Choosing your out of school care

Out of schools clubs, also called breakfast or homework, are used by working parents to help with childcare outside of core school hours. 

They vary greatly in size, hours and activities. To help you choose the one that is right for you and your child, we have prepared a checklist and some more information. 

Clubs are often held in your child’s school, but can also take place in other local schools or community centers. Staff would then escort the children to the different location. They are usually organised per age group, and along with homework support, allow children to spend time with their friends playing games or doing arts and crafts. 

The most common types of clubs offered by schools are:

  • Breakfast clubs: you might have guessed it with the name, but they include breakfast and usually some activities)
  • After school clubs: once again, this is pretty self-explanatory. After schools clubs help working parents cover the break between the end of the school day and the time they leave work. Children can take part in activities, have a small snack and do their homework. 
  • Extended services: depending on your child’s school, there may be clubs they can join, such as drama, sport, music etc

All the clubs run for more than two hours a day and 14 days a year by schools must be registered on the Ofsted Childcare Register. Rules vary slightly for clubs that are not run by schools or available less than two hours a day: find out more here. An Ofted rating gives parents the peace of mind that their child is safe and well looked after, but also means you’re able to use childcare vouchers or working tax credits to help with the cost.

We’ve prepared a little checklist to help you make the right choice:

Download it here

We think school clubs are a great way for your child to spend time with their friends while you’re at work, however they do have disadvantages that are worth keeping in mind.

Because of the convenience they offer, out-of-school clubs can be very busy. For younger or quiet children, this can be quite overwhelming. Also, an out-of-school club usually closes around 6pm/6:30pm and are not open during the holidays. If you’re regularly stuck in traffic or at work, they may lack flexibility. Schools sometimes also provide holiday childcare, but not always. The last point to consider is the cost: clubs charge per child, so if you’ve got more than one it can add up quickly. 

Remember, childcare vouchers can help you save up to £933 a year on childcare cost, and can be used in most out-of-school clubs.