Outside school hours care


​​​Many schools offer outside school hours care (OSHC), before and after school and school holiday programs. All children who are eligible to attend a school, including those enrolled in the Prep Year, are eligible to apply to be enrolled in outside school hours care. These services are organised and operated by Parents and Citizens' Associations (P&C), non-profit community groups and commercial providers. Contact your local school to determine if a service is available at your school.

Fundamental principles
Two-step tender process
Maintenance of premises
Approved area
Damage or loss of material
Fees for use of a school site
Evaluation panel
Evaluation decisions
Risk assessment
Review of decisions
Emergency care
Enrolment preference
Outside school hours care provider considerations

Fundamental principles

The following fundamental principles should guide the principal's decision-making regarding engagement of OSHC providers:

  • OSHC is established to provide high quality education and care for students.
  • Access to OSHC should be equitable.
  • P&C delivery of OSHC is encouraged.
  • OSHC delivery is a collaborative partnership.
  • Effective and ongoing communication between the OSHC provider and principal is vital to ensure positive outcomes for the school and the OSHC service.

Two-step tender process

When a school decides to tender their OSHC service delivery, a two-step preferential process is to occur.

Step 1: P&Cs are to be offered the first opportunity to operate an OSHC service on the site. It is recognised that where P&Cs have the capability, their delivery of OSHC keeps decisions directly within parent governance responsibilities and encourages user ownership.

To be eligible for the first preference:

  • The P&C cannot sub-licence use of the premises or operation of the OSHC services in its entirety.
  • P&Cs may reasonably outsource minor aspects of the service which can include:
    • cleaning
    • catering
    • book keeping
    • discretionary activities offered directly to users of the service over and above normal programming (for example, language classes, music/instrumental instruction).
  • The value of outsourced activities cannot exceed 5% of the annual revenue of the OSHC service in aggregate.
  • Service providers are not authorised to access P&C bank accounts associated with OSHC service operation. All service providers are required to submit regular invoices to the P&C for payment in accordance with standard payment terms.

Where a P&C proposes to outsource aspects involved in the P&C's operation of OSHC services and the value of such services exceeds 5% of the OSHC annual revenue in the aggregate, the P&C will not be eligible for first preference and a competitive tendering process will be required to be conducted by the school. This also applies to incumbent P&C providers with outsourcing that exceeds 5%. At this point the P&C must inform the school principal as soon as possible and arrangements will need to be made for a competitive tendering process.

Step 2: An open tender process* for all providers, not-for-profit and commercial, is instigated. The P&C is eligible to submit an offer to operate the OSHC service as part of the competitive exercise if they are outsourcing services exceeding 5% of the OSHC annual revenue in the aggregate. Contact Corporate Procurement to obtain relevant documents and ensure compliance with departmental procurement practices.

Where a P&C is tendering to provide a service in Step 2, the open tender process, the P&C will not be included on the evaluation committee. An additional user of the OSHC service might instead be included.

*An open tender process can take up to 6 months.

Maintenance of premises

Buildings used on school sites for OSHC services will have maintenance carried out in line with the school's maintenance programs. This includes the condition assessment process.

While all buildings built on departmental sites are owned by the Department of Education (DoE), responsibility for the repairs and maintenance is governed by the terms of the OSHC agreement.

Approved area

While children are attending an OSHC service on state school premises, they are not permitted to leave the approved area, even under the supervision of a member of staff unless it is for an OSHC excursion or transporting between approved areas, in which case the relevant provisions under the national regulation must be applied. The approved area for the OSHC must include a minimum of 3.25 square metres unencumbered indoor space and 7 square metres unencumbered outdoor space per child. This area cannot be shared during the hours of the service's operations.

The principal should liaise with the service provider to ensure that service approval is granted only on those parts of the school that will be used for OSHC services and not extended to areas which the school may wish to make available to other community groups during OSHC operating hours (for example, tennis courts).

Damage or loss of material

OSHC materials stored on school premises are not covered by DoE's insurance, and the department will not pay compensation or replacement costs for any loss or damage.

