Childcare and Early Years

Outside school care

When your child reaches school age, you may find it difficult to juggle school runs and holidays with your work commitments.

Out-of-school care can help, with breakfast clubs, after-school clubs and holiday playschemes to fit in with your needs.

Ofsted usually registers out-of-school providers, if they look after children under 8 years old for more than 2 hours a day for more than 5 days a year.

They inspect regularly to make sure they meet the National Standards and all staff has satisfactory criminal records checks.

After school clubs

Registered after school clubs:

  • open in the afternoons, usually between 3.30pm and 6pm
  • mostly only admit children that attend the school
  • plan activities to help children learn, play and relax with their friends.

Some clubs admit children from other schools and may provide a minibus service

Breakfast clubs

Out of school breakfast clubs:

  • provide care before school starts
  • usually provide breakfast
  • normally run for less than 2 hours and therefore do not need to be registered

You can find out if a school has a breakfast club by contacting the school directly.

Holiday playschemes

Out-of-school holiday playschemes provide care for school aged children during the school holidays.

Activities can include:

  • sports
  • outdoor and indoor games
  • arts
  • crafts and drama
  • swimming and day trips

They are usually on school premises or in a local community building.

Some playschemes are 'open schemes' and operate in places such as play centres and adventure playgrounds. They offer open access play where parents do not have to book so children can just turn up.

Playschemes are run by staff (usually called playworkers), who are employed by either a voluntary management committee or a private provider.

They plan activities to help children learn, play and relax with their friends.


There is a variety of activities in Central Bedfordshire for 0 to 19 year olds.

The Information Service can provide you with information on what is available in and around where you live. Most activities are unregistered, which means they are not required to be registered with Ofsted.

Some, however, do have certain accreditations with organisations. For information on individual activities, please contact them directly.

There are family friendly facilities activities for under 5s, and activities for all ages such as:

  • football
  • dance
  • drama
  • cricket

You can find more information about activities and out of school care (link opens in new window) in our Family Information Directory.

Contact us

Tel: 0300 300 8585


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