SCHOOL'S OUT: Framework for the Development of Out-of-School Care
The overall aims of School's Out are to:
- promote the benefits and effects of good-quality out-of-school care);
- help and encourage the development of good-quality, accessible and sustainable OSC in response to parental demand; and
- deliver the priorities set out in the conclusion at the end of this document.
We will achieve these aims by:
- providing information, guidance and examples of good practice;
- providing extra resources for the childcare strategy;
- focusing on three priorities for action, as set out in the conclusion to this document; and
- making recommendations to local authorities and the enterprise bodies and monitoring progress, as set out in the conclusion to this document.
Who School's Out is for
School's Out will be interesting, and useful for policy makers in a range of organisations including:
- childcare partnerships;
- local authorities;
- local enterprise companies; and
- childcare umbrella organisations - such as the Scottish Out of School Care Network (SOSCN) and Scottish Independent Nurseries Association (SINA) which offer membership and a range of services to childcare or pre-school providers.
It will help these organisations to develop OSC at local level.
School's Out also contains information and guidance for:
- service providers; and
Service providers will be especially interested in the examples of good practice and case studies. They should feel free to find out more about the examples of good practice to help their work. There are contact details in Appendix 7. We know that clubs, childcare partnerships and others throughout the country are doing a great deal in their own areas. So, the good practice in School's Out is just a sample.
Headteachers in primary and secondary schools will be especially interested in section 6 on the effect and benefits of OSC, in section 8 on the use of premises and in section 14 dealing with the conclusions and recommendations.
It is clear that we need the expertise and knowledge of a wide range of interested groups to deliver the childcare strategy, including local authorities, childcare providers, the enterprise networks and employers.
We wrote to a range of organisations in December 2001 asking for their help in improving the delivery of out-of-school care (OSC) services. The idea then was to make progress in a few important areas such as using school premises (some services operate in premises that do not suit the purpose). We have been developing these ideas. This is why School's Out deals with many issues and not just those set out in the letter sent in December 2001.
Children's views have been important in shaping School's Out. We carried out a focused consultation with over 400 children and young people, some with additional support needs. Their views are summarised in section 5. There is a full analysis of the consultations in Appendix 2. We refer to the views of children, parents and the OSC workforce throughout this document.
Children in need - children from vulnerable families - children with additional support needs
We also refer to policies and practices in relation to:
- children in need;
- children from vulnerable families; and
- children with additional support needs.
This is because all of School's Out is relevant to them and to their families.
It is important in this Introduction to define 'children in need', 'children from vulnerable families' and 'children with additional support needs' since we use these terms at the start of the document.
Under section 22 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 (the 1995 Act), local authorities have a duty to protect and promote the welfare of children in need.
'Children in need' is defined in section 93(4) of the 1995 Act. In 1996, the Scottish Office expanded on this short, statutory definition in the document, Scotland's Children: A Brief Guide to the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 as follows.
'Any reference to a child being in need in the Act means a child is in need of care and attention because:
- He/she is unlikely to achieve or maintain, or to have the opportunity of achieving or maintaining, a reasonable standard of health or development unless services are provided for him/her under or through Part II of the Act;
- His/her health or development is likely significantly to be impaired, or further impaired, unless such services are provided;
- He/she is disabled; or affected adversely by the disability of any other person in his/her family.'
So children in need are children who need support for health or development reasons. Children in need may also include children from vulnerable families - they are a subset of children in need. They may need extra support because of their family background or circumstances.
The draft Additional Support for Learning Bill replaces the term, 'special educational needs' with 'additional support needs.' The reason for this change in term is to allow us to identify and address the needs of a much broader range of children. The support will be extra to that which other children normally receive to help a child make the educational progress that is expected of him or her. The legislation should include references to a 'barrier to learning' at any time, and for whatever reason, during the child's time at school. Educational potential could be hindered for social, cognitive and language reasons or by factors relating to disability or to family or care circumstances.
Some children may be 'in need' and have 'additional support needs', so will be covered by both definitions.
We set up a working group across the sectors to reach conclusions on a number of issues affecting the way OSC is delivered. The members of the working group are listed in Appendix 1. The working group met throughout 2002 and in January 2003.
School's Out emphasises what we and others can do to make sure there is more stability in the way OSC is delivered for the benefit of children, parents and the wider community.
The current position, where local authorities have the powers under section 27 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 to deliver OSC, will continue. OSC will continue to be provided by the voluntary, private and statutory sectors, and by independent schools. The voluntary and private sectors pioneered the provision of OSC services and they should continue to be actively involved.
Most sections in School's Out contain information, guidance and good-practice examples as follows.
- The information boxes pick out main points that local authorities, childcare partnerships and others will want to take into account when considering the future development of OSC;
- The guidance boxes provide our views on the way forward for the development of OSC. The guidance is also summarised in Appendix 5.
- The good-practice boxes highlight the many examples of good-practice and innovative working throughout the country.
To make it easier to read, the main information, guidance and good-practice examples are in text boxes. We also use quotes throughout the document to illustrate certain points. These quotes are mostly from case studies produced for us by the Scottish Out of School Care Network.