School holidays can be particular pressure points for some families because of increased costs (such as food and childcare) and reduced incomes. For some children that can lead to a holiday experience gap, with children from disadvantaged families:
- less likely to access organised out-of-school activities
- more likely to experience ‘unhealthy holidays’ in terms of nutrition and physical health
- more likely to experience social isolation
Free holiday clubs are a response to this issue and evidence suggests that they can have a positive impact on children and young people and that they work best when they:
- provide consistent and easily accessible enrichment activities
- cover more than just breakfast or lunch
- involve children (and parents) in food preparation
Who the programme is for…
This holiday provision is for children who receive benefits-related free school meals.
Free holiday club provision is available for all children eligible for and in receipt of free school meals in their area. This does not mean they are all required to attend as the provision is voluntary.
The free holiday club places must be targeted at children who are eligible for and receiving benefits-related free school meals.
Aims of the programme
As a result of this programme, we want children who attend this provision to:
- eat more healthily over the school holidays
- be more active during the school holidays
- take part in engaging and enriching activities which support the development of resilience, character and wellbeing along with their wider educational attainment
- be safe and not to be socially isolated
- have a greater knowledge of health and nutrition
- be more engaged with school and other local services
We also want to ensure that the families who participate in this programme:
- develop their understanding of nutrition and food budgeting
- are signposted towards other information and support, for example, health, employment and education
Majority of the food we serve will be hot. However, we acknowledge that there will be occasions when this is not possible and a cold alternative may be used.
All food provided as part of the programme must:
- comply with regulations on food preparation:
- take into account allergies and dietary requirements (see the allergy guidance for schools
- take into account any religious or cultural requirements for food
- develop new skills or knowledge
- consolidate existing skills and knowledge
- try out new experiences
This could include:
- physical activities, for example, football, table tennis or cricket
- creative activities, for example, putting on a play, junk modelling or drumming workshops
- experiences, for example, a nature walk or visiting a city farm
Enfield Concil will be supporting us to deliver a rich and varied mix of fun and enriching activities that are age-appropriate.
Holiday clubs must provide activities that meet the physical activity guidelines on a daily basis.
Providers must include an element of nutritional education each day aimed at improving the knowledge and awareness of healthy eating for children. These do not need to be formal learning activities and could for example include activities such as:
- getting children involved in food preparation and cooking
- growing fruit and vegetables
- taste tests
Food education for families and carers
Providers must include at least weekly training and advice sessions for parents, carers or other family members. These should provide advice on how to source, prepare and cook nutritious and low-cost food.