Parents and carers: Here are the top 5 questions to ask your OSHC provider

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As a parent and carer, you want to make sure your children are cared for and safe at all times. Whether you’re new to Out of School Hours Care or have been attending for a while, if you don’t already know the answer to these five questions you should ask your OSHC provider today

1. What is the staff turnover rate?

The rate of staff turnover can tell you a lot about the service. Are the staff happy there? Paid fairly? Staff who are happy, appreciated and supported typically stay in their employment for a long time. Consistency with staffing helps to keep children at ease and allows your family to build strong relationships with the staff too.

It’s typical for OSHC staff to move on to teaching roles or for assistants to move up to Coordinator roles at other services. If staff are leaving all the time though, that’s a totally different story and a great big red flag.

2. What are the service’s emergency procedures?

Every service should have them, and all staff should know what they are. What happens if there’s a fire or the service needs to go into lockdown? Do the children know what the procedures are? The staff should practice their emergency procedures with the children at the service on a regular basis, just like they do at school.

3. What is the staff to child ratio?

The national requirement for the number of staff to children required at OSHC services is 1:15 in most places in Australia. Some services employ more staff than this, giving children a better level of supervision and creating a safer environment. Do you know how many staff are employed during your OSHC sessions?

4. How often are the toys / equipment cleaned?

We all know how easily sickness spreads around children. One way to keep everyone safe is frequent cleaning of shared materials such as toys and sporting equipment. How often does your OSHC service clean theirs? Do you they have a cleaning schedule?

5. What is the disciplinary policy and how is it used?

It’s important that children act in accordance with the rules of the service but what happens if they don’t? Knowing the disciplinary policy of your OSHC and how it is put into practice can help you to understand the service. The policy should be fair, consistent and available for families to read.

If you know the answers to these five important questions, chances are you know a lot about your OSHC service.

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