Keeping Children Safe in Out Of School Settings (OOSS)

An out of school setting (OOSS) is a group, club, individual, or provider offering tuition, training, instruction, or activities to children in England without their parents’ or carers’ supervision that is not a:

  • School
  • College
  • 16-19 academy
  • provider caring for children under 8 years old which is registered with Ofsted or a childminder agency.

Parents/carers need to be aware that out of school settings providers are not subject to the same regulation as registered schools or childcare settings. They 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) meaning that:

  • any person can work at an out of school setting
  • tutors do not have to be a qualified teacher

Examples of out of school settings

There are a range of activities which would be considered to be an out of school setting including, but not restricted to, the following:

  • tuition and learning centres
  • extracurricular clubs or settings, e.g. sports, dance, music, art and drama classes, tuition, clubs and training
  • uniformed youth organisations, e.g. the Scouts, Guides and cadets
  • open access youth providers
  • supplementary schools
  • private language schools, including those for children coming from abroad
  • religious settings which offer education in their own faith, e.g. yeshivas, madrassahs and Sunday schools

Guidance to support you choosing a safe setting for your child

Most Out of school settings are safe spaces which provide fun, educational activities and classes for children of all ages. However, as a parent or carer, you will want to be reassured that your child is safe while they are not in your care.

In October 2020 the Department for Education (DfE) published a collection of guidance to parents and providers in relation to out-of-school settings (OOSS). The guidance documents are intended to help you choose a safe setting for your child. They cover community activities, after-school clubs, supplementary schools, tuition, music lessons, sports training and include:

  • questions you may want to ask a provider
  • examples of good answers you should expect to hear back
  • warning signs you should look out for when choosing a provider

Guidance for Parents and Carers on Choosing Safe Out‑of-School Settings

You should feel able to ask questions about the provider’s activities and policies. A well-run and trustworthy provider will welcome questions. Questions to help parents and carers choose out-of-school settings

Disclaimer: It is recommended that you always check with providers that their service or organisation meets your requirements. The Council offers an impartial information and signposting service but cannot recommend or endorse any providers listed.

Guidance for parents and carers of children attending out-of-school settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

Code of Practice for providers

The guidance for parents and carers sits alongside a code of practice for providers, which lays out the minimum level of safeguarding practice providers should have in place to reduce the risk of harm to children in clubs, tuition or community-led activities. You can find the ‘Keeping Children Safe during Community Activities, After‑School Clubs and Tuition’ code of practice and parental guidance at gov.uk.

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