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Extended Schools Services

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what support her Department plans to offer schools serving disadvantaged communities to develop extended schools; [209773]
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(2) what will constitute the core service offer of an extended (a) primary and (b) secondary school; [209776]

(3) what (a) financial and (b) logistical support her Department plans to give to local authorities to work with (i) schools, (ii) local child care providers and (iii)other local partners in delivering the extended schools programme; [209777]

(4) what measures her Department is taking to ensure that extended schools services are staffed by well-qualified, well-remunerated and well-motivated professionals; [209780]

(5) if she will commission research into interventions offered for children through school-age child care and extended schools services, including their impact on (a) educational attainment, (b) cognitive, (c) social, emotional and behavioural development and (d) family and community well-being; [209782]

(6) what funding for (a) capital and (b) revenue has been allocated as part of the Government's 10-Year Strategy for Childcare for delivering the extended schools programme in (i) primary and (ii) secondary schools; [209783]

(7) what funding has been allocated as part of the Government's 10-Year Childcare Strategy for ensuring the sustainability of extended schools services in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools. [209784]

Margaret Hodge: Government are committed to the development of extended schools to provide a range of enrichment activities and to support the Childcare Strategy. The Department for Education and Skills' Five Year Strategy for Children and Learners" sets out the Government's expectation for all primary and secondary schools to offer a core set of extended services over time. The core offer for primary schools encompasses a wide range of study support and enrichment activities, parenting support, including family learning and swift referral to a wider range of specialised support services for pupils. Some schools will work with children's centres and other providers to make provision available for younger children. The Government's 10-Year Childcare Strategy sets out the expectation that by 2010 all parents with children aged 5–11 will be offered the guarantee of affordable school based child care between the hours of 8 am to 6 pm, all year round. By 2008, half of all parents of primary aged children will be able to access the child care offer. Provision could be available in a local school, in a neighbouring school or on a different site, provided by the school or in partnership with voluntary and private sector providers, including local child minders.

The core offer for secondary schools includes study support and enrichment activities, widespread community use of school's facilities, family learning activities, swift and easy referral from every school to a wider range of specialised support services for pupils and a child care guarantee, or youth offer" available between 8 am and 6 pm on weekdays. By 2008, at least a third of all secondary schools sites will be open year round and beyond the school day offering a range of interesting activities for young people. All schools will be doing so by 2010. Provision could be available in a local school, in a neighbouring school or on a different site, provided by the school or in partnership with
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voluntary and private sector providers, including local child minders. We will also be testing out demand for a formal child care guarantee that is 8 am to 6 pm particularly for children aged 11–12.

Schools will need to adopt new and innovative approaches to recruiting and deploying staff to ensure there is a staffing structure appropriate to the extended services they wish to deliver. Schools should look at the expertise both within the school and locally to determine who can best deliver each aspect of extended services. This will include working effectively with other services and with the voluntary, private and community sectors. In some cases school staff, such as support staff and teaching assistants, will already have the relevant skills and experience and may want to help deliver some of the services such as child care.

The Government will be producing a strategy for the children's workforce shortly, following up the vision in Every Child Matters: Change for Children". This will include national and local action to ensure we can attract and retain the right people at all levels in this workforce, including those in extended schools. It will include simpler and more rewarding career pathways, alongside better workforce planning locally and more focused use of investment that is already being made to improve the knowledge and qualifications of people in different roles. We will also promote greater focus on good leadership, management and supervision. Remuneration levels will remain, for most of these workers, a matter between them and their employer.

The Department have already committed around £50 million over the period 2003–04 to 2004–05 for the development of extended schools, with the money targeting areas serving disadvantaged communities. Just under £44 million of that £50 million was paid via the Standards Fund (including £2.8 million made available by the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit and £1.8 million from the Home Office) and £6.8 million was paid through the Sure Start General Grant. In addition to this £14 million from the Young People's Fund element of the Big Lottery Fund has been made available to 78 local authorities over three years from 2004–05 to support the development of extended schools across their areas. In the financial year 2005–06 my Department will make available just over £107 million to support the development of extended services in both primary and secondary schools in all local authorities. In later years we will provide further sums including funding to support the development of school based child care. An announcement will be made in due course.

Funding to support the delivery of extended services, including the school age child care offer can be used flexibly by local authorities for both capital and revenue purposes to help overcome barriers that they may face in developing extended services. This can include minor capital works such as refurbishment of reception or play areas, and revenue funding, for example, to support a senior management post that might work across a cluster of schools to develop extended services. The funding is aimed at kick- starting the delivery of extended services but over time, these services should become self—sustaining within existing funding strands or through charging. Schools can charge for some services such as community use of the schools premises
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and child care. In the case of school based child care, parents, who are eligible, can claim part of the cost through the child care element of the working tax credit. Some services such as study support and other curriculum-related enrichment services will be developed by schools making best use of their existing baselines. Other services such as health and social care should be supported by budgets that support those services.

My Department is supporting local authorities to work with schools, local child care providers and local partners in delivering the extended schools programme in logistical ways too. In 2002, the DfES published extended schools guidance that provides information and advice on a range of legal, financial and practical issues. The Extended Schools Prospectus, trailed in the Prime Minister's speech to the Daycare Trust on 11 November, will set out the vision for extended schools to schools, local authorities and stakeholders in health, social care and the private and voluntary sectors. It will include a core document that will be supported by a number of on-line know how leaflets that draw on the practical experience of schools already delivering services. These will include case studies, 'how to' advice, 'hints and tips' as well as emerging evidence of the impact on child outcomes. The prospectus and know how pack will be made available on the web, so that new issues can be addressed as they emerge. The prospectus will be launched shortly. The website also features a number of case study examples of schools delivering extended services that schools and other interested parties might use to draw upon key lessons. The DfES has also appointed ContinYou to run The Extended Schools Support Service (TESSS) to support and advise schools and LEAs developing an extended schools approach, and which includes advice on developing links with the community.

My Department is very committed to research on extended services and child care in schools. We have in progress an evaluation looking at the impacts of full service extended schools on children, their families and communities; a nationally representative survey of schools to measure the prevalence and characteristics of extended services and child care; and an evaluation of an Extended Schools Childcare pilot. Initial findings from these projects will be published by the Department in summer 2005, autumn 2005 and spring 2006 respectively.

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