Before and after school clubs
For 5-19 year olds and children with SEND
If you're going back to work or increasing your hours, a before or after school club could provide the childcare you need. And if your child has a disability or special educational need, they could qualify for Including Me funding too. To find out more, we spoke to the Playwork Team from Surrey Early Years and Childcare Service.
Before school and breakfast clubs
Where? Before school and breakfast clubs are normally based at schools but some are at homes, in local church halls or scout huts. The age range normally depends on the age of the school they are based in or near to.
When? Clubs normally run from 7.30am, others start at 7.45am or later. They finish when school starts. Some clubs have been able to move their start times so parents can catch a certain train to work so it's worth asking if the times don’t meet your needs.
What's involved? You should expect to see a table laid for breakfast and children being able to help themselves. The club should meet the Food Standards Agency guidance when planning breakfasts and should have a menu on display. Some clubs invite the teachers to join them for breakfast on a Friday so the children can socialise with them.
There should be a homely feel and after you have signed your child in they should have a healthy breakfast and have time to play before school. You should expect staff to take younger children to their classroom but older children may take themselves.
How much? Costs can be from £2.50 to about £5.50 depending on the length of the session and the breakfast provided. If the club is registered with Ofsted you'll be able to use the childcare element of Working Tax Credits to pay or use Childcare Vouchers.
What else? Clubs may be registered with Ofsted but there are different types of registration depending on the age range and the hours of the club. Staff will have enhanced Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) checks to make sure they're suitable to work with children and young people.
After school clubs
Where? After school clubs could be based at a school, in a classroom, in a local hall, church hall, scout hut or leisure centre. Some clubs will collect from a number of schools to drop off at a main club. Some clubs are run directly by the school, some are privately run and some are run by a voluntary organisation.
When? After school clubs usually run from the end of the school day and finish around 5.30pm to 6pm. You will need to pick your child up from the club and sign them out.
What's involved? Children will be given a light tea which meets the Food Standards Agency guidance.
Children should be able to choose from the activities on offer. There should be labels and photos on the drawers and cupboards so that children can choose their own toys, games and materials. Staff can plan activities and the children can choose what they want to do.
How much? You would normally look at paying between anything from £8 to £15.50 depending on the length of the club and food offered. Some settings offer discounts for siblings. If the club is registered with Ofsted you'll be able to use the childcare element of Working Tax Credits to pay or use Childcare Vouchers.
What else? After school clubs are not homework clubs (see how libraries can help with homework). They're about learning through play, learning new skills, developing and having fun. They should be safe but with opportunities for risk!
The club will likely be registered with Ofsted as after school clubs normally run for longer than two hours but there are different types of registration depending on the age range and the hours of the club. Staff will have enhanced Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) checks to make sure they're suitable to work with children and young people.
All clubs should have policies for you to read and there may be a short version for you to sign. Some clubs have a parent contract that the children have drawn up which you would sign. This may include that the children may get messy so you need to provide different clothes or if you turn up early you must give your child a 10 minute warning.
Finding out more
You can search for clubs in your area using our Childcare Finder (under childcare, type out of school hours club). For more information, including questions to ask when visiting a club, go to Types of childcare.
Including Me is a service for children and young people with a special educational need or disability. It provides funding to give them the opportunity to go to a local mainstream breakfast club, after school club or holiday playscheme.
Your child must live in Surrey, be between 4 and 16 years old and go to a specialist school or unit to qualify. Including Me will pay for the extra staff or resources your child needs to fully enjoy their time at the club and interact with their peers that live locally. You just need to pay the normal attendance fee. It also gives you a chance to meet local parents.
For more information or to register your child, contact the playwork inclusion advisor on 01372 833833, email email@example.com or go to Including Me.