The Government’s Department of Education and Skills has announced the names of two schools in Merton that will get funding to provide a full range of children, family and community services. The schools are Aragon Primary School in Lower Morden and Liberty Primary School in Mitcham.
The schools will become what are known as ‘full service’ or ‘full service extended’ schools. This means that they provide a range of services and activities often beyond the school day to help meet the needs of their pupils, their families and the wider community.
New research shows that the provision of community services in schools can improve pupil attainment, behaviour and attendance. The research also shows how extended schools support family involvement in children’s learning and boosts community pride and involvement.
The extended schools research shows that:
· a school providing out of school art-based activities saw its GCSE A*- C results rise from 63% to 77% in Art, from 50% to 75%% in Music and from 64% to 81% in Drama;
· where extended schools provided out of school activities, there were reports of positive impacts on motivation and attainment;
· parents involved in adult education projects reported positive effects on their perceptions of themselves as learners and on their consequent ability to act as role models for their children; and
· where the local community was involved in planning the extended school, community members reported a growing sense of self-esteem and of control over decisions which affected their lives.
Colin Peak, Head of Early Years at Merton, said:
“Aragon and Liberty schools will become extremely valuable resources for the whole community. We are confident that the full service philosophy is an important element in the future success of the schools, both as community focal points and as places of learning.”
“The schools will receive funding to put the facilities in place so that they can work in partnership with others to provide childcare, health and social care, study support, lifelong learning and family learning, parenting support, access to ICT, and sports and arts facilities.”
Minister for Extended and Inclusive Schools, Catherine Ashton said:
“I want to encourage every school to provide extended services and we have changed the law to make it easier for them to do this. We are also providing guidance, support and funding for every LEA to help all their schools to develop the services most needed by their community.