When the breakfast- and after-school club provider at Longshaw Primary School in Chingford gave a month’s notice that it was pulling out, it put headteacher Jane Woods in a tight spot.

She knew parents relied on the wraparound care and finding an alternative at short notice would have been a daunting prospect.

Her response was for Longshaw to develop its own offering and combine it with existing after school activities to offer something better than before.

“What we have now goes above and beyond what we had,” she says.

“We are really focusing on physical activity and enrichment. It’s more than what local providers will offer, where usually the children are sitting somewhere and playing. What we offer is more purposeful.”

The first hour is devoted to activities including football, basketball or dance with an external trainer and there are plans to include gymnastics. Then children staying until 5.30pm have a snack and play games, with plans afoot for a caterer to provide a hot meal.

At £3.50 for breakfast club and £4.50 a session for after school clubs, it’s also cheaper for parents than prices charged by external wraparound care providers.

It’s the latest in a raft of exciting changes since Ms Woods arrived at the school two-and-a-half years ago.

She says she has had “really positive feedback” from both children as well as parents and expects more children to attend as and when parents furloughed during the pandemic return to work.

“We’re offering a service to parents,” she says, “but our plan is to build it up with more after school clubs that get kids doing things so children are there by choice and not just because their parents are at work, this will drive engagement and ultimately enrichment.”

Erin from Year 6 says she likes the structure of knowing which activities they will be doing on set days.

“There’s more routine. Before we didn't really have a routine of what activities we were doing. We’ve been doing art, crafts and dance,” she said.

In the PE hall the Friday after school football club was in full swing, with children kicking balls and tackling one another as a female trainer gave instructions.

Hazal from Year 5, a keen footballer who also attends arts and crafts and basketball clubs on other weekday afternoons, described the session as “fun and entertaining”. Rumaysa, also from Year 5, said she liked the new trainer and the chance to learn new football skills.

For Ms Woods, making breakfast and after school provision about more than just childcare fits into her vision for Longshaw’s overall transformation.

“It’s a good starting point if we can offer these things and link it to the bigger picture of what we are trying to achieve as a school,” she says.