Members' newsletter February 2015

Welcome to the Out of School Alliance newsletter for February 2015.

Labour's plans for wraparound care
We've been sending a number of questions to Alison McGovern, the Labour childcare minister, regarding the party's much repeated pledge to guarantee all parents of primary school-aged children access to wraparound childcare if Labour wins the next election. We were concerned about how this pledge would work in practice and the effect that it would have on existing providers of wraparound care. This week Ms McGovern came back to us with a very comprehensive, and fairly reassuring, reply.
Read Ms McGovern's explanation of how Labour's pledge will work

Annual Childcare Costs Survey
Earlier this month the Family and Childcare Trust published the 2015 Annual Childcare Costs Survey. As well as reporting on the average fees for nuseries and childminders across Britain, it also includes the average costs for after-school clubs. This makes very interesting reading, to see how the fees at your club compare with the average fees for your area.

The average cost for 15 hours of care at an after-school club in Britain is £48.18 (£3.21 per hour), but there is some variation across the country, with the cheapest area being Yorkshire and Humberside at £42.84 (£2.86 ph) and the highest being (unsurprisingly) London at £53.65 (£3.58 ph).

The Survey also shows that the average fees for after-school care have dropped by 1% in England and Scotland compared to 2014, but have increased by 8% in Wales. Taking Britain as a whole, the average cost of after-school care has not changed since 2014. In comparison, the average cost of nursery and childminder places has increased by between 4 and 5% since 2014.
Download the Annual Childcare Costs Survey

Ofsted announces a new common inspection framework
Following Ofsted's consultation at the end of last year on its proposals to introduce a common inspection framework for all types of education settings, it has now published its response to the feedback it received. Ofsted has confirmed that from September 2015 the whole of the education sector, from early years settings right through to sixth forms and further education colleges, will share a common inspection framework and will be inspected against the same four areas:

  • Effectiveness of leadership and management
  • Quality of teaching, learning and assessment
  • Personal development, behaviour and welfare
  • Outcomes for children and learners.

Inspection handbooks will be produced for each category of setting to reflect the specific needs and expectations of the different education phases. These handbooks are due to be published in the summer term 2015. It will be interesting to see whether wraparound settings are recognised as a unique type of setting and therefore get their own handbook, or whether we will once again be lumped in with early years settings.
Read Ofsted's response to the consultation in full

National Playwork Conference
Catherine and I will be attending the National Playwork Conference down in Eastbourne next week. We're really looking forward to meeting up with friends old and new, and we'll have some lovely goodies to give away as well as a fab prize to win, so do stop by our stand to say hello!
Find out more about the National Playwork Conference

New standards for food served in school
Over the last couple of issues of the newsletter we have been exploring the implications of the new School Food Standards which came into effect on 1 January 2015 and which apply to all food served on school premises before 6.00pm. The School Food Standards are very rigid on what you can't serve at your club, so this month we have been taking a look at what you can serve.
Read our new article on the food that you can serve at your club
For information on who the School Food Standards apply to, see our previous article

New Disability Matters website
A new website has been launched, called Disability Matters, to support adults working with disabled children. Developed by the Disability Matters Consortium, a group of national organisations working with disabled children and parents, the website features a range of e-learning resources to help organisations and workers develop the communication and problem-solving skills required to work confidently with disabled children. The e-learning sessions are free and cover a wide range of topics including communication, celebrating abilities, meaningful inclusion and hidden disabilities.
Visit the Disability Matters website

Ofsted improvement events
Ofsted is holding a series of seminars and conferences around the country with the aim of helping education and childcare settings raise the standard of provision. Eligible providers will be contacted directly with details of how to book, but if you don't receive an invitation you can book directly by contacting the organisers on The GOV.UK website is so far showing events for early years and childcare settings in the East Midlands and London during March, but additional dates and locations will be added in the near future so it is worth checking back.
Check the list of events for early years and childcare settings

Requirements for management committees
We have recently heard that some committee-run out of school clubs have been graded 'inadequate' by their Ofsted inspector, not because of the quality of care that is provided, but because the committee has failed to undertake basic safeguarding requirements. We all know how difficult it can be to replace committee members who resign, and how tempting it is to grab anyone who shows willing, but you must remember that safe recruitment also applies to committee members not just to staff. In particular, if your club is a committee-run setting you must:

  • Notify Ofsted of changes to your committee
  • Complete Ofsted form EY2 (Declaration and consent form for all individuals connected with a registered provision) for all new committee members
  • Obtain an enhanced DBS disclosure for each committee member
  • Notify Ofsted of changes to the nominated person (the person who represents your organisation when dealing with Ofsted)
  • Notify Ofsted of a change of manager

You should also bear in mind the guidance in Ofsted’s Guide to registration on the early years register, which states:

"Whenever organisations have new committee members they must make sure they have the skills and knowledge to fulfil their roles and responsibilities in relation to the childcare. If the entire committee changes, the outgoing members will be expected to ensure that the new committee members understand their roles and responsibilities." (p19, Guide to registration on the early years register)

Two things to do right now!

