AFTER SCHOOL CLUB POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

Below are some of our most relevant policies and procedures. A full copy of all our policies and procedures is available on request at the after school club. All policies and procedures are reviewed annually.

Greenside After School Club Policy on Play
‘We all have a role in realising Scotland’s vision for play as individuals, parents or carers, members of communities or professionals, by ensuring all children and young people can access play opportunities in a range of different settings which offer variety, adventure and challenge. They must be able to play freely and safely while learning to manage risks and make choices about where, how and when they play according to their age, ability and preference.’ Play Strategy for Scotland – The Scottish Government (2013)

Playworkers at Greenside follow a Playwork methodology which aims to enable children to play on their own terms. The Children’s Play Council’s Publication ‘Best Play- What Play Provision Should do for Children’ (2000) states that, ‘Children’s natural propensity to play has been impaired by the loss of suitable public space, the impact of technology, such as television, the personal computer and the motor car, and the changing attitude of society towards children, reflected, for instance, in the increase in parental anxiety about child safety. Play provision should compensate for this loss. Ultimately, the aim of Best Play is to ensure that this compensation is adequate in the light of children’s own needs, wishes, capacities and abilities.’ A copy of their Values and Principles is available on the information board.

We follow these values as well as the Playwork Principles (The Playwork Principles Scrutiny Group, 2005) which is available on our information board which set out a, ‘professional and ethical framework for playwork, and describe what is unique about play and playwork, and provide the playwork perspective for working with children and young people.’ Principle 2 states that ‘Play is a process that is freely chosen, personally directed and intrinsically motivated. That is children and young people determine and control the content and intent of their play, by following their own instincts, ideas and interests, in their own way for their own reasons.’ (PPSG, 2005).

In practice this means that we facilitate children’s play through providing resources and support when needed rather than directing children or giving them reasons for doing things. We use an appropriate intervention style depending on the circumstances of each child or group of children. We observe children’s play bearing in mind the Play Cycle (Sturrock and Else, 1998), (available on the information board) which involves responding to children’s play cues and enabling them to create a play frame, supporting them to be able to play uninterrupted, until the child has reached the play process’ natural end without intervening unnecessarily. Playworkers support this process through encouraging children to allow others to maintain their own play frame, adding resources to enhance their play or supporting a child whose play cues, or invitations to play, are being ignored or misread.

In terms of creating an enriched environment for children we consider the importance of play in child development. Children are born with the ability to be adaptable and through play refine that adaptability. Play activity stimulates the brain in such a way that brain cells retain their ‘plasticity’ (Sutton-Smith, 1997) if we don’t play brain cells rigidify and flexibility of thought is reduced. Children need a flexible adaptable environment in order to explore and experiment and those who experience this and the accompanying sense of control are more likely to develop self-confidence, self-acceptance and an ability to cope with daily problems in a creative, imaginative and flexible way. We create an environment which is adaptable or controllable by the children by ensuring there are lots of ‘loose parts’ (Nicholson, 1971) which could be anything from figures to fabrics, cardboard boxes and naturally found objects such as shells or objects which can be adapted by the children.

