Local head gives cautious welcome to school plans

Contributed by editor on Sep 12, 2004 - 09:26 PM


<FONT color=black>Headteacher at the Churchill School Jennie Carter has given a cautious welcome to   Education Secretary Charles Clarke's plans for schools to offer 'wrap-around' childcare available from 8am to 6pm.

<FONT color=black>She said: " Although I think it makes sense to utilise school buildings, I need to see the colour of the government's money to pay for staff to provide breakfast clubs and after school care. Training would also be a consideration that will, inevitably cost money".

<FONT color=black>The Education Secretary called for a universal o­ne-stop childcare service for working parents, continuing through the school holidays.

<FONT color=black>He said: "We expect to make significant progress over the next five years - schools will be at the heart of this,"

<FONT color=black>The 'wrap-around' care would be available for 48 weeks of the year and be paid for by tax credits.

<FONT color=black>Mr Clarke emphasised that the key to providing the care would be the "extended school" providing a menu or breakfast, after-school, holiday clubs and nursery care.

<FONT color=black>Government plans to introduce extended schools were originally announced in its five year strategy for children and learners earlier this year.

<FONT color=black>A recent survey shows that most schools are well placed to meet the challenge of becoming extended schools. The survey showed that:

<FONT color=black>100 per cent of schools had some form of out-of-schools learning or study support
47 per cent had a Breakfast Club
34 per cent had an after-school club - with over 80 per cent using another group or organisation to provide this service
39 per cent had holiday play schemes and clubs
Around two thirds of schools want to become extended schools

<FONT color=black>Mr Clarke said: <FONT color=black>"It will take time for all schools to make an Extended Schools offer to their parents - either o­n their own or in partnership with other schools close by.

<FONT color=black>"But we want it to happen and we will be providing practical help, training, capital funding as well as some revenue support to help roll out the strategy across the country and to make a reality of a childcare guarantee for parents."