Extended schools and services can play a significant role in turning round the lives of children and families living in disadvantaged areas. These are local schools that link strategically with other agencies. Our research
, published here
found powerful effects on children and parents that had an economic benefit. Early intervention in just one child’s life could save the public purse thousands of pounds in terms of future benefits, early pregnancies, mental health interventions etc. The lifetime value - for example - of even a small improvement in examination results was over £160,000. Not surprisingly, therefore, the total value of all of the reported benefits in some of the schools we looked at was very high indeed – in the schools we looked at the benefits ranged from £1-5.5 million.
In addition to regular high quality local schooling, extended services offer childcare, out-of-hours activities, parenting support, and community access to school facilities.
There is a massive untapped community resource out there of people who know what works best for them. We have to move away from a model of delivering support to ‘needy’ people and work alongside children, families and communities to jointly come up with solutions to the problems they face. Extended schools are developing ways to do this. Extended and full service schools can no longer be regarded as ‘optional extras’ in the school system.
Professor of Educational Inclusion, Newcastle University