Extended Schools

There has been a lot of questions around extended schools, and the opportunities for the volunatry sector. It is one of those discussions that will have whole lot of issues either way. Mark sent me the following quote which raises some of the questions well.

“Not all of this is bad, it says, but the underlying ‘deal’ is
unhealthy. It solves the churches’ loss of identity and role by making
them surrogates for the government (with resulting clashes over human
rights and fairness) and it allows the government to ‘contract out’
welfare provision without addressing underlying questions of injustice
and the rich-poor divide.”

However my general feeling is that extended schools is the first part of a shifting culture towards more voluntary involvement and ownership. The pro’s and con’s of this are debatable but in all probabilty the shift will continue and extended schools is happening already. Therefore we need to consider the challange and recognise the responsibility. If the voluntary sector does not engage I could easily see private enterprise moving in. In the past the christian voluntary sector has been slow to respond and missed opportunities. There is a question about how we engage and promoting good youth work and christian values as part of engagement?

If you want more information on extended schools try a couple of these links:
Schools Training and Development website A good outline that takes you through all the key areas.
NYA Briefing Part of their series looking at various policies with helpful guidance for youth work organisations that what to position themselves for extended provision
Third Sector is short hand for a lot of the direction the government are heading, and their desire to see the voluntarty sector get on board. Check out here for a Speech by Phil Woolas MP to the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO) on 22 June 2006 titled FRAMEWORK FOR STRENGTHENING THE THIRD SECTOR’S ROLE IN LOCAL PUBLIC SERVICE DELIVERY.

One response is here for a critque from the guardian

7 thoughts on “Extended Schools

  1. not only is the church volntary sector slow at times to react, but sometimes it is carefully excluded. We need to be aware that to some boddies getting the voluntary sector included can be complicated, especially if they don’t understand the sector themselves. Other times they will just ensure that services are dished out to those parties who already have proven relationships. The last thing I would like to say about extended schools is that it may not actually each those who it wants too, as those who are already disengaged with schools are unlikely to go to anything in school, even if it is outside of school time.

  2. Richard,
    For a change some of the Christian Voluntary sector is nearly up to speed on this, particularly at local levels where relationships with schools exist.
    One major involvement which made me smile comes from the Mothers Union who are committing to run a breakfast club at every school, which would be cool f they could pull it off.
    Certainly I know organisations have got on bord, if ia bit late, and are playing cacth up quite quickly.
    Personally I think this is one of the most important (in terms of chnging things) legilslation to effect our schools in at least 25 years and we need to be there at the centre.
    Schools not only want but they need our support in running alternative and after school programmes for the community. In most cases it is just case of approaching the school honestly and asking how e can support.

  3. There are other issues . . . we seem to be just accepting that this is right (and reacting), where has our prophetic edge gone? Is it right for families to potentially not see each other AT ALL during the week, if children are spending 8am – 8pm somewhere else? Dare we comment on that . . . or would that risk our involvement in the whole thing?

  4. ali raises a critical question which was part of reason for the quote and good to hear from rob. I wonder if there is third way. A critical engagment that has a families focus. or a theology of wider family that is part of the ethos of what we develop. Not to replace family.

  5. Ali, I understand what you say and there are some dangers, but I think this is outweighed by the positives.

    In our school the 8 till 8 program is for the community and not necessarily just students. A great number of the projects encourage interaction that we believe (maybe incorrectly) is not happening and so we are seeking to readdress the balance with activities that include both parent and child.
    If this happens in th way we would hope, parts of families would ultimately experience quality time in interaction which may not otherwise happen.
    I also think that for those children that return to an empty house in London commuter areas where parents do not get home after 8 pm that the extended school concept has long been needed.
    My personal take is that it would be great if we could get back to something of the real community outlook of families. I grew up on a naval estate and looking back it wa clear that all the mums shared in bringing us all up. The community was sharing and supporting each other in the task. Extended schools might help that process, although I suspect we have lost tht for ever.

  6. Ali and Rob One of the issues for me is about the role of extended schools, and the nature of our involvement Is it child care or youth work or social care or a bit of all three? There is a great post over on simple church looking at the role of children in simple church situations that I think is very insightful and although a completly different context offers the beginining of a different way to approach youth work like extended schools.

  7. Missiologically, there could be an amazing opportunity . . . if the Church engages and helps build community “outside” without a focus on the church building, the only problem is . . . the “school” becomes the new place to build community and there are real challenges about how we do that.

    First, why are we in schools in the first place? WE, even if nobody else does, need to be agenda free when working off our own turf can we be engaging in mission without being evangelistic?
    Second, are we going to throw stuff together so that we can be involved in the schools “after hours” without having properly thought about what we offer that is distinctive (if we offer a football club, what makes it any different from anyone else offering a football club . . does it need to be different?)
    Third, will the church building become less significant in some areas where this takes off . . . and what would be the implications for the way we do Church?
    Fourth, are there some underlying negative reasons for why the government wants this? Keep young people out of trouble, reduce youth crime, an additional “educational” agenda (will ANY time outside of school hours be ring fenced for young people to “play” and just engage with others socially and emotionally?)
    Finally, what does it say about our current involvement as a church at government level, that 4Children have been approached to help launch some of the extended schools stuff . . . while the Christian Voluntary Sector is a bit part player (despite being the biggest provider of youth provision in the Country) . . . . where is the Churches joined up strategic approach?

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