  1. Involve the children in daily environment checks
    You should be conducting environment checks on a daily basis to ensure that your setting is safe for the children, but at the same time it is also important to encourage children to assess risks for themselves. You can facilitate this by creating a child-friendly daily check which is suitable for children of most ages and abilities. Start by taking photos of five or six areas of your club, eg, kichen, entrance, garden, snack area, etc, and then paste them onto a single side of A4, with a tick box beside each photo. You could add space for the child's name and the date, if required, and then laminate the whole thing. This can now be used on a daily basis with white board pens, asking the children to assess each area and tick the box if it is safe.

    Having children conduct environment checks in this way is very popular with Ofsted inspectors, tutors of childcare courses and even the children doing the checks! It encourages children to understand and assess risks, and to take an active part in ensuring that their environment is safe.

  2. Check that staff are not disqualified by association
    When you recruit new staff you must check that they are not disqualified from working with children. (This requirement is typically fulfilled via the DBS check and by the member of staff signing an appropriate declaration on your application form.) However you are also required to ensure that the staff member is not 'disqualified by association':

    "A registered provider or a childcare worker may also be disqualified because they live in the same household as another person who is disqualified, or because they live in the same household where a disqualified person is employed." Para 3.15, Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage 2014

    This could mean that someone could be disqualified from working within a childcare setting, just because they happen to share a house with someone, or even employ someone as a gardener or cleaner, who is disqualified. The reasoning behind this seemingly harsh rule is to remove the potential for a member of staff to be 'groomed' in order to gain access to the children.

    As well as checking new staff, you also have an ongoing duty to check that existing employees do not become disqualified either through their own actions or through association with someone who is disqualified. You should implement a system in which all employees are asked to confirm on a regular basis that they are still suitable for employment. For example you could get each employee to confirm this at their annual appraisal, by signing and dating a simple form which states that they are not disqualified, and that no one living or working within their household is disqualified. You could use the same form for new employees as well. This will demonstrate to Ofsted that you are following safe recruitment practices, and complying with regulatory requirements.
    Download our template Confirmation of suitability to work form

    Note that if a member of staff does become disqualified you cannot continue to employ them, however it is possible for Ofsted to 'waive' a disqualification in certain circumstances. The disqualified person needs to apply to Ofsted themselves to request the waiver. See the Ofsted guide below for more information.
    Download the Ofsted guide: Applying to waive disqualification

Activity idea: Ancient scrolls
We've been experimenting with creating mysterious ancient scrolls. Cold tea and judicious distressing of the paper give them an authentic ancient feel, then the children can use them for treasure maps, secret messages or even ancient curses! They had lots of fun with this one - but you do need to be able to dry lots of damp sheets of paper overnight.
Download the Ancient Scrolls activity factsheet

Activity ideas: Eiffel Tower Day
The Eiffel Tower was first opened on 31 March 1889, and to celebrate this anniversary we have added a selection of French-themed activities to our Alternative Festivals Calendar.
Check out the Eiffel Tower Day activites
Visit our Alternative Festivals Calendar

Activity ideas: Mother's Day crafts
This year Mother's Day falls on 15 March, so here is a reminder of some activities to try at your club:

Don't forget that we have plenty more activity ideas in our Activity Library.

Activity idea: Egg race
If you're looking for a chocolate-free activity for Easter, try an egg race. This involves opposing teams constructing something to transport an egg the furthest. This could be a vehicle, or a platform for rolling the egg, etc. We used rubber eggs to limit the cleaning up required afterwards! Rubber eggs are pretty easy to get hold of at this time of year, but if you can't find them locally, they are definitely available at
Instructions for Akela's egg race
An example of an egg race
Another example of an egg race

Latest vacancies from OOSA Jobs

Job titleLocationClosing date
PlayworkersKent and Surrey28/2/2015
Deputy ManagerManchester28/2/2015
Session ManagerCrick, Northamptonshire13/3/2015
PlayworkerEltisley, Cambrigeshire21/3/2015

Diary of events for the out of school club sector

3-4 March 2015
Winter Gardens, Eastbourne
13th National Playwork Conference
7 March 2015
Forth Valley College, Falkirk
Play Scotland Conference: Play for Life 2
6-7 March 2015
Olympia, London
Childcare Expo London
13 March 2015
National Skipping Day
19-21 March 2015
NEC, Birmingham
The Education Show
29 April 2015
Taunton, Somerset
Somerset Play Forum: Play Celebration 2015
17 May 2015
National Children's Day UK
9-10 June 2015
University of Gloucestershire
Philosphy at Play conference
5 August 2015
Playday 2015
25-26 September 2015
Ricoh Arena, Coventry
Childcare Expo Midlands

If you know of other events that should be included in this list, please drop us an email with the details.