Extended schools pathfinders have had “positive impact”

Children, families and communities have benefited from extended
schools pilots, says a  national evaluation. But apart from those
with very limited aims, extended schools need dedicated management
structures, including a co-ordinator.

They also need to engage in thorough consultations with local
communities, resisting any temptation to impose their own
professional view of what is needed in the communities they serve,
and be willing to create genuine partnerships with other

The evaluation by academics at Manchester, Newcastle and
Brighton universities, says it is important that the process of
building extended schools is given enough time. “A careful
and sustained process of trust-building where partners seek to
understand each others’ aims, priorities and working
methods” is  key and when all agencies are working under
pressure, this is difficult and takes time.

Local authorities have a key role to play, helping ensure
extended schools are part of a coherent local strategy as well as
providing links to other schools and communities, and giving
specialist advice.

Eventually it may be more productive to see extended activities
as central to the role of every school, based on a different
funding model, says the report.

Evaluation of extended schools pathfinder projects. Colleen
Cummings, Alan Dyson et al.


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