We are fortunate at Stapleford School to have a busy and vibrant Out of School Club (SOOSC), which provides our children with high quality wraparound care, both morning and evening. SOOSC has been run for many years by a dedicated committee of parent volunteers, together with the employed childcare professionals who make SOOSC such a happy and successful outfit.
Indeed, SOOSC is so successful that all its places are full, and the waiting list for wraparound care is ever increasing. It is important to both SOOSC and the School to react to and meet the needs of our community, whilst still maintaining the relaxed, family feeling of the Club. However, Ofsted ratios limit the number of children SOOSC can have in the Community Room. It was for this reason that Mrs Spain set up the after school Stars Club in KS1, to operate alongside SOOSC as an interim measure.
We are now turning our attention to longer term solutions for SOOSC and the School. The SOOSC committee and staff are already working closely with the School and its Governing Body in order to achieve a number of things. First, a significant expansion of the space available to SOOSC in order to allow the club to expand from its current 20 spaces to 35 - 40 spaces. Secondly, an orderly transition from SOOSC's current charitable status to becoming part of the school itself (including merging with the Stars Club). Thirdly, continuity of care for the children by ensuring any building work is done with as little disruption as possible, and that we retain the excellent staff in both SOOSC and Stars.
This is an exciting, positive and necessary project: but it will involve a lot of work, and above all a lot of fundraising!
To that end, we are setting up a Community Task Force, which will comprise SOOSC and Stars representatives (staff and parents); school representatives (staff and governors); representatives from the PTA; and anybody from the wider community who would like to help (please feel free to volunteer people!). We would very much appreciate help from people with direct grant fundraising experience.
The CTF will look at three main areas:
- finance (setting budgets, fundraising, investigating grants, lottery funding, borrowing options etc)
- facilities (space, facilities management, planning regs, building options etc)
- process (contracts, regulatory requirements, staffing & recruitment, charity dissolution etc)
We will set up an area on the School and SOOSC websites on which the CTF will report back on progress made and challenges encountered. We very much look forward to working with you all in order to make wraparound care available to more children in our community.
Clare Arthurs, Rebecca Trigg, Christine Spain, Nathan Graves
Click here for more information.