New national lockdown and OSCs

The new national lockdown comes into effect for four weeks from 5 November. The general guidance on the lockdown was published in the New National Restrictions on 1 November and updated on 3 November.
New National Restrictions from 5 November

More detailed guidance on the new lockdown, specifically for education and childcare settings (including out of school clubs), was published by the DfE on 4 November and updated on 5 and 16 November:
Education and childcare settings: new national restrictions from 5 November

Provision of childcare is key

The guidance from the DfE makes it clear that out of school clubs should be closed during the new lockdown unless they are providing childcare to enable parents to work (or to seek work, access training or education or to provide respite care). We have also sought additional clarification from the DfE on some of the points in the guidance. In summary, what the guidance means for out of school clubs is:

  • Before and after-school clubs providing childcare (ie wraparound provision) can remain open as normal.
  • Extra-curricular clubs (ie clubs for specific activities such as art or sport or drama) that operate immediately before or after school can remain open if providers wish, because many parents use such clubs as an extension to the school day in order to benefit from an extra hour of childcare.
  • Activity-based clubs that operate at other times (eg evening clubs, or Saturday morning sessions) are less likely to be used as a source of childcare to enable parents to work, so will in most cases be expected to remain closed for the four weeks of lockdown.

The DfE has also confirmed the following points:

  • So long as out of school clubs meet the 'childcare' requirement outined above, they can operate on their usual premises. Unlike the first lockdown, clubs are not restricted to only operating on school sites.
  • Under the general lockdown regulations, community based venues, such as libraries, village halls and community centres, will need to close but such venues are exempt from closure if they are being used for certain specific purposes which includes childcare. This means that if your club runs on such premises, they are allowed to remain open to accommodate you. (This is set out in section 4 of the main New National Restrictions guidance.)
  • Out of school clubs don't need to be Ofsted-registered in order to be allowed to remain open.
  • Tuition centres or tutors that provide education for home-educated children can continue to do so. This is so that home-educated children don't miss out on education for four weeks. Children who attend school are already receiving an education so should not attend tuition centres or use private tutors for face-to-face supplementary teaching during the lockdown period. (Online tuition is obviously fine to continue. Additional tuition provided by the school is also fine.)
  • All out of school clubs that remain open must continue to follow the protective measures, as set out in:
    Protective measures for holiday and after-school clubs during the coronavirus outbreak

Update: After school sports clubs

Although the official guidance with the emphasis on 'childcare' has not been updated, there does seem to have been a shift on the position of after school sports. The DfE and DCMS are both reported to have confirmed that school sports clubs can continue, subject to them maintaining bubbles and other protective measures. For more information see: