Update 4 January: The latest Government announcement of a new national lockdown from 5 January onwards, means that all primary school sites are closed, except for children who are deemed eligible to attend. Similarly all out of school clubs are also closed, except where they are providing childcare for eligible children. For more details see our article:
Out of school clubs from January 2021
Update 23 December: The new Tier 4 came into effect on 20 December. The rules for Tier 4 are very similar to those for the November national lockdown. This means that childcare settings are allowed to remain open in Tier 4, so long as their purpose is to provide childcare to enable parents to work, seek work, or attend training or education. For more details see our article:
Tier 4 restrictions and out of school clubs
Update 27 November: The second national lockdown ends on 1 December. From 2 December onwards the national lockdown is lifted but you will then need to follow the restrictions for the Tier that applies to your area. Education and childcare settings (including out of school clubs) will remain open across all Tiers (unless specifically required to close due to local conditions).
General guidance for out of school clubs
The guidance for out of school clubs setting out how they can operate from September 2020 onwards was published on 20 August. It has since been updated on 28 September, 15 October, 5 November, 27 November and 22 December. You can download the latest version of the guidance here:
Protective measures for holiday and after-school clubs during the coronavirus outbreak
The requirements for out of school clubs from September onwards are very similar to the earlier guidance for holiday clubs and other out of school settings.
- Providers are advised to keep children in small groups of no more than 15 children, and that these groups should remain the same, wherever possible. The groups should not be mixed unless absolutely necessary.
- Multiple goups of 15 children, plus a member of staff, can use the same shared space, as long as you maintain appropriate distancing between the groups.
- Where it is not possible to keep the children in the same bubbles as they are in during the school day, you should seek to keep children in consistent groups, as far as possible, and frequently review these groups to minimise the amount of mixing.
- You can take children from different schools at your club, but you should aim to keep them in separate groups wherever possible.
- Before and after-school clubs are no longer restricted to only opening on school sites. You can operate from your usual premises.
- To help you review your groups, you should keep up-to-date records of the children attending your setting for at least 21 days, including the schools they attend and the specific groups and members of staff they have been assigned to in your setting.
The existing guidance on infection control remains largely the same:
- Minimise contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that anyone with Covid-19 symptoms or who has been advised to self-isolate does not attend your club.
- Frequent and thorough washing of hands by children and staff.
- Cleaning frequently-touched surfaces much more often than usual.
- Minimising the contact and mixing of children by changing the layout of your setting where possible, and adjusting routines to avoid over-crowding (eg changing drop off and collection procedures).
- Promoting good respiratory hygience by encouraging the children to use tissues for coughs and sneezes, to immediately bin the tissues, and then wash their hands.
- Keep your premises well ventilated and hold as much of the session outside as possible.
The Protective measures guidance also contains information about engaging with the NHS Test and Trace process and following the advice of the local health protection team in the event of a case of Covid-19 at your setting.
(If you have a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19 in your club, see our article on Managing a case of Covid-19 in your setting for more information.)
There is also more information about sharing resources. The Protective measures guidance recommends that:
- Outdoor playground equipment should be cleaned more frequently that usual, and where possible between use by different groups of children.
- Resources used within a single group, such as books or games, can be shared by the children within that bubble but should be cleaned regularly.
- Resources shared between groups, such as sports or art equipment, should be cleaned frequently and always before sharing with another group. Alternatively the equipment can be rotated so that it is left unused for 48 hours (or 72 hours for plastics) between use by different groups.
- For very frequently used items such as pencils and pens, children should ideally have their own supply.
The guidance also contains additional specific advice for clubs which provide music, dance or drama activities.
Early years children
For any early years children at your club (ie Reception and pre-school) you should follow the guidance for early years settings. The key difference for early years children is that you have much more flexibility with regards to the size and mixing of groups than for the older children.
Dowload the guidance for early years childcare settings (last updated 22 December)
Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus outbreak