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Education Update

Briefing Note on Extended Schools


Introduction
This is not meant to be an exhaustive look at the subject of extended schools. The issue is becoming increasingly complicated and new ideas are causing the concept to evolve at an alarming rate. What this note does do is set down the basics of the concept and gives an overview of the challenges facing schools as well as the opportunities for YFC and the local church.

What is an Extended School?
The government, as part of its ‘ every child matters’ strategy is remodelling schools into an extended service providing a core offer of activities for its community with the ultimate aim of improving standards.

The core offer is for all year round (actually 48 weeks a year):

* childcare on site or through local providers from 8 until 6
* a varied menu of activities after school for students upto 6
* parenting support and family learning
* swift and easy referral of troubled young people to specialised support services
* community access to the school for adult learning, community development and integration.

In recognition of the problems with regards community access schools are likely to have to be open even later than 6 – i.e. up to 10 at night.

Timescale
When is all this to be delivered? Many schools are already undertaking plot schemes. But in broad terms the timescale looks like this

2005 The development of an integrated inspection framework – in other words Ofsted will inspect schools on
their fulfilment of the extended schools brief.
Mid-2006 Children and young people’s plans in all authorities; most authorities have children’s trusts in
place, most authorities will have appointed a director of children’s services.
2008 Extended services in half of primary schools and one third of secondary schools.
2010 Full services available in all schools.


The likelihood is that you will have schools near you working towards these deadlines now.

Consultation and partnership
The government has stated that the new school day shouldn’t impose additional burdens on existing staff. It is encouraging schools to appoint extended services co-ordinators to make things happen. ( I have just that role for 10 hours a week for a family of schools). Additionally, it urges schools to consult with and form strategic partnerships with the following in order to ensure delivery of services:

* Parent Groups
* Social Services
* The Local Authority
* Voluntary Youth Work Organisations
* Local Sports/Arts Providers
* Faith Groups
* Local Businesses
* Connexions
* The Local Health Care Trusts

As a school isn’t necessarily expected to have everything available on site it can create a campus of facilities that might include the local church building. One of the key aspects of consultation will be signposting recommended partners and the services they have to offer. At the school in which I work we are including in our campus the local church who provide a youth café and parenting support. The church becomes a partner with the school and is paid for its contribution to extended services.

Funding
This is the muddy area which keeps changing. The government has put aside literally hundreds of millions of pounds to make this happen. How funding is distributed will vary from lea to lea. However there seem to be certain principles. Schools will each be given a significant lump sum – currently estimated at £50,000 per school year to help establish services. If schools work together as a family and pool resources and share facilities there can be as much as £300,000 available to such groups. The school must use that money to create that core offer of services. They can choose to pay existing staff to work even longer or pay partners who they feel can provide what is needed. E.g breakfast clubs, tea clubs, arts sports homework groups etc. the money will run out after three years and schools then must have a plan in place to make the service self sustaining.

In reality the service can make a profit. Breakfast and teatime clubs are a very profitable business. In addition there are other funds being made available to fund activities after the three year period.

Opportunities and Challenges
Having met and consulted with over 50 headteachers in Leicestershire it is clear that this initiative fills them with a mix of dread and excitement. On the one hand they see the possibilities for their communities and their students. On the other they cannot see how they can possibly do what is needed. The need to partner with the voluntary sector has become crucial to the success of the projects. The church is seen as a vital partner alongside cvs, ymca and others. If YFC and churches are ahead of the game in this they could present well thought out plans and proposals that would allow them to become involved at the very heart of their community. Importantly as extended services are part of the ofsted inspections this means that spiritual development needs to be included within those activities to some degree. Holiday clubs, rock solid activities, YFC holidays why not base them all in your local school? At the very least you should get a free venue and may even be paid for providing the service.

Visions and Dreams
The various consultants involved in training schools for this change talk about a vision of what a school could look like. They talk about a dream where children are cared for at the heart of a community where there is education, health and social care, training and moral and ethical development. What they are describing is a picture based on the Victorian church. They want schools to be what church once was.

I am immensely moved by this idea. I believe that churches have a chance to return to their roots and that YFC can be part of it. It is a long term strategic position we need to take, but one that can return great benefits for the kingdom.


I am hoping to have some more detailed input at staff training in June and to look in more detail at the practical implications of everything. If you want to know more get back to me.



Nigel Roberts
British YFC Schools Resource Manager
March 2006