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Planning out of school hours care (OSHC) events

Hints and tips to successfully plan your next out of school hours care (OSHC) service event.

Communication

Good communication is central to the success of any event. A successful event can build the reputation and raise the public profile of your site and it’s OSHC service.

Effective communication helps all stakeholders build a shared understanding of the event. For OSHC services this can mean the difference between families and stakeholders being positively engaged with the event or feeling misinformed and disgruntled.

Early planning

By developing a detailed event management plan early including a communication strategy, issues can be identified and effectively planned for.

It is important that you consider all Australian Government, State and local government legislation and organisational policy in the early stages of planning to ensure compliance with the various requirements.

Particular attention should be given to the Education and Care Services National Regulations which identifies requirements such as educator to child ratios, first aid qualifications, risk assessment processes and policy and procedure requirements.

Research

The need for research will vary with the complexity, cost and nature of the event. Some helpful questions are:

  • what is our reason for the event?
  • what are we trying to achieve? 
  • does the event link with our service philosophy and overall plan?
  • who can help make our objectives happen? 

When you identify who can support the event you may need to create different communication approaches for different audiences.

Committee

Event coordination and management may require the establishment of a planning committee or working party with reliable and enthusiastic members.

It is important that the committee is established at the beginning of the planning process. A key contact person could be selected from the committee to provide consistent communication when dealing with various people involved in the event.

Some of the recommended members on your committee would be:

  • your site leader
  • the leader or manager of your chosen venue
  • a representative from your education office
  • directors of services participating in the event.

Budget

As part of your initial planning process, identify where the funding for the event will come from.

Cost considerations should include:

  • hire of venue
  • catering
  • hire of equipment
  • purchase of materials including display materials
  • transport costs
  • invitation and program design, printing and distribution
  • signage
  • photography
  • publicity such as advertisements in the local press
  • staff wages 

All employees required to be present for the event to comply with the educator to child ratios must be paid. Additional staff over and above the regulation requirement can agree in writing to be a volunteer.

If this is a collaborative event, some costs may be recoverable from other participants. You may also be able to borrow some equipment.

Date and timing of the event

An important consideration will be to choose the right day and time to hold the event. Be aware of other events that may impact on yours.

Points to consider include:

  • availability of venue
  • availability of special guests
  • media opportunities
  • catering plans and costs
  • expected weather conditions for the time of the year
  • other major community events on at the same time
  • parking
  • linking with another complementary event.

Be aware of activities at other local sites such as open days or sports days. These might make it difficult for families to attend both events.

Venue

There are a number of things to consider when selecting a venue or location.

Some of these things relate specifically to different regulations in the Education and Care Services National Regulations.

You should consider:

  • the number of people likely to attend and the size of the venue
  • adequate fencing and security (this includes security of children’s identification e.g. wearing wrist bands with service name)
  • if your event is held outside, how will the service’s sun protection policy be implemented
  • if your event is held outside, can the event be shifted to an inside venue at short notice if the weather turns wet or is very hot?
  • are there any venue restrictions?
  • confirming that appropriate insurance cover is in place
  • how the venue will facilitate supervision of children at all times
  • parking space likely to be required
  • if there is adequate lighting at night
  • venue access for people with a disability
  • access to toilet facilities.

If the event is taking place in shared facilities, you will need to be sensitive to the needs and /or protocols of other users.

Risk management

An integral part of the event planning process is risk assessment and strategies which will minimise identified risks. Use members of the event planning committee to brainstorm and identify potential risks/issues.

A risk assessment template and matrix is included in the guide to the Education and Care Services National Law and the Education and Care National Regulations.

Media

For services on SA government schools and preschools, planning committees can DECD.MediaUnit [at] sa.gov.au (contact the media liaison officer) in the Strategic Communications team.

The Media Hotline number is 8226 7990. 

All other services should check with their site manager regarding the process for planning media coverage.

Emergencies and incidents

Before holding your event you should consider:

  • ensuring staff are familiar with emergency action procedures
  • ensuring children know what they should do in the case of emergencies
  • on-site threats or threats that may come onto the site
  • notifying emergency services, including the police, SES, local CFS or MFS and the school’s security service
  • providing emergency services with a site plan
  • identifying the location of the event
  • engaging St John’s to provide first aid support on the day.

Documentation

It is important to maintain all documentation, including:

  • minutes of the planning committee detailing agreed actions and decisions
  • roles and responsibilities
  • risk assessments
  • rosters
  • acknowledgement from other services participating in the event
  • talent release forms for use of photographs.

It is recommended that planning committees use an event planning template as a guide to the functions and tasks that should be considered.

A comprehensive Running Sheet used by event organisers is also helpful.

After the event

Thanking contributors

Consider sending a note of thanks to the major contributors to the event. This could include a certificate from the children or a photograph taken at the event, if appropriate.

Evaluating the effectiveness of your event

It is a good idea to evaluate your event in terms of:

  • what your objectives were
  • whether you achieved your objectives
  • what worked well
  • what worked poorly
  • whether you stayed under or went over your budget
  • what the intended and unintended outcomes were 
  • what you would do differently next time. 

Don't forget to file your evaluation notes for your next event. 

Promoting the success of your event

Creating a display is a powerful medium for conveying the success of your event and a connection with your children, families, staff and community.

Use your school newsletter to acknowledge contributions and the success of the event.

Contact

Out of school hours care unit

Phone: 8226 6427
Emaildecd.oshc [at] sa.gov.au