Out of School Alliance - Help and Support for Out of School Clubs

Essential training

This page contains information about training courses for the following topics:

Full and relevant childcare qualifications

The majority of out of school clubs (ie those that don't take any children younger than Reception) are no longer legally required to employ staff with specific childcare or playwork qualifications. For more details about which out of school clubs this qualification exemption applies to, see the Essential Qualifications page.

Note that although it is no longer a statutory requirement for most out of school clubs, settings wishing to follow best practice will still employ qualified staff, and in any event, all settings will need to demonstrate to the Ofsted inspector that their staff have appropriate skills and experience.

Full and relevant Level 3 qualification

Note on 'full and relevant' qualifications: The criteria for what Level 3 qualifications are accepted as 'full and relevant', and when they are required, are quite complex. See our article Full and relevant qualifications for more details.


If further training is required to reach Level 3, your first step should be to contact the Early Years and Childcare service for your local authority which should be able to advise you about the courses available in your area and what funding is available. Training sourced through your local Early Years and Childcare service is usually considerably cheaper than that available elsewhere. 

If you need to obtain your Level 3 training elsewhere, Childcare and Playwork courses are delivered by colleges and training companies around the country.

Note that since September 2014, only courses with 'Early Years Educator' explicitly in the course title are accepted as 'full and relevant' qualifications for new childcare courses. Qualifications obtained, or courses started, before September 2014 are still valid though.

The National Extension College (NEC) provides distance learning courses for a wide range of childcare qualifications including the Diploma for the Children and Young People's Workforce (Level 3). The course costs £1825.00 if you order it online. Note that you may well be eligible for funding.
www.nec.ac.uk

The NEC also offers a Diploma in Playwork (Level 3) which costs £1825.00.
www.nec.ac.uk

Full and relevant Level 2 qualification

Note on 'full and relevant' qualifications: The criteria for what Level 2 qualifications are accepted as 'full and relevant', and when they are required, are quite complex. See our article Full and relevant qualifications for more details.


If you are looking for Level 2 training your first step should be to contact the Early Years and Childcare service for your local authority which should be able to advise you about the courses available in your area and what funding is available.

Relevant Level 3 and Level 2 qualifications

For out of school clubs which are on the Compulsory part of the Childcare Register, or which are on the Early Years Register but take children no younger than Reception age, there is no longer a legal requirement for the manager or staff to have specific qualifications, however, as a provider, having staff with relevant NVQ Level 3 and Level 2 qualifications is highly desirable. There is no definitive list of what constitutes a 'relevant' qualification in this context but most playwork and childcare qualifications are suitable, as are teaching qualifications, qualifications relating to working with children with learning difficulties and disabilities, and classroom assistant qualifications.

For out of school clubs on the Voluntary part of the Childcare Register only, there remains a legal requirement for one member of staff to have a qualification at a minimum of Level 2 in an 'area of work relevant to the childcare', or to have completed training in the "common core of skills and knowledge for the children's workforce".

Common Core of Skills and Knowledge training is available as an online course from the Virtual College and costs £30 (+VAT):
www.virtual-college.co.uk

Child protection training

Your first step should be to contact the Early Years and Childcare service for your local authority which should be able to advise you about the courses available in your area. The cost of courses run by local authorities are generally heavily subsidised, and many local authorities also provide bursaries to cover the cost of attending their child protection courses (eg to pay for cover staff at your club while you attend the course).

Designated person (also known as lead practitioner) child protection training should meet local authority and/or LSCB requirements, so if you use another training provider check with them first to ensure that the course is acceptable. (Note that this is not necessary for the basic child protection training that all staff must undertake.)

The NSPCC runs child protection courses at its centres around the country, and has some online training available.
www.nspcc.org.uk

SAFE CIC offers two online child protection courses: an introductory course suitable for all staff, and a course for designated child protection officers. Members of the Out of School Alliance can book these courses at a special rate of £21.60 each. (How to claim your discount.)
www.safecic.co.uk

Prevent Duty awareness training

All staff must receive training in their responsibilities under the Prevent Duty and know how to respond if they are concerned that a child is at risk of radicalisation.

The Prevent Duty does not specify a particular course that staff must attend and you can choose to deliver this training yourself in-house if you prefer. However you will find it very helpful if at least the manager and safeguarding lead at your club undertake a relevant training course. Check with your local authority to see if they are running any courses on Prevent Duty awareness in your area, alternatively you can follow an online course in your own time.

Victvs offers both a basic and an advanced level online training course, suitable for all staff and for managers/safeguarding leads, respectively. The courses are £23.00 for the basic level course and £57.00 for the advanced course.
www.victvs.co.uk

SENCO and ENCO training

Your first step should be to contact the Early Years and Childcare service for your local authority which should be able to advise you about the courses available in your area. The costs of courses run by local authorities are generally heavily subsidised, and many local authorities also provide bursaries to cover the cost of attending their SENCO and ENCO courses (eg to pay for cover staff at your club while you attend the course).

12 Hour Paediatric First Aid qualification

Your first step should be to contact the Early Years and Childcare service at your local authority. Some local authorities run first aid courses for a significant discount—or even for free— for individuals who meet their criteria. Alternatively you can use another training provider so long as the training covers the course content as for St John Ambulance or Red Cross paediatric first aid training.

The Red Cross runs a 12 hour first aid course for child carers at various venues around the country, for which the fee is £103.00 (+VAT).
www.redcrossfirstaidtraining.co.uk

St John Ambulance runs a 12 hour paediatric first aid course at various venues around the country. The fee is around £105 (+VAT) depending on the location.
www.sja.org.uk

Numerous training companies across the country offer first aid training. Try entering the search terms "12 hour paediatric first aid" into Google. See also our Training Providers page.

Food handling and hygiene

All staff involved in the preparation of food must receive food handling training, however there is no requirement for a attaining a specific qualification. We would recommend however that at least one member of staff has a Food Handling and Hygiene Level 2 qualification, and that this information is then shared with the rest of your staff. If your staff receive food handling and hygiene training in-house, rather than attending an external course, make sure that you keep copies of the documentation and hand-outs as evidence that the training has been given.

When looking for food handling training, your first step should be to contact the Early Years and Childcare service for your local authority which should be able to advise you about the Food Handling and Hygiene Level 2 courses they are organising in your area.

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has a useful 'course finder' tool for finding food handling and hygiene courses in your local area.
www.cieh-coursefinder.com

Alternatively, there are lots of opportunities to study for the Level 2 qualification online. For example the Virtual College and High Speed Training both offer an online course for £25.00 (+VAT), and Train4Food for £29.00 (+VAT).
www.food-hygiene-certificate.co.uk
www.highspeedtraining.co.uk
www.train4food.co.uk
www.virtual-college.co.uk
www.saferfoodhandler.co.uk

Related articles

Essential qualifications
Full and relevant qualifications
First aid training
Training providers