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Extended Schools in UK - Essay Example

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The extended school programme has become an integral part of the School System in UK. There have been many initiatives by the government in recent years to streamline the programme and promote the extended school system as an institution for community development…
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Download file to see previous pages It has thus a host of multifarious activities to perform as a 'cornerstone' of the emerging 'knowledge economy' and the 'hub' of the community life. In this essay we explore the theory and practice of, and the issues around, extended schooling. The discussion would be more meaningful against the background of the history of the concept of 'extended school' and its implementation. We, therefore, turn first to a short 'review of the literature' on extended school in the following section.
The scheme of extended schooling first appeared as a 'full-service schooling' initiative in the United States and has been functioning there as part of the school system for a number of years. Some of these services have included the provision of welfare amenities of health and cleanliness, support services in the form of school counsellors, and various sports and youth activities. However, the recent interest in 'full-service' schooling has its origins in the remedial or ameliorative concerns, which appear to have been basically transplanted into the extended schools in England. The focus has been on the provision of health and social care services. The new community schools in Scotland (1999) was said to have been the first major implementation of the 'extended school' scheme in the UK. In Wales, the idea of community-focused schools has been used to investigate the need and feasibility of a similar provision. However, the idea of providing different services on school premises is hardly new (Walker et al., 2000; Tett, 2000; Raham, 1998, 2000; Smith, 2001). Since the nineteenth century there have been various examples of schools offering medical and welfare services alongside their traditional activities of teaching. Dryfoos has argued that the original model was that of the school-based health and social services centre where services were brought in by outside agencies in concurrence with school personnel ( Dryfoos,1994, p.142). They were to be 'one stop, collaborative institutions' (ibid, p.13). As to what elements should now be present in the concept, Dryfoos seems to be of the view that such a service package should include both 'quality education' and 'support services' (1994. p.13). The underlying principle behind the concept of the full-service or extended school is based on the recognition that schooling, for many, would become meaningful only when 'a range of welfare and health services were in place' along with quality teaching (Smith, 2001a). Social disadvantage must be addressed in order to effectively tackle educational underachievement (Olasov and Petrillo, 1994; Carlson et al., 1995; Raham, 1998; Smith, 2001). Dryfoos (1993) has noted that the impetus for the development of the full-service school approach emanated from the recognition that the schools were often unable to cope adequately with individual student needs in areas such as the social, health, emotional and cultural requirements of their pupils. Hence, much of the literature is based on the premise that 'schools cannot do it alone' in the light of the multiple challenges they, and their students, families and communities face (Dryfoos, 1994,).
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