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Extended Hours

Volume 449: debated on Wednesday 19 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many (a) primary and (b) secondary schools have indicated they intend to operate extended hours from the start of the 2006 autumn term in (i) each London borough and (ii) each region of England; (86158)

(2) how many (a) primary and (b) secondary schools in each London borough operate extended hours;

(3) how many (a) primary and (b) secondary schools operate extended hours in each region of England;

(4) what guidance he has issued to schools on the charges they can make to pupils for attending extended school hours.

[holding answer 18 July 2006]: We have a target for 2,500 schools to be providing a core offer of extended services by September 2006. This includes access to a varied menu of activities, parenting support, childcare 8am to 6pm, swift and easy referral to specialist services and wider community access. Currently, we have over 9,000 schools engaged with their local authority on the extended schools agenda with a representative split of primary and secondary schools. This is encouraging progress against our September target. We do not currently have data on the total number of schools operating extended hours broken down by borough or region. However, we do have data from a baseline survey of maintained schools published in September 2005. This survey showed that 61 per cent. of secondary schools and 40 per cent. of primary schools offer childcare or activities before school. The survey suggested that more schools offered activities after school hours—a total of 87 per cent. of primary, and 95 per cent. of secondary schools. In future we will be able to draw on data from the school census, which will include information about the extended services that schools are providing.

This Government have published guidance for schools and local authorities on planning and funding extended schools, including charging for extended opportunities, on 5 June 2006. It is intended to help schools plan and fund their extended opportunities in ways that will best support children, young people and their families; reflect local needs and circumstances; and build on existing provision offered by the voluntary and private sectors.

The guidance includes advice on what schools may and may not legally charge for. It describes some typical extended activities and how they might be funded. The guidance emphasises the need for schools to ensure free access to extended activities for the most disadvantaged children and young people.