Staff at the club use the quality assessment tool from The First Claim – A Framework for Playwork Quality Assessment (Hughes, 2001) in order to evaluate the environment and the play opportunities we offer. Hughes has defined 16 play types, (available on the information board) which most play theorists and playworkers agree must be available for children in order to fulfil their need to play. We try to offer as many as possible within the constraints of our setting from den building (mastery play) to enacting of real and potential experiences such as playing house (socio-dramatic play) and experiences which allow the child to encounter risk or challenges which enable them to conquer fear such as tree climbing (deep play). We access settings in the Holiday clubs whereby children can experience any types we are limited with in the setting such as the Meadows Park with plenty of opportunities such as climbing on and perhaps leaping off the climbing rock. In terms of children accessing risk and challenge staff take account of the age and stage of development of each child and their circumstances at that particular time to assess whether the child is able to assess the risk for themselves. We follow a low-intervention, high- response mode of interaction whereby we only intervene when necessary. Many adults struggle with the concept of risk in play and the Health and Safety Executive have produced a guide (available on the information board) to managing risk in play provision which is not about eliminating risk but ensuring that the beneficial aspects of risk and challenge are not unnecessarily reduced but considered alongside each other through risk-benefit assessments. For example we allow children rough and tumble play, or wrestling but assess this based on size and strength of the children involved and observe unobtrusively in order to intervene if things seem to be getting out of hand. Play fighting or verbal banter is known to be beneficial to children in social development in that it provides an opportunity to test social rules and navigate and test social relationships. We also provide opportunities to play with the elements; water, earth, air and fire and to experience playing with naturally found objects such as stones and wood, and access environments such as the woods and beaches during holiday clubs to allow children to engage with natural surroundings with all of their opportunities for play such as building dams on the shore, hunting for mini-beasts and climbing trees.

One of the unique things about Playwork is that it is the only profession which seeks to work predominantly to the child’s agenda instead of taking control or dominating interactions. In allowing children’s play to occur spontaneously and naturally and offering opportunities to experience all of the play types all aspects of children’s development be it physical, cognitive, social and emotional are holistically cared for. It is the process of playing itself however that results in these benefits, and not the end product (quite often there isn’t one!). More importantly, not only does freely chosen intrinsically motivated play benefit children developmentally, it has a vital role in children’s happiness, culture, health and well-being. As playworkers we aim to enable children to play in the moment, for their own reasons which benefits them now as children.

Children’s right to play is enshrined in Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and as play providers we aim to enable children to play as naturally as possible, without the constraints of constant adult intervention and direction, so that this right is not curtailed. For p5-p7s we have a youth club room where children can have a little more privacy as staff check in on them as unobtrusively as possible. Using our daily observations of children’s responses to the play environment and their use of the space and resources, evaluating our own interactions and reflecting on all of these aspects of play to inform our planning we aim to provide a quality play environment in which we can be sure we are meeting children’s play needs and where their spontaneous play can flourish. We support all staff to undertake playwork training and keep up to date and share the latest developments in playwork.

ADMISSION POLICY FOR GREENSIDE AFTER SCHOOL CLUB
Greenside After School Club welcomes applications from the parents/carers of children from St Mary’s RC Pimary School (East London Street) and Leith walk Primary School. 

Our Admission Policy is governed by the following principles:

We will work in partnership with parents/carers in caring for your child. Our staff will have the time and the training to welcome you and your child to our club.

You will be provided with sufficient information about the club and its operation to enable you and your child to make an informed choice about the club. You will be encouraged to make a pre-admission visit prior to taking up a place.

Allocation of places is based on equality and fairness, however priority is given to siblings of children already attending the after school club. Places are then offered on a first come, first served basis.

When the club is full, places will be allocated by the length of time on a waiting list.

information provided by you and your child will be treated confidentially and kept safe.

ADMISSIONS PROCEDURE
Any application for a child to attend Greenside After School Club will be referred to either manager (Karen Brownlee or Tamsin Heath).

The managers will ensure parents/carers are provided with all relevant information so they are able to make an informed choice.

Parents/carers are provided with a registration pack containing all relevant registration information. All forms must be completed and returned prior to starting at the club. This information is retained and stored securely at the after school club.

Parents/carers are encouraged to make a pre-admission visit to the club. During such visits the parent/carer and child/children are shown around by either manager and also introduced to the members of staff who will be collecting the child/children from school.

At the point of admission parents/carers and child/children will be introduced to a keyworker who will be your point of contact for the duration of the settling in process.

SETTLING IN POLICY
At Greenside we understand that transitions such as starting school or after school club are major events for children. They are times of exciting change and new opportunities but they can also be times of uncertainty where surroundings are different, expectations and procedures different and faces as yet unfamiliar. Getting transition right by supporting children to settle in is important for the well-being of every child. We consider the transition to after school club as a process rather than an event that involves children, practitioners and parents/carers together. As such this policy and procedures have been developed collaboratively with children, parents and staff.

