Planned investment critical to long term success of extended services

On-going funding is essential to the success of extended services in schools and children’s centres, inspectors and campaigners warned this week.

The latest report from children’s services watchdog Ofsted finds that extended school services are helping to increase confidence levels and raise aspirations among the children and adults who access them.

However, services are less successful and varied where short-term funding arrangements are in place. By contrast, the most effective services are those where standards, value for money, affordability and long term sustainability have all been taken into consideration.

Commenting on the findings, 4Children chief executive Anne Longfield said on-going funding to support sustainability was a “particular concern”.

“This issue needs to be responded to if the programme is to flourish and succeed more widely,” Longfield said. “Getting this right for both children’s centres and extended schools is essential if this bold vision is to become a reality.”

Ofsted has urged the Department for Education and Skills to ensure that funding allocations and timescales allow sufficient time for consultation, and on schools and children’s centres to plan to keep services going through investment and good take-up levels locally.

The watchdog has also called on local authorities to develop systems to measure the impact of extended services on the achievements of children and young people, as this is currently not consistently monitored.

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