THIS time last year Orange City Council’s out-of-school-hours (OOSH) care was on the brink of major changes with plans to roll over the two services to one location in a bid to cut costs and meet federal government regulations.
At the time council was spending around $30,000 each year to rent two locations at March Street and Kenna Hall but a surge of interest in the service means it is now self-sustaining and is being delivered at two new locations at no cost to ratepayers.
Thirty students have been using the before and after-school services at Calare Public School and 35 use the after-school care services at Orange Public School, since they started at the beginning of the school term.
Children services co-ordinator Melissa Stanford said both services were close to full but there were vacancies at Calare and three vacancies at Orange Public.
“Before-school care is a service that’s not used as much,” she said.
Ms Standford said the service also had vacancies for children with additional needs.
“We’re quite keen to hear from people who have children who need assistance,” she said.
“That’s why the Orange Public School service has three staff.”
Ms Standford said the service had lost some Catherine McAuley students since the Kenna Hall service ended but had picked up students from Calare.
Unlike the previous locations both Calare and Orange Public offer outdoor space so the OOSH service can comply with government regulations.
“[Calare] installed a kitchen and the school uses it for the children to learn life skills,” she said.
“Both schools have been fantastic helping us.”
Last year the service came under fire from some parents who said they would be forced to make other arrangements because of the inconvenient bus timetable.
Ms Standford said unfortunately the bus still arrives at St Mary’s and Orange East Public quite late.
It is a catch-22 for the service, with the arrangement leading to a drop in the number of students from the two east Orange schools using OOSH and making it hard to justify changes to the bus service.
“Orange Buslines have said there is nothing they can do,” she said.
The OOSH service employs three council staff members for the Orange Public service and two staff for Calare.
Calare Public School will also be the location of council’s vacation care service.