Children’s thoughts on settling in to after school club ( experiences, worries, things that might help)
‘ nice and funny staff and friendly children’
‘kind and helpful staff’
‘I knew someone who already came to the club, then I made more friends’
‘people who were kind to me’
‘lots to do and and toys to play with’
‘I was worried about going to the wrong toilets’
‘I was worried if the teachers would be kind and if I would make friends’
‘I was worried about being shy with new people’
‘I was worried I wouldn’t have anybody to play with’
‘I was worried about getting hurt because everyone was running around (on my visit)
‘ask a playworker to introduce you to someone – a buddy’
‘tell the children where everything is’
‘have a buddy to show them around’

 Parents thoughts
I think you guys do such a great job, but especially with settling in days at the beginning. The atmosphere is warm and friendly, relaxed and fun’
‘my son remembers that all the staff made a point of coming to talk to him and introduce themselves, that everyone smiled a lot and made him feel welcome and at ease and that the other kids were encouraged to be kind and inclusive’
‘ I remember my daughter felt overwhelmed by the bigger kids and the level of independence that everyone is given.   The ‘buddy’ system at school works quite well.’
‘ A ‘buddy’ system could help with settling in’

Staff thoughts
We want to ensure the after school club is a welcome place where children feel safe, happy and confident and settle quickly and easily but understand that all children are unique and the amount of time that a child takes to settle into the club will vary considerably. Therefore children will be given time and support to settle at their own pace and consideration will be given to individual needs, interests and circumstances of children and families. We want parents/carers to have confidence in us to look after their children’s well-being and to have an active role within the club.

We aim to achieve this by following the settling in procedures below which have been developed in response to what children, parents/carers and staff told us were important.

  • Encouraging parents/carers to visit the club with their children before starting. This is an opportunity for families to have look around the setting, meet staff and other children, ask questions, and share information. A member of the senior team will look over the registration form with parents/carers and ensure they have all the information within the registration pack.
  • All children will be greeted in a warm and friendly manner by staff.
  • All staff will supervise children new to the club to ensure they are happy in their new surroundings. The appropriate level of supervision will be judged according to the child’s age, maturity, abilities, needs and previous experiences.
  • All staff will be responsible for and available to help children settle in but to help with this process all children will be allocated a key worker on their first day who will support them and their families during the settling in process.
  • The key worker will show children around introduce them to their ‘buddy’ and other children of a similar age or from the same school initially. The key worker will explain about the clubs routines and ground rules and they will be encouraged to ask any questions and raise any concerns. During the first few days the key worker will ask and support your child to fill in a ‘little bit about me form’, which helps initially with learning about your child’s interests, hobbies, siblings etc This helps us to bond with your child and meet their individual needs. As time goes by and we get to know your child and their likes, dislikes, needs, abilities, play preferences etc through discussion observation and forming trusting relationships there will no longer be a need for these forms. The key worker will check in with your child on a regular basis to find out how they are getting on and if they are unhappy about anything. The key worker will seek out parent/carers to share information on how their child is settling in and ask parents how they feel their child is settling in to after school club. At the end of the first ,second and third weeks the key worker will report to the manager on how your child is settling in.
  • For the duration of the settling in process, new children will also be introduced to an older ‘buddy’, to help them have a welcoming experience from the very beginning. The buddy will help by supporting the new child to make play choices and assisting them in getting to know the club’s routines, few rules and in finding the resources they want. The buddy will be someone who has volunteered for the role and who will be supported throughout by the key worker and managers. The key worker will ensure that the ‘buddy’ is not overloaded or missing out too much on their own play and downtime. The benefits of a ‘buddy system’ are two fold in that those children taking on the role of ‘buddy’ achieve a sense of responsibility while new children know they have someone they can turn to for support and friendship. Older children new to the club will be introduced to children of a similar age and who attend the same school and all children will be encouraged to be kind and inclusive to new children to help them settle in.
  • If it seems that a child is not settling at the club, this will be discussed with parents/carers at the earliest opportunity where we will review options on the way forward. Likewise if a parent/carer feels that there is a problem during the settling in period they should raise this with the key worker or one of the managers.

