Responsibility for Family and Community Learning
Most schools will not have the resources or the level of work with families and communities to justify the appointment of a full-time, dedicated member of staff.
In most cases, responsibility for this work either will be allocated to a member of staff who may be released from the timetable for a specific amount of time each week, or it will be offered on a part-time basis to a member of the support staff.
Schools should make sure that this responsibility is included in the job descriptions of all those members of staff who are likely to be involved. This may include teaching staff and others.
The school will want to use staff as flexibly as possible. Re-structuring staffing arrangements may assist with this approach. There are schools where staff have time off the timetable to engage in community-focused work. Similarly, some schools make it clear to applicants at interview that they will be encouraged to become involved in community-focused work. Remember that there may be advantages to having staff not involved in teaching or parents or volunteers active in community-focused work.
While it is assumed that all members of staff will be involved in family and community learning in some way, certain members of staff will have additional responsibilities which should be agreed and listed in their job description. These might include any or all of the following items.
- To ensure that all visitors and telephone, fax and e-mail callers to the school feel welcomed and that their requests, complaints and other matters are dealt with effectively and efficiently.
- To develop work with parents/carers and promote positive home-school relationships
- To ensure that teachers in all curriculum areas positively involve adults from the community in their work, both as learners and as a resource for the pupil's curriculum.
- To bring about maximum use of the school's facilities and resources by community groups.
- To find ways of funding and supporting the work of community groups
- To make and maintain close links with other schools in the cluster and with colleges of further education.
- To develop and implement innovative projects with partners from the community
- To recruit, train and manage suitable voluntary workers.
Staffing Arrangements and Professional Development
Should schools choose to deliver services themselves, there is no expectation that teachers and existing staff will deliver the extended services. However, it may be that teachers and auxiliary staff are interested in being involved, possibly working alongside other agencies or organisations.
The growth and professionalisation of support staff represents a significant increase in the workforce who have experience, expertise and training in working with children and young people. In many cases these skills will be directly transferable, or transferable following appropriate training to the delivery of extended services.
It is important that any new opportunities or alterations to exiting job roles are made in the context of the review of the whole school staffing structures and in accordance with the appropriate local and national agreements covering pay, terms and conditions and consultation with the relevant trade union.
The quality of service for children and families as well as the conditions for all members of the team working with children will be enhanced by clearly established policies and procedures which address and safeguard fair employment practise for all working in the delivery of extended services.
All partnership organisations should have equal opportunities policies which are compatible with the Education and Library Board and other school policies. There should also be clearly communicated grievance, complaints and disciplinary procedures for all staff.
For many activities, partners will be able to take the lead role in managing school-based provision, using their specialist staff and expertise. In such cases, they are responsible for setting up appropriate staffing arrangements.
Schools can appoint co-ordinators to manage the Extended School. This person could be appointed internally, in which case the employer remains the same, or externally, where they would be employed by the ELB. Line management would be agreed with the schools.
Clusters can appoint co-ordinators across the cluster.
Other staff may be appointed depending on need e.g. sports coaches, childcare staff, caretaker, summer scheme staff, study support staff. These may be appointed externally or internally e.g a teacher may be willing to work flexible hours to support some of these activities.
|1. Compile a job description (see appendix for example)|
2. Decide on roles and responsibilities. (It would be sensible for the co-ordinator to be allowed some degree of decision-making responsibility)
3. Agree a line management role.
4. Consult on length of appointment/ salary structure/ hours/ health and safety/ annual leave etc to ensure that staff member is able to provide the service required. This may be done through the Human Resources Department of the ELB.
5. Ensure all guidelines for appointing and interviewing staff, as determined by the ELB and DENI, are followed.
An opportunity to build staff capacity and expertise is the Fulbright teacher exchange to the USA, where teachers could work within the full service schools' projects.
Training can also be accessed through voluntary agencies such as Avert (028 7136212), CINI, or statutory agencies.
Work with families and communities needs to be undertaken willingly. If staff feel that it is being imposed upon them, it is almost certain to have a negative impact. However if a school has decided to pursue an active policy of work with the community, it must be assumed that all staff will recognise the need to adopt working practices which contribute towards the achievement of that policy.
Once a school has decided to develop its work with families and communities, job interviews could invite candidates to express their attitude to such work. Below are some questions which might be considered when recruiting new teaching or support staff:
- What is your attitude to working with families and communities?
- Do you have any previous experience or achievements that might be relevant?
- What ideas do you have for developing work with the community?
- What would you consider to be features of an effective partnership?
- Who do you think would make good partners?
Schools can make supplementary payments or provide time off in lieu to school staff regularly involved in additional activities. Alternatively, community activity can become part of staff's core work with the salary apportioned between budgets. In either case, support from school staff should be on a voluntary basis.
Additional staffing of activities need not always result in further costs to the Extended Schools budget. Some activities can be supported by parent or community volunteers and will incur minimal staff costs. (See detailed staffing costs under Financial Management)
Schools may also be able to identify other ways to attract support from volunteers in their area. These could include payment of expenses, offering opportunities to develop new skills, or operating rotas so that volunteers can be flexible about their true commitment.
