Headlines: January 16th, 2006

Six Midlands local authorities have joined a community learning charity to share good practice between extended schools. The partnership has been established by ContinYou, which provides a range of programmes to support children’s and young people’s learning with its focus on improving life chances and tackling the effects of child poverty.The councils are Dudley, Walsall, Sandwell, Worcestershire, Staffordshire and Coventry and the partnership is underpinned by the government’s Ten Year Childcare Strategy plans to give local communities access to high quality early years support through children’s centres.

ContinYou’s aim is that the partnership will find the most effective ways to share experiences and to promote greater integration between extended schools and children’s centres and to improve working relationships. Under the arrangements with the local authorities centres will be located on school sites and will have a close relationship with the extended schools.

The government’s strategy requires schools to offer childcare from 8 in the morning to 6 in the evening and also encourages close partnership working with voluntary sector organisations as it sees this as a likely way to achieve its targets.

ContinYou believes that while schools play a major part in the learning process, the support that families offer to their children is key to a child’s ability to make the most of educational opportunities. It says getting involved in their children’s education can trigger parents’ desire to take up learning again themselves.