Out of school and holiday care

Out of school care includes after-school clubs, breakfast clubs, holiday clubs and playschemes. Most settings take children from the age of four, although some will accept three-year-olds. Activities include sport, arts, crafts, cooking and homework help.

We also have the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme, funded by the Department for Education. The programme aims to support the physical and mental health and wellbeing of children and young people, encouraging them to engage in interactive and fun activities. You can find out more information about the HAF programme on the Department for Education’s website.

Although there are a few exceptions, most out of school clubs that provide childcare (as opposed to clubs providing coaching in specific activities such as football) will need to be registered with Ofsted. However, if the club is run directly by a school (ie the club's staff are employed by the school governors) and at least one child from the school attends the club, in most cases it will come under the school's own Ofsted registration and does not need to register separately. 

Types of provision

Breakfast clubs

Breakfast clubs are:

  • open in the mornings before school so children can enjoy breakfast there and never be late for school
  • only for pupils that attend their school.

After school clubs

After school clubs are:

  • open in the afternoons usually between about 3.30pm and 6pm
  • are usually only for the children that attend the school
  • sometimes clubs run in community centres and have a collection service from certain schools. You will need to enquire about this service.

Holiday playschemes

Holiday playschemes are:

  • open during school holidays, usually from 8.30am to 6pm
  • usually held in community centres, schools or sports centres.

How much will it cost?

You can expect to pay between £15 and £40 per child per week for an after school childcare place and between £35 and £125 per child per week for a place at a holiday playscheme. 
Holiday Clubs that are part of the HAF programme will be free to children on benefits related free school meals.

Using an Ofsted-registered provider means that you may be able to get help with childcare costs by claiming the childcare element of a Working Tax Credit. You and your partner must both be working at least 16 hours per week.

Most providers are registered with Ofsted on the compulsory part of the Childcare Register if they have children under eight, or on the voluntary part of the Childcare Register if they have children aged eight to 17 years.

Schools no longer have to register their out-of-school clubs with Ofsted separately from their education provision.