Local Parents Invited to Give Their Views

Survey to look at extra services to be provided at schools

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Thousands of parents across the borough are being asked what they think of the extra services provided by schools and nurseries, and what improvements they would like to see.

Ealing Council is inviting parents and carers of pupils attending Ealing primary and secondary schools and nurseries to complete an online survey.

The survey will collect their views on childcare, parenting support, sports, clubs and broader community services in the borough's schools and early years settings.

The survey comes as Ealing schools work towards offering extended services, in line with the Government's vision to broaden opportunities and support for pupils and their families, and make schools a resource for the whole community. An extended school provides a range of services and activities, often beyond the school day, to help meet the needs of the community in and around the school.

Schools will work with Ealing Council, Ealing Primary Care Trust and other key agencies and voluntary groups to provide access to:
· wraparound childcare from 8am-6pm all year round;
· parenting and family support;
· a varied menu of activities including study support, music tuition, sports, dance, drama, arts and crafts;
· swift and easy referral to specialist services such as speech therapy, child and adolescent mental health services, intensive behaviour support and sexual health services;
· community use of facilities including sports and arts facilities, adult and family learning, and information communication technology (ICT) facilities.

The survey will ask parents or carers about the services they currently access via their child's school or nursery and ask them what improvements or extra services they would like to see.

A hard copy of the survey will also be sent to a sample of 6000 parents and carers of pupils at seven high schools, 20 primary schools, three special schools and one early years site. The schools selected represent Ealing's school population in terms of ethnicity, location and deprivation levels.

Councillor Ian Gibb, deputy leader and cabinet member for children's services, said: "This is an unprecedented opportunity for families to influence the provision of a vast number of services, everything from childcare and parenting support, to community use of school facilities. We want to hear parents' and carers' views on the services that are currently provided through local schools, whether they are satisfied with the quality and the choice, and what changes they think should be made."

In addition, focus groups will be held at various venues including children's centres, the Travellers Education Centre and voluntary organisations.

The Government does not expect all schools to offer extended services on their own sites. They may work with other schools in the area and in partnership with other agencies to ensure families have access to extended services.

Similarly, the Government does not expect teachers to provide childcare or other activities, nor are headteachers expected to manage extended services. The intention is to support teaching and learning and help to reduce the burdens on teachers (for example, breakfast clubs can lead to better pupil concentration and improved behaviour in the classroom).

Acton High School has been developing extended services for some time and is Ealing's 'full service' extended school. The school's experience will help to inform the development of the Extended Schools programme in Ealing.

October 23, 2006