Out of school and holiday services should be as much as possible accessible to all families and children in their community. This means they should be inclusive of children with Additional Support Needs, children from minority ethnic communities and other language users, including British Sign Language and Makaton symbols. Many services are accessible in this way, however, a number of services operate from older school buildings which may not be accessible to wheelchair users or those with difficulties using stairs.
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. Providing parents with information on childcare tax credits and childcare voucher schemes can assist with accessibility in terms of affordability of the service to families.
- children's guide to out of school care download