Thinking out of the box about out of school care

Last week our Dundee management team, Lesley Tait and Lynda Young, were delighted to take part in the Scottish Out of School Care Network (SOSCN) planning meeting regarding Shaping the Frameworks for the future of out of school care. This event was run jointly by SOSCN and the Out of School Care team from the Scottish Government.

Lesley and Lynda thoroughly enjoyed the session saying “It’s always useful to stop and really consider our offering for older children, our OSC caters for children aged up to 16 years and the provision that they look for is completely different to the care that we give to our younger children. It was great meeting up with other providers and listen to the challenges and positive outcomes that they are experiencing in their clubs.”

Our thoughts stayed with OSC on Wednesday when we took part in a meeting with the Scottish Government to develop a framework for the sector for consultation over this summer. Flexibility was discussed in great depth considering what it meant for an OSC with very differing demands from a day care setting. How do we offer flexibility to OSC, that suits families and children, meets regulations, is affordable and is of a high quality? All points for discussion on the day and all covered by the service we provide in Dundee.

We are affordable, we charge by the hour, which includes pick up and drop offs at schools. The feedback that we have received from the families that use our service lets us know that our “pay for what you book” model supports them in not having to pay for sessions that they don’t require just to keep their space available. We have children coming and going from 3.30pm onwards and staffing flexes to meet ratios at all times. This is how we keep our service sustainable but can be the most challenging part of our service to manage.

Children who attend our service come from many different schools which gives them the opportunity to socialise out with their peer group. We have worked hard with the Care Inspectorate to ensure high quality is being delivered with the complete flexibility that we offer.

We are so excited to have been included in these valuable and informative discussions and feel our model could be used by others in the sector to help them achieve their OSC delivery goals. We’re currently creating a support and accreditation package to help other providers increase flexibility in their delivery model, watch this space, it will be launching soon.

Meantime, if you want to get in touch with us to find out more about how our model works and how you can adapt it to work for your setting please do. We’re happy to help.