What is an extended school?
Extended school services are designed to help you balance work and family commitments, support your children with their studies and give them a broader range of experiences and interests.
They also enable you and the wider community to make use of the school's facilities. For example, you could learn more about information and communications technology (ICT) or improve your writing and maths skills.
Some schools may also offer services to the local community like information about healthy eating and nutrition or advice on managing finances. This could include debt counselling and availability of welfare and benefits.
Do all schools provide extended services?
Most schools will provide a full range of services - some will be free but others, like childcare, will be charged for.
Financial help available to you
You can get help with the costs of childcare provided through extended schools via the childcare element of the Working Tax Credit.
How do you find out more?
For free, impartial and up to date information on childcare and other family information contact the children, schools and families service or visit the Family Services Directory.
What extra services are provided?
Access to childcare
More and more schools are providing access to childcare around the main school day and during the holidays. This can help you to work or train and also gives your child an opportunity to have a fun place to go.
There are lots of different types of care available - like breakfast clubs and after-school clubs - as well as childminders and privately run out-of-school clubs or local day nurseries.
Primary schools that are fully extended are required to provide access to childcare and a range of activities from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm, five days a week, 48 weeks of the year.
Regular activities are often provided by secondary schools before and after the school day from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm. Check with your local school to see what's on offer.
Activities for your child
Extended schools provide a varied range of activities for your child, including:
- study support
- play and recreation
- fitness classes
- arts, crafts and other special interest clubs
- volunteering and business and enterprise activities
Study support activities are tailored so children who are falling behind their peers will receive extra support to help them catch up. Those who are doing particularly well will be offered more challenging work to stretch them further.
Children will be able to pursue special interests or try out new things - anything from chess clubs to fencing lessons to extra language classes at breakfast.
Parenting and family support
All schools are encouraged to provide you with access to various kinds of support. Many schools now offer:
- parenting skills programmes
- family learning sessions
- 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
Easy access to specialist help
Many schools now work closely with health, housing and social services to offer additional help to children and young people when they need it. This can include those with behavioural, emotional and health needs.
Through links with local agencies and voluntary organisations, schools can identify who needs help and organise it as quickly as possible.
Many schools make facilities available for the community to use. This can include:
- sports halls
- gyms and fitness studios
- computer suites
- arts and music facilities
They also offer spaces like school halls and classrooms for further education, vocational classes and adult learning programmes.