Starting your own Breakfast & After School Club can be somewhat of a daunting task. Whether you are a school, academy or MAT, there are many important tasks and activities that need to be completed prior to opening, together with daily, weekly, and monthly activities to keep the club running.
In our experience, most schools are comfortable with the day-to-day provision of club (activities, provision of food, staffing etc), as these tasks so closely mirror school. It’s more often the volume of administration, booking and payment reconciliation, together with childcare-specific operational policies and procedures, that can cause initial and ongoing anxiety.
To help, we have put together some tips for schools starting their own care. We hope you find them useful!
1. Clear, firm terms and conditions
Reasonable T’s & C’s, that are clear and unambiguous, minimise the amount of difficult conversations with parents. You want the children, parents and your staff to know where they stand – your conditions concerning paying on time (preferably in advance), late collections, behavioural expectations and more will set the tone. Your staff will stay in your employ longer and be more invested in the club if they feel backed up by your terms and conditions; parents too will appreciate the clarity.
2. Sensible pricing that reflects a quality offer
Your aim in running a club is undoubtedly to meet your community’s needs, but presumably any additional income to support your budget is of great benefit. Clearly, if you set your prices too high, then your club won’t be successful. But equally, if you are aiming to provide a high-quality service, then there is a cost associated with providing that, and it is important to be confident in reflecting that in your pricing. If you pitch a fair price, and demonstrate the value you are offering, you stand every chance that parents will use your service.
To help you set your pricing, you can use childcare.co.uk to see the cost of a childminder in your area. Once you have the average hourly rate, you can use this to work out your session cost.
For more information on pricing, and in particular, whether or not to stagger your prices by arrival/collection times, see our blog on pricing.
3. Use your club to be strategic in your recruitment & retention of staff
Running a vibrant, busy wraparound club can be a full-time job, and you will certainly want a competent, well-trained person in charge. Furthermore, they will need good quality colleagues to work with the children, and it’s often Teaching Assistants that fill this role.
By adding either breakfast club hours, afterschool club hours, or both, to standard TA hours, your jobs become attractive to more sectors of the workforce for whom 9am – 3pm isn’t quite enough. With recruitment being so challenging just now, anything that you can do to stand out from other schools will help.
4. Factor in your admin time
Whilst you may intend to do all of the administration inhouse, do not underestimate the volume and breadth of enquiries you will receive. You can expect the same range of enquiries that you get in school, but added to that will be questions about payments, bookings, individual reconciliations etc. These will take time to answer, often involve checking multiple systems for evidence of payments and bookings, and require you to keep up with emails and messages outside of club hours. Parents will want you to be available 24/7 (which you clearly can’t be) but will nonetheless expect quick answers to their booking/payment queries.
It is possible to remove up to 95% of these enquiries however…
5. A Booking System that enables parents 24/7 booking, and gives you valuable insight into your club’s performance
Want to make your club a success right from the start? You need a great booking system that will maximise your income, take bookings from parents whilst club is running (or any other time for that matter), and automate your payment collections.
Childcare Bookings for Schools works with schools by providing a state-of-the-art booking system, and a fully outsourced booking, payment and administration service.
Are you a school that is running (or thinking of starting) your own Breakfast & Afterschool club?
We can help, whether that is just an informal chat, or to
discuss our service. Click here to get in touch.
About Childcare Bookings
Childcare Bookings provide our school partners with a fully outsourced booking, payment and admin service, together with a booking system that is taking bookings for you 24/7 – and even your own dedicated administrator to support parents.
In addition, we provide an Operations Pack, including template T’s & C’s, a best-practice Club Operations Manual, policies and childcare-specific forms and procedures.
Why not get in touch to see if we can help you?
Download our free new club start up to-do list
About the Author
Dan McCaffrey is the Managing Director of Childcare Bookings for Schools, the only outsourced payment, bookings and administration service for school-run childcare in the UK. A former primary teacher, he is also the owner of Pioneer Childcare, the 5th largest wraparound provider in the country, where he learned (the hard way!) everything he shares in these blogs. Dan lives in Sussex with his family.
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