Extended schools

Extended schools provide services before, during and after the normal school day to help nursery, primary, secondary and special school children achieve their full potential. They also support their parents, families and the local community. These services include breakfast and homework clubs, after-schools activities, classes and support for learning.

Extended schools programme

The extended schools programme aims to help improve the life chances of children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds by providing additional finance (currently over £9m) to around 500 eligible schools.

These schools are able to provide additional services and activities usually offered outside the school day including after school, evenings, weekends and holidays.

Even for those schools that aren't in the programme, they too can provide extended services, made possible through main school budgets, parental contributions or other sources of funding. You can contact your local school to see what is on offer.

More information on the extended schools programme and schools that qualify for this funding is available at the links below.

What an extended school does

Extended services aim to raise standards of achievement and allow children to realise their full potential in an environment where education is valued.

An extended school provides services depending on the particular pupil, family and community needs that are identified, including:.

  • stimulating activities, skills classes and additional learning support for your child
  • parenting and family support
  • access to specialist support services
  • community access to school facilities
  • local adult learning and career development opportunities

Activities are usually available at the school, but can also take place at a nearby school or at another suitable venue supervised by staff.

The services offered by extended schools can help parents:

  • balance work and family commitments
  • develop parenting skills
  • become involved in your child’s learning
  • support your child's different experiences and interests

They also allow parents and the community to use the school’s facilities. For example, you could learn more about information and communications technology (ICT) or improve your writing or maths skills.

Some schools may also offer other services to the local community such as information about healthy eating and nutrition, advice on managing finances or first aid courses among many others.

Activities, skills and additional learning support

Study support activities give extra help to children who may be falling behind their peers. Children who are doing well can take on more challenging work to stretch them further. Other activities can help to develop skills, build confidence and promote health and wellbeing. The range of activities on offer can include:

  • breakfast clubs
  • after-school clubs
  • summer schemes
  • homework or study support including additional classes
  • play and recreation  
  • sport and fitness  
  • drama  
  • music  
  • ICT, cookery and language lessons
  • arts, crafts and other special interest clubs  
  • volunteering, business and enterprise activities

Check with your local school to see what they offer. More information on study support, breakfast and homework clubs can be found at the links below.

Parenting and family support

Schools can help parents get involved in their child’s learning. The extended schools programme encourages eligible schools to provide parental and family support activities including:

  • parenting skills programmes
  • opportunities for family learning
  • child behaviour management courses
  • information sessions for parents when their children start primary school and when they move to secondary school
  • information about nationally and locally available sources of advice and support for parents and families

Getting specialist support 

Many schools can work closely with external partners including health and social services to make sure children and young people get the help they need. This can include those experiencing social, emotional or behavioural problems.

Extended schools often work with neighbouring schools and local voluntary or community agencies or groups, to provide better and more joined-up support.  This helps a school more easily identify who needs help and organise it as quickly as possible.

Closer links between organisations mean that children needing continuing support throughout their school careers can receive it.

Community access

All schools can make their facilities available for use by the local community and are encouraged to do so. This is a decision for each individual school.

For those choosing to provide community access, this can include sporting, educational or recreational facilities such as:

  • sports halls and pitches
  • gyms and fitness studios
  • classrooms
  • computer suites
  • arts and music facilities

Spaces such as school halls and classrooms can be used for a variety of reasons by different local community groups, for example, further education, vocational classes, and adult learning programmes.

Local adult learning and career development opportunities

The extended services provided by schools in your local area, including courses of educational or vocational study and opportunities for family learning with your child, can allow you the chance to improve or develop your own skills which can lead to better career prospects.

More useful links

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