Safeguarding in After School Clubs

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Before you venture into providing out-of-school care to children, it’s vital that you train your staff and yourself adequately. But what qualifications do you need or safeguarding in after school clubs?

Reading through the government material on legal requirements and best practices can be quite time-consuming. To help, in this article we’ve listed exactly what qualifications and/or training you and your team will need to properly and safely care for children.


Prior to becoming too concerned about what qualifications you need to run an after-school club, you must apply to register your organisation with Ofsted.

Which of the registers you apply with depends on the ages of the children you’ll be looking after:

  • Early Years Childcare Register – Sign up for the Early Years Childcare Register if you’ll be caring for children from birth age until the 31st August after their 5th birthday.
  • Childcare Register – If you’ll be caring for children from the 1st September after their 5th birthday until they turn 8, sign up with the Compulsory Register. If you’ll be looking after children aged 8 or above, sign up for the Voluntary Register.

N.B. Most after-school clubs are on all three registers, as they often look after children from Reception age to Year 6.

What qualifications do you need for safeguarding in after school clubs?

So, now that you’ve registered with Ofsted, how should you train your staff? Again, it depends largely on the ages of the children you’ll be caring for. For all those caring for children on non-domestic premises, there is a blanket list of requirements:

  • There should always be at least one member of staff on site who has a paediatric first-aid certificate.
  • You should create/follow a clear, central safeguarding in after school clubs policy on the premises, based on the guidance of the Local Safeguarding Children’s Partnership (LSCP) and/or local authority, and train all your staff accordingly.
You should train staff to handle food safely.
  • Early Years Providers ‘must have some regard’ for the Prevent Duty guidance outlined by the government.
  • There must be a designated practitioner/person for child protection, similar to a school’s designated safeguarding lead (DSL). This person must have attended/participated in a child protection training course, based on the advice of the local LSCP or local authority. Such a course must specifically train them to recognise the signs of abuse and neglect.
  • All staff must have a command of English sufficient enough to liaise with local authorities, fill out reports, understand medication and allergen details and generally be able to deal with any administrative issues. Whilst there is no specific qualification required here, you should educate your staff properly in English if they need it.
  • All staff involved in food handling and/or preparation, whether that be basic snacks or otherwise, must receive some formal food hygiene training.

The Early Years Registers

For those working in out-of-school clubs under the Early Years Register, there are some additional requirements you must meet under the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework. Which requirements you face depends on the ages of the children you care for:

Caring for those at reception age and/or older

  • You must have a designated Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) in your staff.

Caring for those younger than reception age

  • You must have a designated Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) in your staff.
  • You must have any setting managers and/or supervisors trained with an appropriate Level 3 Childcare Qualification.
  • At least half of the staff who work directly with these younger children must have a Level 2 Childcare Qualification.
  • The above qualifications should be clearly presented onsite and/or made available to parents.

Conclusion and best practice

Many out-of-school clubs, then, no longer have a requirement for a specific qualification. However, you are still legally-required to properly educate your staff in several key areas – safeguarding in after school clubs being one of them. This can be done through online training. We offer a specific safeguarding course for out of school clubs.

Moreover, best practice is that all of your staff are formally educated. You should keep suitable evidence e.g. any certificates within your records. Note that many Childcare Insurers, such as Morton Michel, list such evidenced training as a prerequisite.

Furthermore, you could have a trained fire warden onsite, to ensure proper evacuation in the event of fire.