Older school pupils can also be involved in supporting some types of activities. These roles can provide good opportunities for increasing their confidence and skills as well as giving the school community a stronger sense of ownership of programmes.
|Co-ordinator of Extended Schools||Download|
|Communities in Schools: Schools Co-ordinator||Download|
|Family link co-ordinator :: Updated 27 Nov 06||Download|
|Parent Support Officer||Download|
|Parent Support Programme Co-ordinator||Download|
|Sixth Form Study Supervisor||Download|
All Job Descriptions are Microsoft Word Documents and can be opened if Office is installed. If office isn't installed you can open via a text editor e.g. notepad or wordpad.
The involvement of volunteers in extended schools is an enormous strength to be built upon. However, in order to retain their commitment, it is important to:
- Treat volunteers exactly as paid staff in terms of the respect that you show them and of your expectations of them
- Make it clear that you consider their contribution just as valuable as that of paid staff
- Write a brief job description outlining their duties
- Meet each volunteer regularly to discuss their work
- Ensure that the person responsible for staff development includes volunteers' development needs
- Ensure that they criminal record checks are carried out prior to engagement
- Offer some incentives such as expenses cover, job references, refreshments, or training
The Need for Professional Development
Staff working in an extended school will need to develop their existing skills as well as to acquire new ones. Schools will need to give thought to the leadership and management skills needed to run an effective extended school. Leadership is crucial to the success of any venture, but it will play a key role in developing an extended school. In particular, leadership will be paramount in the formulation and modelling of the vision and values of the extended school.
School managers will need to consider new policies. They will need a perspective on operational matters and planning as well as skills associated with project management.
Schools wishing to develop as extended schools will need the ability to build partnerships with parents, families and the wider community, including other agencies.
School staff, teachers and others will need to give thought to customer care when working with adults and the wider community.
The extended school will also bring new funding opportunities. With this will come the need to manage the funding as well as having a good knowledge of funding sources.
The Department of Education, Pastoral Care in Schools: Child Protection states that "schools have a pastoral responsibility towards their pupils and should recognise that the children and young people in their charge have a fundamental right to be protected from harm". Pre-employment checks (PECs) must be carried out by the Criminal Records Office (CRO) for any person IN A REGULATED POSITION whose normal duties include regular caring for, training, supervision or being in sole charge of children under 18 years of age or vulnerable adults. This normally applies to employees in schools but there may also be volunteers and learners who also require checks to be carried out. Extended school activities and services may also require checks to be made on adults because they are working in communal areas where contact with children is likely.
All schools must have robust child protection practices in place which conform to DE guidance and ELB polices.
- Headteachers must ensure that a designated member of staff is responsible for child protection issues and that this member of staff is suitably trained and supported.
- Headteachers must ensure that the appropriate checks are made prior to adults being involved in school activities, which will need to be carried out for training, supervising, participating or being in charge of children.
- Whilst other agencies accessing the school and/or involved with young people may have carried out their own PEC's checks this will not suffice to meet ELB policy. PEC's checks must be carried out for all adults i.e. those over the age of 18 years.
- Many extended school activities and services provide increased levels of access for adults to school premises. Where adults and children are jointly involved in activities, schools need to ensure that there are always adequate staffing arrangements in place, so that children are not left unsupervised.
- Anti-bulling policies should be in place to cover all activities that occur on the school premises, and staff made aware of the requirements they contain.
Schools and governors should refer to the following documents, ensuring correct procedures and polices are in place.
|Pastoral Care in Schools||Child Protection Guidance Booklet|
|Child Protection||Training Recruitment for school governors on Staff Recruitment & Selection Panels. Circular 2006/08|
|Child Protection||Criminal background check-up of staff in schools - programme to extend coverage. Circular 2006/09|
|Child Protection||Recruitment of people to work with children and young people in educational settings. Circular 2006/06|
|Child Protection||Employment of substitute teachers. Circular 2006/07|
The school maintains its responsibilities for child protection whatever the activity offered to the child within the school premises, or on regulated activities away from the school premises. For extended school activities the following is recommended:
- review child protection policies to make provision for extended activities in the school, and for a range of adults taking responsibility for these.
- ensure that organisations or individuals offering extended day activities are aware of the school's child protection policies
- ensure that the organisations or individuals offering extended day activities know and understand the procedures that are in place for a complaint , allegation or concern
- provide all participating organisations or individuals with a diagram detailing the procedures that should take place should any of the above occur e.g leaflet/information sheet
- display visible reminders of the school's child protection policy in the school e.g on noticeboards, in information.
- provide parents/children and young people with a mechanism to report any concerns on child protection issues that occur during extended school activities to the designated officer.
Extra training opportunities should be provided to staff and volunteers. Training can improve the quality of programmes and contribute to individual staff development. For example, reception staff could receive customer service training or volunteers be given advice on how best to engage with children with Special Educational Needs.
If a school is planning to offer the school as a venue for local groups on a commercial basis, governors might like to consider a bookings policy. Some schools may wish to exclude certain groups, such as political parties, and school may wish to add further exclusions to reflect local circumstances.
A contact person has been appointed in each Education and Library Board to deal with any HR queries relating to Extended Schools, they are as follows:
|BELB||Jill Dowie||Tel 90564020|
|NEELB||Frances Jackson||Tel 25662667|
|SELB||Janette Carson||Tel 37512381|
|WELB||Brenda Kerrigan||Tel 82411338|
|SEELB||John Mason||Tel 90566263|