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

Employing the right people

Having chosen your business structure and where you will be located, the next thing to think about is who will run the out of school club. Will you manage the club and supervise the day-to-day care of the children yourself, or will you separate the roles?

Ofsted will carry out suitable person checks on the registered person before approving them; these include enhanced DBS checks, health checks (if applicable) and reference checks and all need to be completed before Ofsted will register your provision. The registered person is then responsible for checking the suitability of the manager (if this is a different person) and all other staff, as well as anyone else living or working on the premises.

For more information about Ofsted suitable person checks see:
Early Years and Childcare Registration Handbook

Note that from 1 September 2014 the qualification and staffing ratio requirements for most out of school clubs have been relaxed. However you should be aware that some childcare insurance companies are still requiring clubs to have at least some qualified staff and to meet previous staffing ratios as a condition of providing cover.  For more details of the new requirements see our articles: Changes to the requirements for the Childcare Register 2014 and Early Years Foundation Stage 2014.

Staffing ratios

Next you need to consider your other staffing requirements. These will be dictated by the number of children you are planning to care for, their ages, their maturity, the space available, the layout of your premises, and the type of activities that you intend to offer.

For out of school clubs in which the youngest children are of reception age or older, the statutory mimimum staffing ratio has been reduced to 1:30 for children up to the age of eight. Although this is the absolute minimum legal ratio, very few clubs will be able to operate safely at this level, nor will they be able to obtain specialist childcare insurance. Ofsted will still expect you to operate using safe staffing levels and meet all the other requirements regarding care for the children as set out in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, but it is now down to you as the provider to decide what the appropriate staffing levels are. We recommend that out of school clubs continue to operate at a ratio of around 1:8 for children up to the age of eight.

There is no statutory staff ratio for children aged eight or over, but you must ensure that the children are kept safe. The usual recommended level is a ratio of 1:10 for children over eight.

For out of school clubs in which the youngest children are younger than reception age, the standard EYFS statutory staffing ratios (usually 1:8, but can be 1:13 if you have highy qualified staff, or even 1:4 if you take two year olds) applies for these children.
The staff to child ratios are specified in:

Note that from 1 September 2014 the Childcare Register no longer requires settings to have at least two members of staff on duty at any one time, nor is this required by the Early Years Register. However you are required to have sufficient staff to supervise the children, keep them safe and meet their individual needs.

Staff qualifications

If your out of school club only takes children of reception age or above and is on either the Early Years Register or the Compulsory Childcare Register, you are no longer required by Ofsted to have staff with specific childcare or playwork qualifications. However you should bear in mind that you still need to be able to demonstrate to the inspector that your staff have the necessary training and experience to fulfil their roles. In addition, most childcare insurance companies will require your club to have some staff with a relevant qualifications as a condition of cover. You will also need staff with paediatric first aid certificates, with child protection training, food hygiene training and more.

For information about the qualifications required by staff at your club see our Essential qualifications article.

Safe recruitment

Your staff need to be in place before your club can be up and running, so don't leave recruitment to the last minute: without staff you have no club, and therefore no customers and no business.

When recruiting staff you must follow safe recruitment practices, including:

  • Have more than one person conducting the interview
  • Verify the applicant's identity
  • Require application forms to be completed in writing
  • Follow-up references and check qualifications
  • Obtain enhanced DBS checks.

You might find it helpful to draw up a safe recruitment policy for your club and to use a safe recruitment checklist. See our sample documents:
Safe recruitment policy
Safe recruitment checklist

For more detailed information, see our Safe Recruitment article.

Template packs to save you time

To make things easier for you, we have put together a selection of employment-related documents in our Employment and Management pack. This pack includes a safe recruitment checklist as well as templates for adverts, job descriptions and application forms. The pack also contains template documentation for managing your staff, such as time sheets and appraisal forms.

You might also find our Staff Induction Pack useful. It contains templates for all the documents that you need to ensure that new members of staff are properly trained in all the practices, policies and procedures of your club and also includes a staff handbook.
Buy the Employment and Management pack
Buy the Staff Induction pack

When your premises, staffing and business structure are in place and you are waiting for Ofsted to process your registration, there are still a few other things that you need to consider. 

Next step: Equipment >