Kent Extended Services
Schools at the Heart of the Community
Extended Services are a variety of activities and services available to children, young people, families and the wider community through schools and often beyond the school day. These schools are called Extended Schools and they work in close partnership with existing local and national agencies and organisations to offer communities greater access to extended services. What are these services and activities?
The Government wants every school to be offering its local community access to specific additional activities and services, outlined in DCSF Extended Schools Prospectus (link opens in a new window) by 2010. The Government calls these a core offer of services and they include:
- Childcare: which is available from at least 8am - 6pm all year round. This may be on the school site or may be provided at a nearby school, local provider or childminder. Included are breakfast clubs, holiday play schemes and after school clubs (there may be a small charge for using these services).
- A variety of study support activities: which allow children and young people learn and develop outside normal school hours by pursuing special interests or trying out new things in a fun, stimulating and safe environment. E.g. sports and activity clubs, language classes, homework clubs, arts activities. Some of these might be provided by existing clubs that are on or near the school site (there may be a small charge for some activities).
- Parent support: which gives parents access to information and guidance on issues that may affect their children and the wider family, including sexual health, relationships and drug abuse especially at times of change and transition (i.e. starting secondary school). Also Parent Support Advisers (PSAs) and Family Liaison Officers (FLOs) are available through schools to support parents and carers. This support will also provide opportunities for parents to learn alongside their children e.g. family learning sessions, parenting groups.
- Swift and easy access to targeted and specialist services: which can be accessed more quickly and easily. Examples of specialist services are speech therapy, behaviour support and family support.
- Community access: to computing, sports and arts facilities within the school building.
- e.g. adult learning, keep fit, hire of rooms to individuals and groups.
Are extended services the same in every community?
No - every community is unique and will want and need different services. Although the government wants every school to provide access to a minimum service (the ‘core offer’) by 2010, the type of service will vary. All extended schools will consult with their pupils, families and communities about what services and activities they would like to access. By working in partnership with other agencies, extended schools will provide their local communities with access to these services either at the school or by using other facilities and resources in the local area. What about Children’s Centres and Healthy Schools?
Extended Schools work closely with their local Children’s Centres and Healthy Schools Teams as they are all working towards the same goals. Healthy Schools help children and young people to reach their potential by building on a solid foundation of health to do better in learning and in life. To find out more visit the Healthy Schools website.
Children’s Centres are places that provide access to extended services specifically for families with young children aged 0-5 years in their local community. Extended schools tend to work more closely with school aged children and families but aim to work with the whole community irrelevant of age groups. To find out more visit the Children’s Centres wesbite. What’s the point of extended services?
Kent County Council and its partners believe that extended services help raise the achievement of children and young people and broaden their life opportunities while building a positive community spirit. Communities can become more involved in the life of their local school and parents are supported to help in their children’s education and development. Where does extended services fit nationally?
“Extended schools are essential if every child is to achieve his or her potential, and are central to achievement of the objectives in the Children’s Plan.” DCSF Extended Schools - Building on Experience (2008)
“The Plan and the new Department mean that more than ever before families will be at the centre of excellent, integrated services that put their needs first, regardless of traditional institutional and professional structures. This means a new leadership role for Children’s Trusts in every area, a new role for schools as the centre of their communities, and more effective links between schools, the NHS and other children’s services so that together they can engage parents and tackle all the barriers to the learning, health and happiness of every child.” DCSF The Children’s Plan: Building brighter futures
“By 2010, through extended services, we aim for all schools to work in partnership with other schools and local providers to offer access to year-round opportunities for additional learning, and enriching activities, such as study support and homework clubs, creative and sport activities and play, combined with childcare in primary schools and community use of school facilities, for example, to host adult and family learning provision. The best schools have long recognised that offering a wide menu of positive activities, both in and out-of school hours, can be integral to improving attainment, narrowing gaps between different groups and engaging with parents. We are investing in schools and local authorities to encourage greater participation in positive activities, including through extended services in schools.” DCSF Your child, your schools, our future: building a 21st century schools system (2009)