UPDATE 23 Feb: Schools in England to reopen on 8 March
The Government announced on 22 February that schools will reopen to all pupils from 8 March. Wraparound settings will be able to reopen to all children from that date, so long this is to enable parents to access work, education or medical care. The updated guidance for out of school settings was published on 23 February. For a summary of the key points for out of school clubs from 8 March onwards, see our article:
Out of school clubs from 8 March 2021 onwards
Schools in England to remain closed until 8 March
UPDATE: The current restrictions on attending school will remain in place until 8 March. This means that schools will not be re-opening immediately after half-term, and the same applies to out of school clubs. The current restrictions on club opening will remain in force until 8 March, including over the half-term holiday. This means that you are allowed to operate a holiday club over the half term holiday, and before and after-school care for the two weeks following half term, but only for children who fall into one of 'eligible' groups (ie those who are classed as vulnerable, or whose parents are key workers; and also any early years children).
New national lockdown: January to 8 March
The Government announced on the evening of 4 January that England is to enter a new lockdown from 5 January until the middle of February. This includes the closure of all primary and secondary schools and colleges.
The guidance for wraparound clubs and other children's activities for children over reception age (Protective measures for holiday and after school clubs) was updated on 8 January (and again on 2 Feb) and makes it clear that such provision is allowed to open but only for 'eligible' children. This means children who are deemed vulnerable or whose parents are critical workers.
"For the duration of the national lockdown, out-of-school settings should only offer face-to-face provision for:
- children of critical workers, where it is reasonably necessary to enable their parents to work, search for work, attend education or training, or attend a medical appointment
- vulnerable children and young people
Out-of-school settings should not be used as a replacement for school or early years attendance."
(See: Protective measures for holiday and after school clubs)
The updated guidance has slightly strengthened the recommendation to keep children in the same bubbles as schools if at all possible, but also recognises that this is not always feasible, and that, as before, it is acceptable to create a new bubble for your after-school club, but you should aim to keep these bubbles as static as possible. The guidance also says that if necessary, one member of staff can supervise two bubbles so long as the individual bubbles are small.
Other changes in the updated guidance are:
- All educational visits and other trips should cease for the time being.
- Providers of music, dance or drama activities should host no performances during lockdown.
- During the new lockdown, shielding has been reintroduced so clinically extremely vulnerable staff are advised not to attend the workplace.
The general guidance for the new lockdown (National Lockdown: Stay at Home) includes the following information, relevant to out of school clubs:
- Childcare for early years children is unaffected.
- Community premises, such as community centres and village halls must close except for certain excempt services. These include the provision of childcare for eligible children. So if your club operates from such premises it is allowed to remain open, but only 'eligible' children can attend.
Protective measures for holiday and after-school clubs (23 Feb 2021)