Notice: Guidance on the response to the current COVID-19 outbreak with regard to Out of School Settings for providers and parents has been published by Ealing Council and is available on the right hand side of this page.
What is an out-of-school setting?
An out-of-school setting, sometimes referred to as an OOSS is a group, club, provider offering activity opportunities for children and young people; where children attend without their parents’ or carers’ supervision. When we talk about out-of-school settings, we are not referring to schools or other providers who are Ofsted registered.
Some examples of out-of-school settings:
- Tuition or learning centres
- Extracurricular clubs or settings e.g. ballet classes, gymnastic training, sports tuition, instrumental music tuition, martial arts training, drama classes.
- Uniformed youth organisations e.g. Scouts, Guides or Cadets.
- Youth clubs e.g. at a community or drop in centre or elsewhere.
- Supplementary schools i.e. Saturday schools or complementary schools (offering support or education in addition to the mainstream / core learning) which operate after school hours or during the weekend.
- Private language schools, including those for children coming from abroad.
- Religious settings which offer education in their own faith.
You may want you child to attend an OOSS to:
- Support your child’s school work
- Improve grades or exam results
- Learn a new skill i.e. how to play a musical instrument
- Take part in activities such as sports or drama
- Build confidence and ability in reading, maths or writing
- Teach your child more about their heritage, faith or culture
- Support you with childcare
Does the council hold a list of all the out-of-school settings in Ealing?
We have an online directory of activity providers and you may find some settings listed on it www.ealingfamiliesdirectory.org But we don’t hold an official, comprehensive list of all out-of-school settings as the majority are not Ofsted registered and therefore not legally obliged to follow any specific rules that we have to monitor.
For this reason, it’s really important that before sending your child to a new setting or signing them up for a club, that you ask the right questions, do some research and hear from other parents about their experiences of the OOSS you’re considering.
To help settings to better safeguard children in their care - Ealing Council has launched a new scheme that settings and providers can sign-up to called Ealing Quality Assurance. They can register to voluntarily put in place policies and safeguarding measures that will better ensure children’s safety. These cover practical issues like their premises and equipment, right through to how they recruit their staff and the safety checks they conduct.
Settings who register for the scheme are assessed on whether they meet the safeguarding guidance and those that do are awarded an Ealing Quality Assurance Mark. Wherever you see this mark / logo you’ll know that the setting follows the basic safeguarding guidance recommended by the council. This is useful in that it shows which settings have volunteered to improve their safeguarding of children; but should only be one of the considerations you take on board when choosing a setting. We still advise you to do research and obtain references.
If you are an Out of School Setting that would like to apply for the Ealing Assurance Mark, please complete our application form by clicking here
Are out-of-school settings regulated by Ofsted, the Department for Education or Ealing Council?
- Out of school settings are not required to be registered by any statutory organisation and there are no regulations governing tutors or many after school activities (unless it is an Ofsted registered childcare provision)
- Any person can work at an out-of-school setting
- Tutors do not have to be a qualified teacher
Can my child’s school help me to find an out-of-school setting or provider?
Your child’s school is often the best place to start. Many schools offer before and after-school clubs on the school site. Safety will then be covered by the policies and procedures of the school, giving more reassurance. Your child’s school may also know about good quality settings and providers that may be of interest. Some tutors work in association with schools, others work independently and can be found through talking to other parents and community forums, social media or noticeboards.
Whatever you arrange for your child, it is helpful to tell the school so that they’re aware and can support you more by discussing for example, what your child may need extra help with or what they feel would benefit your child most.
Keeping your child safe
This checklist tells you what to look out for when deciding if an out-of-school setting is a safe and suitable place for you child.
- Have staff had a DBS check?
- Are the staff experienced / qualified to work with children?
- Are they trained in health and safety?
- Is there always someone on-site who knows first aid?
- Are the staff trained in child protection and safeguarding?
- Does the setting have written policies and procedures that you can read or access that explain how they will safeguard children?
- Does the setting have a code of conduct policy for staﬀ and volunteers that you can read or access?
How do I know if the physical environment is safe?
- Is the building safe and secure? How do people access the facilities, is there a secure entry?
- Are exits and entry points monitored? Are ﬁre exits clearly marked?
- Is the room organised safely so that space is accessible and free from hazards?
- How do they organise collection procedures to ensure only authorised people can collect children?
Look listen and note
- Can you stay to observe the session / activity?
- Have you seen how staﬀ interact with the children?
- Have you seen how they manage children’s behaviour
- Does your child feel safe? Do they feel comfortable with the staﬀ and the environment?
- Who do you speak to if you have any concerns?
About DBS checks
The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) issues criminal record certificates to help employers determine the suitability of staff. These certificates will show whether the individual has ever been in trouble with the law and any other information the police believe is relevant.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
A well-run group, high quality tutors, coaches and organisations will always welcome questions about their activities, the safety of their environment and care of your child. So feel free to ask any questions you may have.
Please give us feedback
Ealing Council look forward to hearing from you if you have an experience of an OOSS you’d like to share or want to ask us a question or if you have any suggestions.