Not all Before and After School Care providers operate in the same way. Sure, there is the National Quality Framework and regulations that need to be adhered to, but the way providers do this is quite individual.
You can expect to see differences in the following areas:
Staff to Child Ratio
Regulations state that there must be one adult to every fifteen children in care (11 in ACT and 13 in WA). That’s not to say that providers can’t employ more staff than this. Having an extra pair of eyes and set of hands on staff is certainly not a bad thing and will make a great difference to how the service is run.
The qualifications of the staff at each service need to meet state and national regulations. Service coordinators need to be qualified to a minimum standard, but they don’t need to be teachers in order to work with school-aged children. Some service providers chose to employ qualified teachers or those who have university degrees and others employ those with childcare specific qualifications.
Fees and enrolment process
Each service provider will have a different fee structure and enrolment process. Some providers charge an annual membership fee while others don’t. Each provider has different requirements for cancellations, sick days and how far in advance bookings need to be made. Some providers only allow families to enrol and book in online, while others will require paperwork to be filled out and bookings to be made directly with the service via phone or in person.
Policies and procedures
The National Quality Framework and National Law and Regulations dictate a requirement for policies and procedures in particular areas. Again, how these policies and procedures are written and followed will be different for each service provider. Policies that deal with areas such as Behaviour Management will be quite individual to each provider, drawing on feedback and consultation with local schools and families.
Before and After School Care offers a service to families that is similar no matter which provider runs it. However, there are differences in areas such as staffing, policies and procedures, and the enrolment and fee process.