Policy on Getting It Right for Every Child (GIRFEC)
This policy gives some examples of the ways in which the club reflects the aims of the SHANARRI indicators of safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible and included. Our play policy explains in more depth how the play opportunities we offer are beneficial for the holistic development of all children.

Safe               Safety of children is paramount and we aim to ensure your child is cared for in a safe environment and is protected from harm with all policies and procedures around health and safety followed and risk assessments in place for activities and trips. We use dynamic risk-benefit assessing procedures whereby individual children participate in assessing risks of particular activities and their own capabilities and are encouraged to develop this skill and their own capacities.

Healthy        Health and safety procedures are in place and we encourage healthy eating, healthy lifestyles and relationships. Our playwork methodology informs the activities and play opportunities we offer children in order to provide the best environment in which to develop holistically through exploration and creative play.

Achieving    Children’s development is supported through staff interactions when necessary such as through risk-benefit assessments of activities with individual children to encourage the development of their own capacity to assess risk, overcome fears and achieve their own goals during their play.

Nurtured     Staff will be warm and caring in all interactions with children.   Our settling in policy allows us to get to know your child through their ‘little bit about me’ sheet and their initial keyworker ensuring they are included and supported with help from an older ‘buddy’. Staff continue to observe and monitor all children to ensure they are always able to access play opportunities which are holistically beneficial to your child’s development. Any areas of concern will be discussed with parents/carers in order to assess how to better support them at the club.

Active           We provide the opportunity to enjoy active play indoors and out and role model positive attitudes to active outdoor activities in all weathers as much as possible. We access environments such as the beach and woods on trips in the holidays in order to provide outdoor play opportunities in more natural environments

Respected    Children have the opportunity to express their views on all aspects of the setting through a wide variety of methods such as graffiti posters, Dictaphone interviews, wish lists and visual methods such as photo books whereby they can comment on activities and their enjoyment of them. We encourage respectful relationships with our challenging behaviour procedure whereby children are all given the opportunity to speak and voice their opinions and where they are encouraged to find solutions to problems together. Children are encouraged to respect each other, staff, equipment and premises and make suggestions for the ‘codes of behaviour’ which are discussed at the start of each year.

Responsible           Children are encouraged to develop a sense of responsibility to each other and for their own actions. They have opportunities to do so through initiatives such as use of the youth club room for p5-p7 which is monitored sporadically under the agreement that users will not do anything dangerous or inappropriate and must inform staff of any activity which contravenes this agreement. They can hang out, chat listen to music and play without the constant supervision of adults encouraging them to act responsibly. Another example is the ‘tech reg’ which children have to sign in and out of with 30 minutes of gadget use allowed if used in a responsible way i.e. no internet, no photos or videos of other children and reporting any misuse. In this way they develop a healthy attitude to technology through these boundaries. Older children can volunteer to be a buddy for new children and are asked to support the new child to access equipment and get to know the routines and spaces at the club.

Included      We welcome every child and want to ensure we can overcome any barriers that there may be in children accessing our setting as much as is possible within the constraints of the premises. We have visits with children and parents/carers in order to meet and discuss any relevant information which will smooth the transition to the club. All children have opportunities to be included in assessing the setting, staff and the activities and play opportunities we offer and enabled to make suggestions on developing and improving these through a variety of methods. We ensure that children are informed of the outcomes of these assessments and suggestions and explain why some things may not be possible. Our children’s notice board has information on their rights and responsibilities and have positive images of children participating in    activities in a non-discriminatory way. Children’s differences and cultures are respected and reflected in our activities and encouragement of respectful relationships.

