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ERIC Number: EJ828531
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jul
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 9
ISSN: ISSN-1359-6748
Examining the Full Potential of the Extended School
Orchard, Linda
Research in Post-Compulsory Education, v12 n2 p181-192 Jul 2007
This paper describes a project aimed at helping children and their families achieve their potential. It is based in an area of high social disadvantage. The authors explain how parenting classes held at a community college (a comprehensive school with provision for adult education), have led to the development of a suite of courses leading to qualification and employment. Most of the participants have been women. Even participants with a history of low educational attainment have achieved success and all have gained qualifications to enable them to gain employment working with children. A description is given of how the Progression Route of courses has the potential to build the community and provide access to higher education. The data from a pilot evaluation, based on interviews with 12 adult participants who are at different stages of the Progression Route, are used to examine the extent to which engagement has led to employment. The data show why, in spite of lack of experience as learners, they become engaged and how they overcome barriers. The effect engagement in the courses has had on their families and communities is also examined. It is suggested that a project of this kind can play an important part in improving the employability of parents in an area of high social disadvantage and that it can have a powerful, positive effect on the quality of the home as a learning environment. It is argued that the project could have the capacity to address some of the root causes of academic underachievement and disaffected behaviour in children and the social exclusion of some families. The evaluation of the original parenting programme, completed as a PhD research project in June 2004, has provided early indication that this is indeed the case. It goes without saying that the project will also bring to children and families all the material benefits associated with employment and improved economic well-being. Currently, government policy on the role of the extended school tends to focus on its potential in facilitating inter-agency collaboration and meeting children's welfare needs. The article concludes by suggesting that government policy urgently needs to recognise the huge additional potential of the community college (arguably the most developed form of extended school) in improving the quality of learning environment that children experience at home, through providing learning and training opportunities for their parents that are appropriate and accessible in every sense. (Contains 2 tables and 3 figures.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom