Newsletter January 2018

Welcome to the January 2018 issue of the Out of School Alliance newsletter.

Demand for breakfast clubs has increased

According to a survey carried out by the DfE, the percentage of families using breakfast clubs has increased from four per cent in 2010-11 to eight per cent today. The Childcare and Early Years Survey of Parents 2017 was conducted in the first half of 2017, and found that overall the demand for formal childcare has increased since 2010-11. Unsurprisingly, it found that higher earning families were more likely to be using formal childcare than lower earning families. The survey also showed that 38 per cent of children used an after-school club. The accompanying data tables cover a range of other topics, such as how much parents spend on childcare, how easy it is to access the childcare they need, and what, if any, financial support they receive.
See a summary of the results of the survey in Nursery World
Read the results of the Childcare and early years survey in full

Government cancels plans for funding expansion of early years places

Nursery World has reported that the DfE has quietly cancelled its planned early years investment fund. The £30 million fund was expected to provide early years settings with funding in the form of cheap loans to help them expand the number of places available under the 30 hours 'free' childcare scheme. Apparently the fund has been shelved at the last minute because there were concerns that it did not offer the best use of resources.
Read the full article in Nursery World

New: The Low Stress Party Book

We are delighted to announce the launch our latest publication: The Low Stress Party Book. In a world where we are bombarded with 'perfect' images on Instagram and Facebook, it is easy to get sucked into thinking that children's parties need to be elaborate affairs, which require weeks of preparation and dizzying expense. But in reality, most children need little more than lots of balloons, crisps and something to keep them entertained! So The Low Stress Party Book aims to be the antidote to competitive partying: we've put together a selection of low cost/low effort party games, food and decoration ideas so that you can actually enjoy your child's party (and also amaze the other parents with your laidback demeanour).

The Low Stress Party Book is supplied in PDF format and normally sells for £11.00, but for the month of January OOSA members can buy it for just £9.00 by using the discount code CHILLED at the checkout.
Find out more about the The Low Stress Party Book

Special offer: STEAMED membership

STEAMEDSTEAMED is a virtual club for children aged 8-14 years old with weekly webinars and mini challenges. Every week STEAMED broadcasts interviews with influencers and innovators from the world of science, tech and digital media into schools and after-school clubs. STEAMED members get access to a library of replays so that they can watch the broadcast at their convenience.

If you're looking to provide something a little bit different at your club, and especially something to grab the interest of the older children, then STEAMED could be the answer. And now OOSA members can give it a try at a special price of just £30 per month with no minimum subscription period. To obtain your special OOSA discounted price, just use the discount code OOSA at the check-out.
Visit the STEAMED website to find out more

Free: Multi-faith calendar 2018

The Early Years Inspection Handbook specifies that settings should provide "opportunities for children to learn about people and communities beyond their immediate experience" and also "reflect and value the diversity of children's backgrounds and experiences". To help you with planning appropriate activities, we have updated our free multi-faith calendar so that it lists the key festivals of the main world religions for 2018.
Download the 2018 Multi-faith calendar

Two things to do right now!

1. Don't let bad weather stop play
The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage requires you to provide outdoor play for the children each day, unless the weather prevents it.
"Providers must provide access to an outdoor play area or, if that is not possible, ensure that outdoor activities are planned and taken on a daily basis (unless circumstances make this inappropriate, for example unsafe weather conditions)."
Para 3.58, EYFS 2017

At this time of year, it is easy to claim that the weather prevents safe outdoor play, just because it's cold or wet outside, but this really isn't the case. Just make sure that you are prepared: have a box of gloves, hats and wellies available for the children to access themselves. We asked parents to donate outdoor gear that had been outgrown and then we topped up for the bigger children by buying in a few items cheaply. You just need to end up with a range a sizes from which the children can help themselves. Inspectors seem to like this approach, as it gives children a degree of autonomy when choosing whether to play outside or not, and you're also meeting your obligations to provide opportunities for outdoor play, regardless of the season.

2. Keep evidence of your planning
Just telling your Ofsted inspector that you do planning or observations is not sufficient to get you a decent inspection grade. You need to provide evidence to substantiate your claims, and remember, the more you involve children in the process of planning and evaluation, the happier your inspector will be. For example:

  • Take photos, or even film the planning process.
  • Keep copies of any written planning – if you use a whiteboard for planning, take a photo of it, each time you update it.
  • Take photos of children participating in the planned activities.
  • Find a simple way of asking children to evaluate activities – for example, you can stick a photo of the children undertaking a planned activity on an evaluation sheet, and ask them to attach an appropriate emoji sticker to reflect how they felt about it.
  • Make regular observations for your Early Years children – these don’t have to be too onerous, but should be completed fairly regularly, at least once a week.
  • Use a suggestion box to ask children for ideas of activities they’d like to do.
  • Get children and parents to complete a satisfaction survey. This should be done at least once a year, and once you have received the completed forms, go through them and summarise the overall opinions, and identify areas of strength and weakness, so you can make changes as appropriate. Don’t throw the completed surveys away, refer back to them later in the year to help you assess whether or not you have improved your provision as a result of the feedback.

Our Parent Communication Pack includes template satisfaction surveys for parents and children.
Find out more about the Parent Communication Pack

Playwork Conference 2018

The National Playwork Conference 2018 is scheduled to take place in Eastbourne on 6 and 7 March. The organisers are looking for 200 people to confirm now that they will be attending, in order for the event to go ahead. Payment is not required at this stage, just a firm commitment. The Playwork Conference is an excellent event for anyone involved in the world of play. Participants come away invigorated with new ideas and enthusiasm, and having made useful connections with like-minded people. We highly recommend it!

The cost is £300 per person which includes the two-day conference, one night's hotel accommodation, and the Playwork Awards dinner. Discounts are available for multiple delegates from the same organisation.
Download the conference leaflet for more information

Safer Internet Day 2018

Safer Internet Day 2018 will take place on Tuesday 6th February with the theme 'Create, Connect and Share Respect: a better internet starts with you'. Coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre, the celebration sees hundreds of schools and organisations join together to raise awareness of online safety issues and run events and activities right across the UK.

The SID website contains a range of resources to help promote the day, as well as suggested activities for different ages of children, and a series of short, age-appropriate, films that focus on healthy online relationships and digital wellbeing.
Find out more about Safer Internet Day

Playwork apprenticeship questionnaire

Could you spare 5 minutes to complete a very quick survey on behalf of the Playwork Apprenticeship Trailblazer Group? They are gathering data on the numbers of staff at out of school clubs, and the qualifications they hold. The results of the survey will feed into the development of a new Level 2 Playworker qualification and a new Level 3 Playwork Co-ordinator Apprenticeship. The Trailblazer Group need feedback from as many playwork employers as possible by the end of this month. Your help is will be much appreciated!
Respond to the survey

New Early Years training website

A new website called EYUpSkill has been launched, which aims to provide practitioners with impartial support and information about early years training providers and professional development pathways. It has been developed with funding from the DfE and VCS. Currently it seems to be mainly a directory of training providers, although it seems likely that more 'support and information' will be added in due course. It's regional search facility could well prove to be useful if you are looking to track down specific training (eg safeguarding, Prevent, SEN) in your local area.
Visit the EYUpSkill website

Activity ideas: Chinese Year of the Dog

The Chinese Year of the Dog begins on 16 February 2018, so we've looked out a couple of doggy activities for you to do with the kids. The first craft is these origami dog faces. They are so easy that even the youngest children should be able to make them, and for the children who like more of a challenge, we've included a link to another, more complex origami dog pattern as well.
Download the Origami Dogs factsheet

If the kids don't fancy origami, they could have a go at making these dogs. You just need some cardboard tubes, split pins and paint, but the end results are really cute!
Download the Toilet Roll Dogs factsheet

Activity ideas: Science themed activities

If you're looking for activities based around a science theme, we've got loads of relevant factsheets in our Activities Library. For example:
Plastic from milk
Elastic slime
Grow your own crystals
Self-inflating balloons
Fizzing moon rocks
Balloon racers
Secret writing

Also, take a look at our Alternative Festivals Calendar - you'll find links to lots of science-related projects and activities connected to all sorts of anniversaries throughout the year, such as Static Electricity Day, Thomas Edison's birthday and World Radio Day.

Latest vacancies from OOSA Jobs
Job titleLocationClosing date
PlayworkerSidcup, Kent10/1/2018
Holiday Club ManagerPlymouth12/2/2018


Diary of events for the out of school club sector
2-3 February 2018
Business Design Centre, London
Nursery World Show 2018
6-7 March 2018
16th National Playwork Conference
15-17 March 2018
NEC, Birmingham
The Education Show 2018
22 March 2018
Central London
Safeguarding Children in the Digital Age
11-12 May 2018
The Exhibition Centre, Liverpool
Nursery World North 2018
11-12 June 2018
Porthtowan, Cornwall
Inspirational Outdoors - A two-day outdoor learning and play conference
1 August 2018
Playday 2018

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