SCHOOL'S OUT: Framework for the Development of Out-of-School Care
We are keen for OSC to connect with other activities, services and programmes, where that is convenient for the children and young people and their parents.
Out of School Hours Learning (OSHL) or study support
Every Scottish local authority receives study support funding under the Social Justice programme of the National Priorities Action Fund (formerly the Excellence Fund). Since 1999, we have provided some 27 million and we have committed a further 44 million between 2002 and 2006. Over 375,000 pupils took part in study support activity during 2001-2002. In addition, the New Opportunities Fund has made awards under its Out of School Hours Learning Programme amounting to just under 22 million to 134 projects, involving 2,635 schools. The New Opportunities Fund is now making available a further 21.75 million for out-of-school-hours learning under its Round 3 programme.
The range of activities eligible for support from both sources of funding is wide and varied. It includes homework and study clubs, sport and adventurous outdoor activities, creative ventures in the arts field, help with key skills such as literacy, numeracy and information computer technology, and support for coursework in a range of subjects. Activities may take place on school premises or further afield, in the community or at summer camps.
A recent report covering schools in England and Scotland shows that students who take part in study support do better than would have been expected in academic attainment, attitude to school and attendance at school. 9
Good practice in OSHL
The LIFE (Learning is for Everyone) project in Dundee provides homework clubs in the city's libraries and out-of-school learning clubs in 15 primary schools in Social Inclusion Partnerships areas of Dundee. The homework clubs, available to all pupils in primary 5, 6, and 7, are run three nights a week. In an evaluation, 93% of pupils felt that the clubs had helped improve their schoolwork. The pupils welcomed the access to IT and the social aspect of meeting other pupils. The out-of-school learning clubs are available to pupils in primary 7. The activities include arts and crafts, baking, designing and making board games, writing plays and film scripts, learning drama techniques and making animated videos.
Clyde Valley High School in North Lanarkshire runs a 'peer-mentoring' programme to raise the confidence, self-esteem and motivation of students in S1 and S6. The peer-support includes paired reading, mentoring and after-school arts and sports clubs. Younger students respond well to the involvement of senior pupils.
Out of School Hours Learning (OSHL) helps children to build on their learning in the classroom. It also builds confidence and self-esteem by helping them to develop skills in areas that cannot be included in the school curriculum. Good-quality OSC does the same, but with a slightly different emphasis. Both services motivate children and young people.
There is an issue of balance. It would not be appropriate for all clubs in the OSC sector to focus heavily on homework or on support for literacy and numeracy. There are no definite distinctions between 'care' and 'learning' as this area needs to be more flexible.
This is why we gave the New Opportunities Fund the priority in its 'New Opportunities for Quality Childcare Programme' of projects combining childcare and OSHL. This programme will begin in 2003. The New Opportunities Fund will award all grants by December 2005. The New Opportunities Fund will be able to support projects linking OSC and OSHL. The emphasis is on the joint planning, development and location of OSC and OSHL in one place. We need to improve co-ordination and to stop the direct clash that happens occasionally. A closer relationship between OSC and OSHL could benefit children, young people and parents. Importantly, under a more closely connected service, the very worthwhile and beneficial activities under OSHL would continue as would the opportunities for play, relaxation and mixing with friends.
The New Opportunities Fund will expect schools and OSC service managers to work together to plan and develop the new activities. Schools (or sports instructors, arts development workers and others, where appropriate) would provide the OSHL part. Having OSC and OSHL together on school premises is the ideal situation but it is not always possible either because of physical limitations or the nature of OSHL (for example, sports facilities might be separate from the OSC location). Local authorities and childcare partnerships need to think creatively about how to combine OSC and OSHL, taking account of the fact that OSC is charged to parents and OSHL is free.
In order to achieve better co-ordination, the following points might be taken into account.
- Having the right partners on side from the start, for example, school, parents, children and young people, the childcare partnership and the Scottish Study Support Network.
- Identifying need, reflecting the needs of children and parents in the local community.
- Sharing a vision for the service, with support from school and OSC staff.
- Getting the management right - the education authority can even run the childcare. Education authorities may delegate their powers to school heads or staff, but authorities keep responsibility. Or the childcare can be run by community, voluntary or private groups.
- Providing opportunities for sharing school resources, such as sports equipment, computers and art materials.
- Having a wide range of activities and programmes.
- Planning access and charging so that services are in or around one site. Children may go to free OSHL sessions and then go to the childcare that is usually charged for.
One possible solution is set out below.
- Using two rooms in a school, with students being able to move freely between them. A study-support room with a programme of structured activities running for an hour or so and a 'chill-out' room in which to socialise, relax and play, open for longer. Staff have playwork and teaching support skills. Outcomes
could include improved attainment levels, structured and informal learning opportunities, and play opportunities appropriate to the children's age.
The examples below are of existing co-operation between school and club.
Lochee after-school club is based at St Mary's Primary School in Dundee. Children in the club (who come from a number of nearby schools) are supported to do their homework by teachers from St Mary's. The co-ordinator of the club says: 'Having asked the parents their views, I can say that our parents really benefit from having the homework club twice a week. It allows the children to have their homework supervised by a teacher, at a time in the day when they are not too tired. Also, as the children work in small groups with the homework teacher, it allows them to support each other. Parents can still keep in touch with their children's work by checking their homework later on.' One child at Lochee said: 'It is good to do your homework with the homework teacher because she helps you with some of the answers. If I do my homework with the homework teacher I can go home and go out to play with toys.'