GREENSIDE AFTER SCHOOL CLUB POLICY OF PARTICIPATION AND PARTNERSHIP WITH PARENTS
Greenside After School Club values and encourages the participation of parents/carers in the life of the club. We will promote partnership with parents/carers by:

• Providing information on our Aims and Objectives, Policies and Procedures

• Encouraging pre-admission visits

• Ensuring that staff have a clear understanding of their role and responsibilities in protecting children and young people from harm, abuse, bullying and neglect

• Ensuring that staff work effectively with parents to support each child/young person’s individual needs

• Regularly sharing information with parents/carers about their child/young person

• Working with parents to promote positive behaviour and to deal with difficult behaviour

• Staff valuing and taking account of parent’ s views

• Treating all parents equally and fairly

• Ensuring that parents/carers can complain without fear of victimisation

• Providing a private area to have discussions with staff

• Ensuring that parents/carers contribute to the evaluation of the club’s work with questionnaires and 1-1 consultations

• By maintaining information confidentially while providing access to the record of your own child

GREENSIDE AFTER SCHOOL CLUB EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES POLICY
Greenside After School Club believes in the dignity, privacy, safety, choice, potential, equality and diversity of its users. We will actively promote these principles by:

• Having policies and procedures and promotional material that reflect these principles in practice

• Treating everyone with dignity and respect and valuing different ethnic backgrounds, cultures, faiths and abilities.

• Treating everyone equally and fairly and establishing and environment that is free from bullying, harassment and discrimination

• Consulting with users and valuing the opinions expressed

• Train staff in recognising harm, abuse, neglect, bullying and discrimination and in challenging such behaviour

• Adhering to all relevant legislation

EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY POLICY
Greenside After School Club is committed to providing equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice for all individuals, children and families.

We aim to:
provide a secure environment in which all children can flourish and in which all contributions are valued, Include and value the contributions of all families, Provide positive non-stereotyping information about different ethnic groups and people with disabilities, Improve our knowledge and understanding of issues of equality and diversity,
Make inclusion a thread which runs through all of the activities at Greenside

The legal framework for this policy is:

The Race Relations Act 1976,
The Race Relations Amendment Act 2000,
The Sex Discrimination Act 1986,
The Children Act 1989,
The Disability Discrimination Act 2005,
The Special Educational & Disability Act 2001
Equality Act 2006,
The Employment Equality Act 2003/06
Equality Act 2010

Methods

Admissions

Greenside ASC is open to all children, no matter their race, gender, sexuality and religion, from St Mary’s RC Primary School and Leith Walk Primary School during term -time and to all members of the community during school holidays.

We advertise our service widely

We provide clear concise information

We base our admissions policy on a fair system

We ensure all parents and staff are made aware of our equal opportunities policy

We do not discriminate against a child with a disability or refuse a child entry because of any disability

Additional Needs
A child who has a specific medical condition, developmental delay or special educational needs can be allocated a place at Greenside after assessment and consultation with the parent/carer and any professionals involved with the child’s care, if this is deemed necessary. If a child needs more care than the statutory staff ratio’s then we will attempt to secure additional staff.. Funding to cover the cost of such care will need to be sought before the child can be allocated a place. Funding is currently available from Edinburgh Childcare 4 all. Once a child who already attends Greenside is identified as possibly having ‘special additional needs’, the above policy will be implemented as soon as is considered practical.

Employment
Posts are advertised widely. All applicants will be judged against clear and fair criteria and we will appoint the best person for each job,

Applicants for permanent and voluntary posts will be asked to complete a Criminal Records Bureau enhanced Disclosure , a Health Declaration form and provide 2 references.

All job descriptions include a commitment to equality and diversity as part of their specifications

Training
We seek out training opportunities for staff and volunteers to enable them to develop practices that enable children to flourish,

Staff are encouraged to bring information from training courses to the rest of the team at meetings,

We review our practices to ensure that we are fully implementing our policy for equality and diversity,

Valuing Diversity in Families

We welcome the diversity of family life and work with all families

We will make every effort to ensure that the setting, equipment, toys and books provide equality of opportunity for all and reflect the cultures, levels of ability, gender, religion of the children and their families who attend Greenside,

We celebrate a wide range of festivals for everyone to share and celebrate together,

We ensure that parents and children are consulted on all aspects of the club that affect them such as choice of food, activities, resources, ground rules etc, and value their input,

We ensure that children and staff understand that any behaviour, language or action that creates discrimination or disadvantage is unacceptable and will be challenged,

We create an environment of mutual respect and tolerance and this is done by the staff and children creating rules that are discussed and followed by all, staff promoting positive behaviour and regular praise.