Fees for use of a school site

Income generated from utilisation of a school site for OSHC may include recovery of outgoings, hire charges and a co-investment contribution. Such income may be retained by the school, for the benefit of the school community. Income provided to the school as a result of the conduct of OSHC services must meet legislative requirements such as the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth), the Financial Accountability Act 2009 (Qld), and the Financial and Performance Management Standard 2019 and the department's procedure Financial Practices in Schools and Other Education Centres must be satisfied.

OSHC is provided as a service to the school community and any co-investment—financial or in-kind—return to the school should not be used as the sole criterion for selecting the OSHC provider. In determining charges levied on service providers for the use of a school site to deliver OSHC services, schools must ensure that DoE is represented as open, transparent and accountable.

There are three categories of income that may be returned to the school:

  • Recovery of outgoings (mandatory) — The Licence to use DoE Premises requires the school to recover from the service provider the cost of outgoings. Outgoings include electricity, water, pest control, carpet cleaning, waste disposal etc and should be easily evidenced by invoices from third party providers.
  • Hire charges — Hire charges should be determined in consultation with the Regional Facilities Manager and should meet the legislative requirements detailed above.The maximum amount of combined hire charge and outgoings payable to the school should be equivalent to a maximum of 6% (on a basis of 5% of revenue for rent and 1% of revenue for outgoings) of the total fees charged by the provider. Where providers are required to share buildings and/or rooms that require the provider to set up and then pack away the area before and after each session or for a number of sessions per week, the maximum amount of rent and outgoings that can be charged should be 4% of the total fees charged by the provider.In calculating appropriate hire charges, the principal may consider:
    • the facilities utilised in the delivery of the services
    • the benefit to the school and local community
    • increased maintenance costs
    • comparable charges levied by other schools
    • the size and nature of the OSHC provider
    • staff time required for administration of the use of the site.
  • Co-investment contribution — Providers may choose to offer a co-investment contribution (in-kind or financial) to be provided to the school. In the event that co-investment contributions are offered, such contributions will be capped at the following scale:
    • Services with an average session attendance of 1 to 30 — co-investment is not permitted.
    • Services with an average session attendance of 31 to 74 — co-investment is limited to a maximum of 5% of the total fees charged by the provider.
    • Services with an average session attendance of 75+ — co-investment is limited to a maximum of 7.5% of the total fees charged by the provider.

In-kind co-investment may include services that benefit the school community such as access to programs/resources that add value to what the school has to offer. Principals should ensure that any co-investment contributions are clearly outlined in the Licence to use DoE premises.

Where the P&C is the service provider for OSHC services under the first preference option, the principal should determine the fee for using the premises that allows for the school to recover outgoings only, as the P&C directly benefits the school. In determining the fee for outgoings the principal should take into account the following costs it may incur:

  • cleaning
  • electricity
  • water
  • security callouts
  • replacement of damaged items.

The fees charged for use of school premises are to recover the school costs only and can be calculated on estimated use by the provider. The school cannot calculate additional fees above cost recovery to charge the P&C. These outgoings must be stipulated in the OSHC agreement and can only be amended on renewal of the agreement. The fees charged to users of the OSHC services should be reflective of the charges levied on the P&C for recovery of costs.

Principals may seek advice from the Regional Facilities Manager when calculating the hire charge fees.

Evaluation panel

Where the school has an incumbent service provider (especially long term, up to maximum of 9 years), the principal should consider participating in the evaluation as the panel chair.

Generally, evaluation committees comprise of the deputy principal, the school's business services manager and the P&C president or other executive member. It is advisable to include a current or future user of the OSHC service where possible (this can be the executive member). Each member of the evaluation panel is required to sign the appropriate acknowledgement of obligations form as well as the principal. The chair of the evaluation panel is required to be a current departmental officer. The regional director is the contract signing officer where the school principal is an evaluation panel member.

