Ideas on recruitment & retention in school-run breakfast and afterschool clubs

Attracting staff for any role currently can be extremely challenging, and this seems likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future. However, schools looking to recruit staff for breakfast & after school club roles have an opportunity to think flexibly about their wider recruitment, and in particular, whether they can combine these with other support roles.

Whilst this blog cannot provide you with any silver bullets to solving your recruitment problems – or any staff for that matter(!) – I hope that there are some interesting thoughts here that may be of use to you in your search.

Over the last 15 years my colleagues and I built & ran one of the largest wraparound childcare providers in the country. During that time, we employed hundreds of staff, and found the following few factors served us well when recruiting:

How to attract staff

1. Talk about why working with children is so rewarding

We found our recruitment was most successful when we started by telling people why working with children was such a truly rewarding job. Talking about the joy of helping children grow, learn and develop had a big impact on both the number and quality of applications we received. It’s a wonderful job, so consider emphasising that inspirational message in your job descriptions.

2. Talk about what you can do with the club revenue

Stress the impact the revenue generated from your wraparound club can have on the lives of all children in the school. Perhaps you could talk about how some of the revenue is allocated towards provision to support children with additional needs? Or to improve playground facilities for the benefit for all? Again, by emphasising the impact of the role (as opposed to just talking about the specifics of the job), you are helping potential candidates see the value in their prospective job.

3. See staff churn as an opportunity, not a threat

As TA’s and midday meals supervisors leave, rather than simply replacing their role, consider blending it with a job in your wraparound club. Once you combine the hours together, you may find a job becomes more attractive, and you may be able to recruit from a wider section of the employment market. After all, many of the skills are transferrable.

Where to find staff

1. Look in your community

Be proactive in looking for staff in your community. You can use your school newsletter to advertise the positions, but also why not approach local preschools who run during school hours? Their staff are ideally suited in that they are well qualified, experienced, and crucially – not working before after school!

In addition, consider approaching local sixth form colleges, youth groups, sports clubs or churches (particularly if you have links with them), to see if there is anybody suitable in their communities. In addition, you may well find that there are school parents, or their friends or relatives, who are interested in changing career and working with children. Wraparound childcare jobs can be an excellent entry point for people considering careers in education.

2. Consider Apprentices

Apprentices can be an excellent option for employing keen, bright youngsters who are just starting out on their career in education. Not only can you teach them from the ground up, and mould them into the member of staff you want them to be, they are significantly cheaper to employ than other staff. There are a huge number of organisations that support apprentices throughout the course of their qualification, meaning all you have to do is provide them with the role. Your local authority should be able to signpost you to the relevant organisations.

3. Consider a partnership with a local childminder

Historically many clubs have been set up by childminders, whose service is at capacity and looking for more space. If you are looking for a Club Manager, you could look to form a partnership with a successful, entrepreneurial childminder who is keen to grow their business. Between the two of you, you can run an excellent service that meets the needs of the community, without either party having to take all the risks.

You may know of a suitable childminder who supports families in your school. Failing that, have a look at to find childminders in your area.

Where to find your staff

Club Managers

  • Your own TA staff team
  • Ex-teachers (particularly given 1/3 of teachers leave within five years of qualification)
  • Childminders
  • Social workers & other related

Activity Leaders

  • Your own TA staff team
  • Apprentices
  • College/Uni students
  • Existing extracurricular providers who may want more work
  • Local sports coaches
  • Local Brownies/Cubs leaders
  • Midday meals staff
  • Parents

All Roles

Job sites, such as, enable you to search for staff that have your chosen key words, and then contact them directly.

Good luck with your recruitment

Feel free to download our free template job descriptions

About Childcare Bookings

Childcare Bookings provide our school partners with a fully outsourced booking, payment and admin service, together with a wraparound childcare 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?

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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