Food
We work in partnership with parents to ensure that the medical, cultural and dietary needs of all children are met,

We provide food from different countries for the children to try

  

GREENSIDE AFTER SCHOOL CLUB STAFF RECRUITMENT AND VETTING POLICY
Users of Greenside After School Club can be confident that the club recruits staff and volunteers through a process that takes account of equal opportunities and safe recruitment practices. This will include:

All applicants for staff and volunteer positions will be treated equally and fairly and valued for their ethnic background, language, culture and faith The Person in Charge being assessed as a ‘fit person’ by the Care Inspectorate. All staff and volunteers will be subjected to a criminal records check from Disclosure Scotland through applying for Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme membership or requesting a PVG Scheme record update,(see PVG Procedure), registering with the Scottish Social Services and the taking up of references Staff and volunteers will be selected with a range of qualifications, skills and experience relevant to the club’s Aims and Objectives All posts are subject to a one month probationary period.

Staff will complete relevant training in Child Protection, First Aid and any other relevant training. Staff will be encouraged to extend their learning through the completion of their post registration training with the SSSC and will receive relevant information and in house training at regular staff meetings.

ROLE, RESPONSIBILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY OF MANAGERS POLICY

It is the manager’s responsibility :

– to ensure that all staff are competent and confident and have gone through a careful selection procedure and are offered relevant training opportunities.

– to ensure that the service will evaluate what it does and make improvements through the constant monitoring of activities and procedures by staff and service users.

-to ensure that all records, plans, policies and procedures are properly made and kept in accordance with local guidance and legislation.

-to demonstrate effective leadership qualities and communication skills and to foster effective working relationships between staff, parents/carers and children.

-to demonstrate a high level of professional competence and skill and a thorough understanding of childcare issues.

-to monitor the quality of work of each member of staff and the service as a whole and to take such measures that are necessary to ensure that this is not compromised.

– to effectively and sensitively respond to any parental, staff or children’s concerns or complaints.

GREENSIDE AFTER SCHOOL CLUB COMPLAINTS POLICY
Users of Greenside After School Club should be able to complain effectively and without fear of victimisation. To achieve this the club will:

• Aim to promote a friendly, open atmosphere >   Treat everyone fairly

• Provide opportunities for everyone to be consulted and value the opinions expressed.

• Produce a Complaints Procedure to support the club’s Aims and Objectives (including access to an independent arbiter when agreement cannot be reached)

• Train staff in the handling of complaints

• Promote the Complaints Procedure with users

• Record all complaints whether informally or formally made

• Provide a private area for users to discuss matters with staff

• Provide the Care Inspectorate with information on the club’s response to complaints as and when requested to do so

COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE
Staff will take all complaints seriously. All complaints will be referred to either Karen Brownlee or Tamsin Heath (Managers), and a full investigation will be carried out. A formal letter of apology will be sent to anyone who has lodged a complaint which is seen to be justified and every effort will be made to ensure the reason for the complaint does not happen again. If Karen Brownlee or Tamsin Heath believe a complaint is unjustified they will give their reasons in writing. Where a complaint cannot be resolved to the complainer’s satisfaction, they may appeal to the Care Inspectorate at: Care Inspectorate, South East Region, Stuart House, Eskmills, Musselburgh.

Complaints may be made directly to the Care Inspectorate at the above address

All formal complaints will be recorded by either Karen Brownlee or Tamsin Heath as soon after the complaint has been made as possible (same working day). Any minor concerns will also be recorded by either Karen Brownlee or Tamsin Heath in the daily diary.