and training/education opportunities either on full or part-time bases.

Quality out of school care puts each child and young person who attends "at the centre". It caters for and meets the individual needs of each child and as such provides a link between the child's home and school. All out of school care services should be run under an equal opportunities ethos and cater for the needs of all children and young people, including those with disabilities, additional support needs or different religious and cultural beliefs.

When do Out of School Care services operate?

Out of School Care services may operate both before and after the school day.

If operating before school, then most will provide those children and young people attending with a simple but nutritious breakfast as well as childcare. Unsurprisingly this is commonly referred to as a “Breakfast Club” and tends to operate between 7.30/8.00 and the start of the school day. Childcare workers escort children from the club to school.

After school care is provided for children and young people at the end of the school day; from 3.00 onwards until 5.30 or 6.00pm. Children are collected from school by staff of the out of school care and escorted to the club premises. At the end of the day children are collected by a parent, or other designated relative or friend.

During school holidays such as summer, Easter and Christmas, many clubs operate all day (usually from 8.00am to 6.00pm). Some services also operate during teacher training or in-service days, polling days and half-term holidays. During holidays, services offer a comprehensive programme of activities which may include trips to external venues such as the beach, zoo, museum, or Country Park.

last updated: 29/11/2023