Headlines: March 6th, 2006

The Charity Commission has issued new guidance for schools that want to provide pre-school facilities. It is designed for maintained schools seeking to extend their services to local communities and comes in response to questions about how schools can maximise the money available from the government’s Extended Schools Initiative.The Commission said it had developed the guidance in consultation with the Pre-school Learning Alliance. It sets out a framework for schools that want to expand their services but protects the interests of existing pre-school charities.

The guidance says that by working with local partners, maintained schools can develop as few or as many services as they think are suitable for their own community, provided it fits with their charitable purposes. Rosie Chapman, Director of Policy and Charity Effectiveness at the Commission said the Voluntary Sector was keen to expand schools’ community potential alongside the Extended Schools Initiative but some organisations were concerned about how to go about doing so.

“Our guidance clarifies the ways in which maintained schools can provide pre-school facilities and what happens when pre-school care already exists at the school. We hope this new guidance will help schools and pre-schools work together to contribute even more widely to their neighbourhoods,” she added. The Pre-school Learning Alliance has welcomed the guidance as it clarifies ways for charitable pre-schools to realise their full potential through partnerships with the extended schools programme.