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Support Organisation for Out of School Childcare


Out of School Alliance (OOSA) provides information and support to organisations and individuals running out of school clubs. We've information and support for all types of providers - breakfast clubs, after school clubs, holiday clubs, sports or activity-based clubs and playschemes. No matter where you are on your journey, we're here for you.

Out of School Alliance is more than our website; it's a community, a movement, a support network. We've supported the sector since 2009 and members tell us being part of this community helps them feel they're not alone and can reach out to us whenever they need it.


If you are thinking about setting up an out of school club, you'll find a wealth of resources on our website to help you get started. Already running a club? Then you'll find in-depth articles on topics such as staff development, tax-free childcare and the GDPR, as well as our range of partnership deals to save you money, a monthly newsletter, and a vast library of activities to keep the kids at your club entertained.

Out of School Alliance (A trading name of The Bold Type Training
& Consultancy Limited) Registered in England and Wales. Company No. 11544956 VAT no. 404154732

About Out of School Childcare in England

There is no specific record of the number of out of school clubs across England.  Records of registered settings are held by Ofsted but are not identified by 'type of provision', meaning many are labelled as Early Years Settings. 


Estimates vary, but research published in 2020 suggests 6,000 registered providers. This does not account for un-registered providers however and it's thought that the total sector consists of around 10,000 out of school settings in England.

Out of School Childcare Registration, Regulation & Inspection


Out of school childcare settings in England have to register with Ofsted if they take children up to the age of 8.  For children in reception year and below, registration is on the Early Years Register and for children from year 1 up to age 8, registration is on the Compulsory Childcare Register.

If providers care exclusively for children aged 8 and over, or are exempt from registration because of the type of provision they offer (sports based holiday camps for example) they can choose to register on the Voluntary Childcare Register if they meet certain conditions. 

Out of school clubs registered on the Early Years Register must meet the requirements of the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) for children in Reception and below, along with the requirements for the Compulsory Childcare Register for children in year one, upwards.

In terms of staffing ratios, the statutory requirement for clubs caring for school aged children is a ratio of 1 adult:30 children, but the reality most clubs work on a ratio of 1:8 or 1:10. Ratios for younger children vary, dependent on the age of the children.

Out of School Childcare Workforce Registration & Regulation Requirements

If a club cares for children who are not yet of school age, the staff must meet the same qualification requirements as a nursery – 

  • the manager must have an 'approved' Early Years Educator Level 3 qualification (or above)

  • at least one member of staff at each session must have an 'approved' Early Years Educator Level 3 qualification. This can be the same person as the manager, as long as they are working directly with the children

  • half the remaining staff who are caring for the pre-school children must have an 'approved' Level 2 qualification (or above).


If the club only cares for children of school age, ie, children in reception year and upwards, there are no qualification requirements. It is for the registered person to determine the skills and experience, qualifications and training needed within their workforce.


There are specific training requirements – clubs need to have a member of staff trained in safeguarding and a paediatric first aid at each session.  All staff need to have food hygiene, safeguarding and Prevent duty training.

Government Policy and Initiatives for Out of School Childcare in England

Unfortunately, in England no specific framework exists.  Regulation and inspection of the sector is through Ofsted under the Childcare Act 2006 (and subsequent amendments). The Department for Education has policy oversight of the out of school childcare sector.


There is no statutory body to support out of school clubs in England, instead some Local Authorities provide support to the sector through local teams, but this is a limited and localised picture. Support for providers operationally is that which they seek out themselves.

There is no specific financial support for settings provided by the Government, instead local authorities may be able to offer grants to ensure sustainability, but again, this is by no means universal. 


National programmes such as Holiday Activities and Food programme (HAF) supports providers to offer places for families in receipt of free school meals, and support for childcare costs is provided through national initiatives such as Tax Free Childcare and Childcare Voucher scheme, although the latter is being phased out.


The impact of the pandemic has generated a renewed interest in the sector by Department for Education, but no policy change seems imminent.

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