While children around the country look forward to their holidays, many parents face the task of trying to find suitable childcare to allow them to work. Holiday playschemes give children the chance to mix with others their age, try new outdoor activities or go on exciting day trips.
Holiday playschemes operate during the main school holidays. They are usually open daily, between 9am to 5.30pm. However, this will vary from scheme to scheme.
Check with the Family Information Service to see if the playscheme is registered. All childcare provision for children aged under eight requires registration if it is open for over two hours a day for six or more days in any year.
Ask about the age range and number of children the scheme accepts and see if this is what you want for your child.
Arrival and departure
Consider whether the scheme allows children to arrive and leave unaccompanied (usually called an 'open access scheme'). If the scheme does not, then think about who will deliver and collect your children. Playschemes other than open access schemes should only let children leave with nominated adults.
Check to see if the certificate of registration is on display and find out about the scheme's policies and procedures, eg how they deal with bullying, or what happens if a child is ill. Ensure you know what procedures they have in place if your child has an accident or needs medical treatment.
Information about you and your child
Make sure that the scheme asks for enough information about you and your child so that:
you or someone else you nominate can be contacted in an emergency
they have information about your child's likes and dislikes, and so that they can give appropriate care including any medical or dietary requirements
Questions you also need to ask
What does your child need to bring each day? (eg food and drink, extra clothes, sun cream and a hat, money for snacks etc)
What outings take place away from the premises? Any arrangements in place to get your consent and keep you well informed?
Are the outings safe for children?
Is there an outside play area?
What to do if youre concerned
If you have any concerns about the quality or integrity of your childcare provider, you can contact the regulating body, OFSTED, on 08456 404040.
How can I find a holiday playscheme?
The Family Information Service holds information on all the registered childcare in the Ealing borough. Search for local holiday playschemes on the Family Services Directory .
Ealing Play Service run a number of holiday playschemes, breakfast clubs and after school clubs.