Schools for everyone

All over Brighton and Hove schools are working with a range of
partners to provide extra services to students and their families
and communities. These include child care, after-school clubs,
study support, health care and social care, adult education, family
learning, sports, leisure and arts activities, and community

These services are being developed in the strategic and
co-ordinated manner known as the “extended schools” approach.

Brighton and Hove local education authority is one of the
extended school pathfinder areas set up by the Department for
Education and Skills to test out different approaches to developing
family and community facilities and services on school premises.
The DfES wanted pathfinders to provide information on a number of
issues including:

  • The impact on pupil outcomes such as attendance, behaviour,
    motivation and achievement.
  • The impact on community cohesion and community
  • Attitudes of parents and other community members towards the
  • The relationship and involvement of key partners, for example,
    the LEA, Early Years Development and Childcare Partnerships, local
    strategic partnerships, primary care trusts and so on.
  • The usefulness of the “extended schools” guidance prepared by
    the DfES

The local response to our pathfinder was overwhelming. Nearly
half of Brighton and Hove schools wanted to be part of the
initiative, and we quickly generated partnerships based on mutual
understanding. For example, Hove YMCA was sensitive to the pulse of
schools and implicitly understood extended schools as part of their
wider mission.

We have introduced counselling in schools with the help of the
Children’s Fund, we have piloted parent counselling in
schools, and we have designed and built new community drop-in
areas. Health visitors are offering clinics at a cluster of three
primary schools and multi-agency teams are working in a number of
other schools. Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club and
basketball team Brighton Bears have been commissioned to deliver
after-school activities in one of our secondary schools.

We have campaigned within our organisation with around 40
different presentations to corporate colleagues. The support of the
local strategic partnership has been crucial, and an extended
schools strategy taken through the council’s children,
families and schools committee mobilised commitment across the
authority. Simply put, we got it on the agenda.

But the challenge is enormous. We have to think of ourselves in
a different way. There are still major problems to solve, such as
the security of schools and the question of who will be accountable
for the extended services provided. It is also important to make
sure that individual schools and local authorities have the
management capacity within them to take on new responsibilities.
The challenge of sustaining good partnerships remains daunting.

All the pathfinders show that there is no single blueprint, no
single size that fits all. There are, however, key or even core
menu options. These include study support and family/parenting
support through to the sports and arts. Health and social services
involvement is crucial. Local government should act as a networker
and facilitator, supportive of schools but not intrusive. Political
and corporate dialogue and energy is key. On one level developing
an extended school seems simple yet at school level it remains a
challenge. Creating clusters of schools, using powers under the
Education Act 2002 for purchasing or commissioning of services and
the impetus of Children’s Trusts should ensure the extended
schools approach endures and grows.

Responding to the needs of the whole child need not interfere
with high quality teaching and learning and may, at times, enable
and enhance it. Continuous professional development and training is
fundamental as is liberating the social entrepreneurs to get on
with the job. What is clear is that recasting the relationship
between the institution of “the school” and the wider community is
a hard job. But, that doesn’t mean it should not be

Our challenge in the public, private and not-for-profit sector
is to ensure that this approach develops and adds value to services
for children and their families and to the wider goals of local

Ty Goddard is Schools in the Community strategic
manager, Brighton & Hove City Council. He writes here in a
personal capacity.

Extended schools: key points

Developing an extended school should be a whole school policy,
it’s not just a matter of bolting-on new bits and pieces.

  • Leadership and management of activities is key – does the
    school have the capacity and skills needed?
  • Be clear about expectations, including the links between
    attainment and non-curriculum activities.
  • Make sure organisational structures can liberate rather than
    stifle creativity, and identify the social entrepreneurs in your
    school or community.
  • Will you be able to redesign your school? Small changes can
    provoke big reactions.

What do participants say?

“Many of the young people we’re talking about, who have
had to cope with enormous difficulties, can end up feeling guilty
themselves… The opportunity to talk to somebody who is
professionally trained, who can offer to listen, other than a
teacher or their parents with no axe to grind and without
information going elsewhere, is hugely important.”
Hove Park School head teacher on counselling

“With all the speech and language support there is also an
element of passing on information. As the therapist only comes at a
given time, a lot of the work has to be delegated to our own staff.
We have excellent support staff who are responsible for carrying on
the work. So there is an element of training and staff development.
So with that small team we are beginning to get a lot of
Coldean Primary School head teacher on Speech and

“The counsellors have been surprised by the extent of the needs
of parents; they have presented complex and distressing
difficulties. The parents reported back that family life has
improved and the children’s behaviour has improved and that
they’ve had positive feedback from their teachers.”
St Bartholomew’s Primary School head teacher on

“Already because of her being in place, some of our year elevens
who left in June, left with a key skills qualification… She is
out there in the placement, gathering the evidence helping them
make a portfolio. And they have all gone onto NVQ courses and I
don’t think they would have done without this help.”
Patcham High School head teacher on work-related programme
(helping children with specific difficulties in work

“We are having no problem in finding clients whatsoever and if
anything could fill up more of her time. The next thing we would
like her to get out and about, advising teachers how to deal with
mental health issues at school”.
On the use of a CAMHS specialist

Source: Brighton and Hove City Council Pathfinder
Evaluation 2004.

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