Residential holiday schemes for disabled children – legal guidelines

Residential holiday schemes for disabled children – legal guidelines

Ofsted has updated its guide for holiday scheme providers in England outlining how providers and managers must conform to the minimum standards for accommodating disabled children. It replaces the interim guidance published in February.

Under new regulations, which came into effect last July, all managers and providers of residential holiday schemes for disabled children must register with Ofsted and meet a range of minimum legal standards before accepting disabled children.

Holiday scheme providers are warned that waiting times for approvals is currently approximately 16 weeks.

The law was enacted in 2013 to prevent unsuitable people from owning, operating, working on or within holiday schemes for the disabled. The resulting requirements impact both staff recruitment and training.

A residential holiday scheme is defined as one providing care and accommodation for disabled children participating in an educational, recreational, sporting or cultural visit or holiday.

The guidance says a scheme provider can operate any time throughout the year, although only for 56 days in any 12 month period. There is also a limitation of the number of consecutive days a child can be accommodated (28 in a 12 month period).

The guide states, in summary, that all schemes must have:

  • A registered provider, either a company or local authority, with its own responsible person who will represent the scheme to Ofsted.
  • A registered manager
  • A number of policies and procedures that must conform to The Residential Holiday Schemes for Disabled Children (England) Regulations 2013
  • A statement of purpose detailing the overall aim of the scheme, the legal requirements of which are set out by law in The Residential Holiday Schemes for Disabled Children (England) Regulations 2013

Currently Ofsted has a duty to inspect holiday schemes at least annually, however a new inspection framework is currently under development.