About outside school hours care

The hours, locations, benefits and different operating models.

An outside school hours care (OSHC) service provides education and care for primary school-age children (generally ages 5 to 12 years) outside school hours and during school holidays. OSHC services also often provide education and care on pupil-free days.

OSHC services are usually located at or close to primary schools. They may also be offered in locations such as:

  • community centres
  • halls
  • neighbourhood houses, or
  • recreation centres.

Hours and locations

Hours and locations will vary depending on community needs, generally operating on weekdays as:

  • before school care, 7.00am–8.45am (or until school start time)
  • after school care (including early school finish), 3.30pm–6.00pm (or from school finish time)
  • vacation care (during school holidays), 7.00am–6.00pm.

OSHC is an education and care service that supports children to:

  • engage in play and leisure activities
  • learn new skills to further their development
  • build relationships with educators in a community that is connected to, but separate from, the school community.

The benefits of OSHC

An OSHC service provides a range of benefits for the school community that support children’s learning, achievement, engagement and wellbeing.

Strengthening relationships

A quality OSHC service establishes and fosters partnerships with families by encouraging their feedback and involvement. Educators build, strengthen and maintain positive relationships between the school community and the OSHC service by:

  • providing education opportunities in a multi-age environment to develop happy, healthy and resilient children
  • increasing school attractiveness for parents and carers who are in the process of selecting a school for their child or children
  • supporting families in managing their work, training and study responsibilities by providing an education and care service outside school hours.

Learning experiences

OSHC services provide a range of learning experiences, which may include:

  • indoor and outdoor play activities planned with and for children
  • a range of developmentally appropriate options that cater for the needs and interests of all children, including construction, drama, dress-ups, art and craft, cooking, quiet reading and games
  • incursions and programs delivered by external educators and organisations coming into the service such as language or music sessions.

Continuity of early learning

The before and after care service at a school has an important role in supporting children and their families to successfully transition into the first year of school.

When a parent/carer gives consent for the kindergarten teacher to share the child’s Transition Learning and Development Statement, it can be shared with the OSHC service as well as the child’s school teachers to enable a positive school experience.

Some OSHC services operate during school holidays. During these times, services will often plan excursions such as a trip to the zoo, museum or a park. These learning experiences are an opportunity for building stronger connections and partnerships between the OSHC service, the child, the child’s family and the wider community.


Operating models of OSHCs

An OSHC service can be:

  •  school council managed, or
  • third-party managed.

A third party provider may be a community based, not-for-profit organisation such as a parent incorporated body or local government, or a private, for-profit provider.

Important: It is a school council’s decision to establish an OSHC service and to decide whether that service will be school council managed and operated or outsourced to a third-party provider.

The school council retains financial management and legal responsibilities related to the OSHC service regardless of the operating model chosen.