Services with out-of-school care

Information about operating a licensed home-based service and out-of-school care at the same time.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Home-based early learning services 
  • Service managers

Early learning service providers operating home-based services and out-of-school care at the same time must meet specific requirements.

The definition of out-of-school care

Out-of-school care means the presence of any child aged 13 years or younger during licensed hours, who is enrolled at school and who is counted towards the total number of children that can be present in the home, in line with the requirements set out in Section 19 of the Education and Training Act 2020.

Section 19 of the Education and Training Act 2020 – New Zealand Legislation(external link)

Home-based ECE services can offer out-of-school care at the same time that they offer ECE, under certain conditions.

The definition puts in place the following conditions

  • Up to 6 children (aged 13 or younger) can be present in a home.
  • Of these 6 children, up to 4 children can be present in the home to receive licensed home-based ECE.
  • An educator’s child under the age of 6 who is not enrolled in school will be counted as part of the maximum number of children allowed to receive licensed home-based ECE, which is 4.
  • An educator’s child who is enrolled in school and under the age of 13 will not be counted as part of the maximum of 6.
  • Only the children using the service for ECE will be funded through the ECE funding subsidy.

The requirements of Schedule 2 of the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008 remain unchanged. This means that, of the maximum 4 children in the home who are receiving ECE, no more than 2 can be aged under 2 years old.

Licensing requirements for home-based ECE services providing out-of-school care

The service provider is responsible for ensuring all licensing requirements are met in all homes in the service at all times.

This means that it will be the service provider’s responsibility to monitor which homes are offering out-of-school care and to ensure that appropriate policies, processes and practices are in place in those homes to maintain the delivery of home-based ECE.

Those services that choose to provide out-of-school care will also be required to:

  1. Have a written emergency plan and supplies that cover both ECE children and out-of-school care children  amended HS4.
  2. Maintain records that emergency drills have been performed with ECE children and out-of-school care children at the same time  amended HS7.
  3. Not provide out-of-school care to children who are absent from school due to illness (any child receiving out-of-school care should be returned to their parents should they become unwell while attending the service)  amended HS23.
  4. Provide written notice advising parents if the home their child is attending will have children receiving out-of-school care and seek parental acknowledgement of this notice  amended GMA2.

In addition to licensing criteria changes we have updated our guidance and things to consider for the following criteria:

Other changes to licensing criteria for all home-based ECE services

In addition to meeting all current requirements, there is one new criterion and one amended criterion all home-based ECE services are required to comply with. They must:

  • Ensure that educators actively supervise children, at all times, while they attend the service (new HS34).
  • Develop and implement a supervision plan for all excursions (amended HS14).

Full guidance on how to meet these new and updated licensing criteria can be found on the licensing criteria for home-based ECE services page.

Licensing criteria for home-based ECE services

Maintaining quality when providing out-of-school care 

Home-based services that choose to provide out-of-school-care are expected to maintain standards and provide quality education and care environments. These standards are:

  • Adult-to-child ratios must be maintained.
  • Licensing standards make it clear what is expected in regards to curriculum, health and safety, premises, governance, management and administration.
  • Regular reviews by the Education Review Office (ERO) will take place to monitor quality.

A home-based ECE service wishing to provide out-of-school care will need to ensure that they have the policies and processes in place to maintain all licensing requirements. This includes the delivery of Te Whāriki, the early learning curriculum.

We will continue to monitor home-based services and will intervene if the safety and wellbeing of children is being compromised. We will also work closely with ERO to support any poorly performing service to lift the quality level of their ECE provision.

Out-of-school care and recreation (OSCAR)

'OSCAR' is one form of out-of-school care. OSCAR services are before and after school and school holiday programmes for school-aged children, usually up to the age of 13 years.

‘OSCAR-approved' usually refers to a programme that is accredited by Te Kāhui Kāhu.

Home-based Out of School Care and Recreation (OSCAR) programmes(external link)

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