The Out of School Alliance conducted a survey of its members and other providers of wraparound care (before, after-school and holiday clubs) during the second and third weeks of May 2020. The aim was to discover how out of school clubs (OSCs) were faring in the face of the coronavirus epidemic, and in particular how the shutting down of schools and childcare settings had affected them.
The survey found that wraparound settings have been hit very hard by the enforced shut down, with 82% being currently closed. Of even more concern is the lack of clarity about when these settings will be able to return to normal, with school attendance being severely restricted up to the end of term, and doubt about what restrictions will still be in place come September. 44% of respondents to the survey said that they were unsure whether they would be able to re-open in September, and 10% thought they were very unlikely to re-open. There is real concern that without the injection of some form of additional funding, perhaps in the form of a sustainability grant, many more wraparound settings will be forced out of business, leaving a large gap in the number of available childcare places which are relied on by working parents.
Unlike other forms of childcare, wraparound settings have not received any targeted government support, and many of them are ineligible for the types of general support available to other small businesses. In particular the fact that most settings rent their premises in 'shared space' such as schools or community buildings, meant that they are ineligible for the SBRR (small business rates relief grant) that has been such a lifeline to other small businesses.
The provision of childcare for school-aged children has been continually overlooked by the Department for Education in the provision of guidance to schools and childcare settings during the coronavirus shutdown. Providers have been left unsure about what they are expected or permitted to do, and are largely dependent on whatever decisions have been made by the headteacher of their local school. This has led to a huge variation in how settings have operated during shutdown, and how they are expected to operate during the gradual re-opening of schools from 1 June.
Download the survey report
You can download a copy of the full survey report here: