Extended schools

Extended schools provide different services or activities outside the normal school day to help nursery, primary, secondary and special school children as well as their parents, families and local community. These services include clubs, activities, classes and support for learning.

What an extended school does

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

The extended schools programme can help eligible schools improve the life chances of children and young people from deprived areas.

The services offered by extended schools can help parents:

  • balance work and family commitments
  • develop parenting skills
  • become involved in their child’s learning
  • support their 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 services to the local community, such as information about healthy eating and nutrition or advice on managing finances amongst many others.

Extended schools programme

The extended schools programme is in schools which have areas of the highest social disadvantage. Eligible schools usually provide services outside the school day including evenings, weekends and holidays.

Most schools that aren't in the programme offer some extended services through voluntary work, parental contributions and alternative sources of external funding.

For more information on the extended schools programme and to see what schools qualify for this funding, go to:

Extra services school can provide

A school provides services and activities depending on pupil, family and community needs that are identified. Services are available during school hours at the school, at a nearby school or a place supervised by staff. A school can provide:

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

Learning and study activities

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. A school can provide:

  • breakfast clubs, after-school clubs and summer schemes
  • study support  
  • play and recreation  
  • sport and fitness classes  
  • 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.

Parenting and family support

Schools can help parents get involved in their child’s learning. The extended schools programme allows eligible schools to give 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 help children and young people. This can include those with social, emotional or behavioural needs.

Extended schools can work with neighbouring schools and local voluntary or community agencies or groups, to provide integrated support services.  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.

Increased community access

All schools can make their facilities available for community use.

These can include sporting, educational or recreational facilities such as:

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

They can also offer spaces such as school halls and classrooms for further education or use by local community groups, 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 enhanced career opportunities.

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