Evaluation decisions

Where the interim result of a tender process points to a new provider replacing an incumbent provider, prior to signing off on the evaluation process, conduct a risk assessment to ensure the changing of providers will deliver clear benefits to the school community.

Risk assessment

In circumstances where there is an incumbent provider and the evaluation panel's assessment of offers indicates that a new provider should be engaged, the following is required to be undertaken:

  • Prior to completion of the Evaluation process, the evaluation panel will conduct a risk assessment to ensure the change in providers will deliver clear benefits to the school.
  • An evaluation panel conducting a risk assessment is encouraged to consider the following components:
    • community investment
    • client satisfaction
    • fees charged
    • quality of programs
    • educator retention.
  • Please contact Corporate Procurement Branch for a risk assessment template.

Review of decisions

Where an organisation has submitted an offer to provide an OSHC service and is dissatisfied with the decision regarding the award of the contract, within 7 days of the announcement of the outcome the organisation can request (in writing) a formal review of the decision stating the reasons for their request. This request should be submitted to the Chief Procurement Officer A response will be sent within 10 working days.

Outcomes of the review may include affirmation of the decision or the reopening of the tender process.

Hire charges are able to be reviewed at the end of every 12 month period. Where an OSHC provider is dissatisfied with the hire charges levied for using DoE premises, a request can be made to the school or to the Corporate Procurement Branch for review.


Refer to My Time, Our Place: Promoting collaborative partnerships between school age care services and schools​​ ​to strengthen the relationship between the OSHC provider and the school. This guide was developed by the Queensland Children's Activity Network (QCAN) in partnership with the Australian Primary Principals Association.

Emergency care

Approved OSHC services must only provide care to students enrolled in the program. Emergency care may be provided in the case of parental illness or accident for children who are enrolled in the service only. The provider must still comply with the required ratios under the National Quality Framework. See Education and Care Services National Law (Queensland) Act 2011 and Education and Care Services National Regulations for further information.

Enrolment preference

Preferential enrolment to students enrolled at the school where the OSHC service is provided is encouraged. A waiting list should be implemented for student enrolled at other schools and the service should only accommodate these students should they have the capacity and resources to do so.

Principals' checklist (DOC, 433KB)

Contact Corporate Procurement Branch for an OSHC review template.

Outside school hours care provider considerations

Seeking to deliver OSHC on a state school site

Complete appropriate tender applications where there is an open tender process to deliver an OSHC service on state school grounds. Offers may only be submitted in the format provided by the department as part of the invitation to offer. Failure to declare all proposed fees in the offer will preclude the fee from being applied if the offer is successful.

It is a condition of the Licence to use DoE premises that the current approved provider willingly transfers the in-force service approval to the incoming provider on the expiration or termination of the licence. Approved providers will be required to accept relevant contractual conditions to demonstrate their understanding of this requirement before any offer to conduct OSHC services will be accepted by the department. Service providers should engage with the relevant Early Childhood and Community Engagement officers.

Operational requirements

  • Approved providers are required to comply with all requirements of the Licence to use DoE premises.
  • On an as-required basis, provide evidence of current blue cards issued by Blue Card Services for all new staff.
  • On an annual basis, provide copies of the following to the school principal:
    • current provider and service approval certificates
    • statement of public liability insurance for not less than $10 million
    • personal accident insurance for voluntary workers
    • workers compensation cover for all employees.
  • Provide notification of any change in status of the service under the National quality rating and assessment process.
  • Maintain property insurance for buildings and equipment owned by the OSHC service provider.
  • Develop and implement a nutrition policy which reflects the intent of Smart Choices — the Healthy Food and Drink Ideas for Queensland Schools and is in keeping with the Physical Activity and Nutrition Outside School Hours Physical Activity and Nutrition Outside School Hours (PANOSH) policies or contact the Queensland Children's Activities Network for support.
  • Do not use teachers' professional resources or personal belongings, or children's property contained in the premises.
  • If the provider is a P&C, ensure compliance with the P&C Accounting Manual.
Last updated 01 February 2023