Lunchtime clubs

Lunchtime clubs are an evidence-based way of providing activities during recess and/or lunchtime.

Lunchtime clubs help build student engagement, social skills and inclusion for all students. They support students who may struggle with lack of structure in the school playground.

Benefits of running clubs

Lunchtime clubs can have benefits for students and the whole school community, including:

  • improved peer-to-peer and teacher-student relationships and wellbeing
  • a sense of personal empowerment and student voice
  • development of social and emotional skills
  • improved academic achievement
  • positive school climate and increased student sense of safety
  • reduction in bullying and playground behaviour incidents.

Some students, such as autistic students and those with anxiety, are likely to find particular benefit from the inclusion lunchtime clubs offer.

Learn more about the benefits and establishing lunchtime clubs through the Brunswick East Primary School and Reservoir High School case study videos.

Establishing lunchtime clubs

When establishing clubs, you should consider:

  • how will students be supervised?
  • are funds needed to run the clubs?
  • will an external organisation run clubs, with support from the school?
  • can some clubs be offered to more than one age group?
  • encouraging student inclusion and leadership in clubs.

Student voice and feedback should be used to help choose which lunchtime clubs are offered and how they are run.

Tips for seeking feedback from students include:

  • asking school leaders, such as Student Representative Council, to discuss:
    • what clubs could be offered
    • how clubs could be operated
    • how existing lunchtime clubs can be improved
  • running a survey asking what clubs they would like to see at their school
  • engaging peer support and/or student leaders to help run and organise activities
  • informally seeking feedback from students on lunchtime clubs
    • what do you like about the lunchtime club?
    • what other clubs would you like?

Lunchtime clubs are most effective when they become an embedded practice within the school community.

Unless an appropriate external organisation is engaged to facilitate the lunchtime club, staff supervision is required for lunchtime clubs. When engaging volunteers (including parents), schools must follow the volunteer school workers policy. Staff should be kept to a minimum. Schools can empower students to help run and manage clubs. Once clubs are up and running, depending on age, students can usually facilitate activities with minimal staff support.

Lunchtime clubs are usually offered to all students, including students with disabilities. This promotes inclusion and enables students to socialise and connect with peers that they may not ordinarily have. Occasionally there may be a need to only offer it to some students. For example if an activity is only appropriate for certain age groups or where a group of students have an identified need. Schools should describe clubs in an inclusive way.

Further resources

Case Studies

Brunswick East Primary School

Staff and students from Brunswick East Primary School discuss how they set up lunchtime clubs and the benefits. Clubs based on student and teacher input allowed the school to decide what students could do at lunchtime. Relationship building has been a great benefit for students. Particularly those students who struggle with the lack of structure in the playground.

Reservoir High School

Reservoir High School staff talk about how they set up and implemented lunchtime clubs. They use clubs to build a positive school climate and inclusion. This met a need to strengthen student connectedness. The clubs have had a range of benefits for students, teachers and parents. Students speak about how they enjoy connecting with their teachers on a new level and enjoy coming to school.

Poster and flyer

A poster and flyer for schools to promote lunchtime clubs are available are the following links:

Lunchtime clubs poster (PDF, 1MB)
Lunchtime clubs flyer (PDF, 3MB)

Art of Learning Video: autistic students and recent graduates share their experiences of school. They discuss their strengths, aspects of school they found hard and how they met those challenges. View the Vimeo video HERE