Children who attend the Bishopbriggs childcare centre at their Woodhill primary school-base in East Dunbartonshire can go from the OSC service into several teacher-led activities under the out-of-school-hours learning (OSHL) programme. The OSHL activities include a homework club and Scripture Union. This is a flexible arrangement so that the children can take part in activities such as drama, sport, art and music lessons in the OSC service and also go to the OSHL activities. Parents are pleased that their children have the opportunity to take part in both the OSC and OSHL.
Each club decides its policy in relation to homework being done by children at the club. The views of children, parents and OSC-staff need to be taken into account. The focused consultation with children showed that 33% of children do their homework at the club. One in five of the older children said they would like to do homework at a club for older children.
Children at Barnhill after-school club in Dundee can choose to do their homework at the club. Barnhill's co-ordinator has a long-standing arrangement to use the school's dining room as a quiet area for homework. Barnhill's Primary School's head teacher supports the good relationship between the school and the after-school club. The club's co-ordinator says: 'Parents have to be involved. They have to agree as they are expected to look at the homework. Then children can choose to do their homework when they are at the club. They sometimes like to do this if they have other activities later on like the Cubs or the Brownies. The children often have projects to work on. They like to do this at the club because they can use the resources of the school including the library to help with their project.' One child at Barnhill said: 'It's good because it saves time as family at home yap in my ear which makes me take longer to finish.'
Youth work is a learning activity that specialises in social and emotional competence, and has the potential to contribute greatly to the development of young people's skills. It addresses a range of issues from citizenship to environmental education, and community safety to health education. Youth work is particularly successful in making contact with those young people who are excluded and disadvantaged, engaging them in informal learning activities.
Local authorities and the voluntary sector are the main providers of youth work in Scotland. These include local authority community education services, the uniformed youth organisations and voluntary organisations dealing with specific interests, for example, Community Service Volunteers, British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (Scotland), PHAB Scotland (Physically Handicapped Able Bodied).
We have identified the following priorities for community education's work with young people.
- Involvement with young people (school age or over) to help them develop in a positive way. This applies particularly to those who are, or who are at risk of becoming, alienated from society, or whose educational experience has left them dissatisfied or whose lifestyle makes them vulnerable.
- Promoting lifelong learning and healthier, more positive lifestyles within the context of community and voluntary activities.
This includes important contributions to policies such as New Community Schools, OSC and OSHL.
Our support to local authorities in 2002-2003 for the provision of community education is 105.7 million, about half of which will go towards providing youth work. We have given an extra 5 million to local authorities for youth-work provision from 2004. We also award funding to the headquarters of national voluntary youth organisations. This stands at 1.01 million in 2002-2003.
Those working in youth work and related areas support the effectiveness of learning within informal settings. We have sponsored a piece of developmental work to produce clear outputs and outcomes for youth work and to measure progress. The project is due to report in 2003.
On our behalf, YouthLink Scotland is carrying out a mapping exercise of
youth-work provision in Scotland, covering both the voluntary and statutory sectors. This will highlight any gaps between supply and demand; record examples of good practice; and show any duplication. It will provide an important basis for future work by both central and local government, and influence our future consultation on youth policy.
PE and sport
Physical education and sport have a secure place in the school curriculum. A Ministerial Review Group is looking at PE and sport. The group is considering the wider opportunities available to school-aged children in the school and community. It is important that the PE curriculum actively involves young people and connects with the health, activity and sport initiatives being pursued in schools.
OSC has a central role to play in contributing to the physical education and physical activity levels of young people through its ability to links with schools, community and the home.
The New Opportunities Fund's programme on PE and sport in schools (NOPES) will help to achieve our aim of opening up school-based sports facilities for community use, and so build closer links between schools and local sports clubs.
Of the 87 million committed to the NOPES programme, 52 million will be spent on building new, and refurbishing existing sporting and outdoor adventure facilities. Four awards have been made using the New Opportunities Fund's
fast - track process as follows.
- 764,000 to South Lanarkshire Council for part of a major upgrading of school and community sports facilities at Trinity High School.
- 537,000 to North Lanarkshire Council to build an extension to the Kilbowie Residential Outdoor Education Centre in Oban.
- 454,000 to Renfrewshire Council to develop and improve outdoor sporting facilities at The King George V sports ground project.
- 1,154,536 to Glasgow City Council to develop a new community sports facility to be based at Haghill Primary School.
The other 35 million will be committed to two revenue programmes - projects designed to offer out-of-school-hours activities and projects using sport as an alternative to anti-social or criminal behaviour.
Cultural activities are fun and can develop self-confidence and creativity. OSC (and Out of School Hours Learning) can have a part to play in delivering these activities. OSC providers (and childcare partnerships) can contact arts development officers and people involved in the national cultural strategy's cultural co-ordinators in schools programme. This programme encourages local authorities to consider the role of individual cultural co-ordinators and to set up local projects.