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
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 was reduced to 1:30 for children up to the age of eight in September 2014. Although this is the absolute minimum legal ratio, very few clubs will be able to operate safely at this level, and specialist childcare insurers are unlikely to provide cover. Ofsted will still expect you to operate using safe staffing levels and to 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.
- We recommend a ratio of around 1:10 for children over the age of eight.
For out of school clubs in which the youngest children are younger than reception age, the standard Early Years statutory staffing ratios apply for these children. (This is usually 1:8 for a typical club, but can be 1:13 if you have highy qualified staff, or even 1:4 if you take two year olds.) The statutory staff to child ratios are specified in:
- For children in reception, or younger:
EYFS Statutory Framework (2017) (para 3.40 if reception age or older; para 3.34 if younger than reception age; para 3.32 for two year olds)
- For children from Year 1 upwards:
Early Years and Childcare Registration Handbook (Annex C: Registration requirements for the Childcare Register, para CR1.7 - CR1.8 )
The Early Years Register and the Childcare Register no longer require settings to have at least two members of staff on duty at all times, however you are required to have sufficient staff to supervise the children, keep them safe and meet their individual needs. For this reason we recommend that you try to ensure that you continue to have a least two members of staff on duty. If you are considering having only one member of staff on duty at any time, we suggest that you read our article on Lone Working first.
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.
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.
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.