Wraparound childcare is an initiative that aims to support busy parents by helping local schools deliver childcare outside of normal school hours (breakfast clubs and after school).
This article is for parents to help you understand a bit more about the scheme and, importantly, how to get it in your child’s school.
Government research found that “parents want wraparound and holiday childcare for school-age children, but [find it] difficult to find something suitable and affordable.” As such, British schools have been encouraged to make their facilities available for use by the wider community. Offering wraparound and holiday childcare is a part of this.
While schools were given the option of charging parents (as long as proceeds were reinvested), this was not viable for all schools/parents and the Government promised £10m per year to help schools deliver wraparound care.
Parents have – what the government call – a ‘right to request’ wraparound care for children from Reception up to the end of Key Stage 3 (Year 9) at their child’s school.
The overall aim of the initiative is to help parents to work, or work for longer, if they choose to do so, by making childcare available during the week as well as school holidays.
And for the children? Good quality wraparound childcare has a positive impact on children’s outcomes. The evidence for this statement is borne out by research from NatCen that shows that participating in organised sports and joining after school clubs can help to improve primary school children’s academic performance and social skills.
Studies have also shown that children that have been active before school start the day more alert. This means they learn more/better than those who don’t do any physical activity first thing in the morning.
The data also showed that disadvantaged children, in particular, fared better when they attended after school clubs, including improved academic results in English, maths and science at the end of primary school.
Research also shows that “children who participated in organised sports and physical activities at any time during primary school had better social, emotional and behavioural skills than those who did not take part.”
The research proves the power of after- and pre-school clubs and physical activity, with wraparound childcare the government’s way of delivering these benefits to families.
Wraparound care is more important than ever after almost 2 years of punctuated lockdowns. Children need to get active after a period of relative inactivity to improve fitness levels. Also, extra time with their peers will improve the communication skills and confidence that may have declined during the pandemic.
Exercise your right to request and ask for wraparound care in your child’s school. Support your child’s development and reduce the impact on your working life.
The government have extensive guidelines for schools. We summarise this here to help you understand how the process works and what parents can expect.
“In handling the ‘rights to request’ arrangements, schools must act reasonably in dealing with parental and childcare provider requests and should be transparent about the process they choose to follow.”
How to get wraparound childcare in your child’s school?
As noted in the last bullet point above, if your child’s school get enough requests, they will be able to provide wraparound care.
You may already have requested wraparound care, but has your child’s schools received enough requests? Could you help to reach that target number by sharing with other parents?
Does the school run get in the way of your working life? Would you and your son/daughter benefit from pre- and after-school activities?
We parents can request ‘wraparound childcare’ from the school and, if they get enough interest, will lay on pre- and after-school childcare.
I am trying to get wraparound care in our school, so, if you’re interested, [include details of the specific thing you/the school has requested: email them, email you etc.]
Click here for more information on wraparound care.
Your child may attend a small or rural school and gathering the numbers needed may be difficult or impossible. In such situations, the Government are allowing schools to ‘club together’ to provide wraparound childcare.
If this is your situation, speak to your school about nearby schools that might be interested in providing wraparound care for its pupils. Whether via a teacher or fellow parent, you may be able to deploy the tactics detailed in this article.
If your school says no
Not all schools will be able to provide wraparound childcare and some prefer not to. In such cases, you should talk to your local Family Information Service which will have up to date information about the availability of local childcare.
We hope you found this article useful and, possibly, even inspiring. We are Premier Education, a leading provider of a range of physical activities for primary schools and primary-aged children. This is, in part, because we understand the importance of staying active for young children and the role it plays in their early development, from physical health to self-confidence and social skills.
Do get in touch if you’d like to discuss wraparound care or any of the services we offer.