To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of out of hours school clubs that (a) have ceased and (b) will cease to operate as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and what assessment he has made of the effect of their closure on the wellbeing of children and families who use those clubs because the parents are at work.
28 January 2021
The department does not hold a central register of all wraparound provision (out-of-hours school clubs) and is therefore not able to give an assessment on the closure of providers. We do, however, recognise the value this sector offers to our children and young people, in terms of the enriching activities they provide and, in particular, the valuable support they provide to critical worker parents and vulnerable children. That is why, in addition to ensuring that these settings can stay open for all children eligible to attend school for onsite provision, we have encouraged all local authorities to consider using local grants that have been made available to them during the COVID-19 outbreak, to support the wraparound childcare sector in their areas, to safeguard sufficient childcare provision for children of critical workers and vulnerable children.
This includes discretionary funding, such as the £594 million fund, provided by the government to local authorities to help them support local businesses affected by the new lockdown restrictions, as well funding streams such as the Holiday Activities and Food Programme. The expanded programme, which comprises a £220 million fund to be delivered through grants to local authorities, will be expanded to reach all local authority areas over the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays in 2021. This is further to the wider financial support packages that the government has made available throughout the COVID-19 outbreak to support private businesses, which includes tax relief, business loans or cash grants through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), and the Self-Employed Support Scheme (SEISS).
We have also made clear that schools should be continuing to offer before and after-school provision for those pupils eligible to attend for on-site provision, where it is feasible for them to do so; and have provided guidance for schools to support them to continue this provision. A copy of the guidance can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.