Once the business plan has been decided then the next issue is to determine a location for the after school club. The age and number of children that you have planned to look after in your business plan will be partly determined by the premises, as you will need to have sufficient space for children to play safely in an indoor and outdoor environment.
Some questions to ask yourself when looking at premises are:
- Is there somewhere in the school that is suitable?
- Is there somewhere in the local community that is already being used by local childcare that is suitable?
- Do you need to apply for planning consents e.g. for change of use?
- Is there suitable access for people with disabilities?
- How will you get children to the club?
If you will need to walk the children from the school to the club, is there a safe route? If you will need to drive the children you need to factor in the additional transport costs to your business plan.
- What facilities are available: is there adequate storage, use of kitchen, outdoor play area?
Your club must have access to an outdoor play area or, if that is not possible, you must ensure that outdoor activities (e.g. a trip to a local park) are planned and taken on a daily basis (weather permitting).
There must also be an area where staff can talk confidentially to parents or carers. This does not necessarily need to be a separate room: a quiet corner where you will not be disturbed or overheard would suffice.
- Is there sufficient space for indoor play to comply with Ofsted requirements?
For children aged three to five years the space requirements are 2.3 sq metres per child. There are no statutory space requirements for older children.
- Are there sufficient toilet and hand-washing facilities?
EYFS states that there should be an adequate number of toilet and hand basins available. The Childcare Register states that: there must be a sufficient number of toilet and hand washing facilities suitable for the use of children. Neither register specifies what constitutes a sufficient number, it is up to you as a provider to decide and potentially justify to your Ofsted inspector. In addition there should normally be separate toilet facilities for adults.
Details of premises usage can be found in the Early Years Foundation Stage guidance. The main sections which apply to after school provision are section 3.54 to 3.66 of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) guidance for further specifications on what is required.
Once your premises have been agreed it is important that you carry out the relevant risk assessments on the property.