Supplementary education: beyond the pupil premium

Report published

See full report here.

On 18 January, London Funders and John Lyon’s Charity brought funders together to discuss the way forward for supplementary schools and community-led out of school hour's education and some of the key issues such as their interaction with mainstream schools.

There are an estimated 5,000 ‘supplementary’, ‘complementary’, ‘community’ or ‘Saturday’ schools in Britain, in a variety of shapes and forms. In general they offer out-of-school-hours educational opportunities for children and young people, many of whom come from minority ethnic communities.

Among the funders at the meeting was Heritage Lottery Fund. Their Young Roots programme offers grants to support work that involves 11-25 year olds in projects about their heritage. Information on how to plan a project as well as how to apply for a grant on

A panel of expert speakers demonstrated the continuing value of supplementary education: 

Nick Stuart, CB, Member, John Lyon’s Charity Grants committee, chaired the meeting and gave a warm welcome to those gathered.

A panel speakers shared their experience and demonstrated the value of supplementary education: 

·         Pascale Vassie, Policy and Delivery Manager, The National Resource Centre (NRC) for Supplementary Education, described the Centre’s services including their Quality Mark, and their analysis of the strengths and challenges of supplementary education. See Pascale's presentation here.

·         Ahmad Farid Mall and Emily Beckwith, Afghan Association Paiwand presented on the perspective of a supplementary school working in a mainstream school setting including the practical and communications bonuses and challenges involved. See their presentation here.

·         Joy Collins, Manager, Enhancing Achievement Service, Education Strategy and School Organisation (ESSO), LB Harrow, demonstrated the importance of champions to the successful development of supplementary schools. See Joy's presentation here.

·         Elena Evans, Head Teacher of Stag Lane and Executive Head Teacher, Camrose School, Harrow provided a view from the mainstream education sector. See Elena's slides here.

·         Noelle Gilbert, Grants Officer, Education and Learning Programme, Paul Hamlyn Foundation (PHF) provided a funder's perspective on the topic, and detailed the long-standing support from PHF to supplementary education. See Noelle's slides here.

·         Ertanch Hidayettin, Supplementary Schools Coordinator, Community Barnet explained their work in a consortium with Barnet Supplementary Schools Forum. He detailed partnership working including a safeguarding sub-group and fostering champions scheme. See his presentation here.

·         Siân Hunter Dodsworth, Community Programmes Coordinator: Supplementary Schools, The British Museum ended the meeting with an insight into the success of The British Museum's work with supplementary schools which has brought great numbers of new visitors to the museum. See Siân's slides here.

Participants had many questions for the speakers and much discussion after the presentations focused on the proven results of supplementary education in improving the educational attainment and life chances of children from ethnic minorities.

John Lyon's Charity launches new report demonstrating the value of supplementary education

In June, John Lyon’s Charity (JLC) presented its work with the National Research Centre for Supplementary Education (NRCSE), developing a new model for working with supplementary schools. 

Speaking at the Victoria and Albert Museum, which hosted the launch, Pascale Vassie, Policy and Delivery Manager, NRCSE, explained the many different forms in which supplementary education exists-all of which offer educational opportunities for children and young people outside mainstream school provision.

All supplementary education is community based and delivered by volunteers, yet it is often the case that it is invisible to its surrounding communities, who are entirely unaware of its existence. She cited numerous examples of head teachers of mainstream schools who simply do not realise that classrooms are being used out of hours for supplementary lessons. In addition to this, supplementary schools often work in isolation with little opportunity to share best practice and lack teaching resources.

JLC and NRCSE’s Supplementary Schools Partnership has gained national recognition as an example of good practice on achieving borough-wide coordination of supplementary schools. Its system of quality assurance is key to supporting the integration of supplementary education into mainstream schools. Schools are required to adhere to prescribed levels of good practice and management, including the implementation of strategies for the assessment and evaluation of their services. The findings of a research report quantifying the effectiveness of supplementary schools in raising pupil attainment were also presented. To view the report, click here.

A wealth of speakers also drew on the advantages of supplementary education ranging from reinforcing positive identities, building cohesive communities and raising attainment, to engaging parents, increasing job opportunities and increasing confidence in culture and heritage, leading to better integration and a sense of feeling valued. Speaking at the event, Lord Adonis, former Minister for Schools, described the value of supplementary education as ‘a straightforward good’ - not about making a profit, but strengthening the education system at large. 

The advantages to providing supplementary education are endless. Its indications of the failures in our education system demonstrate a much wider need for a reinvigorated perspective that values the potential of all children.

Useful resources
Report evidencing the impact of supplementary education across the beneficial area of John Lyon’s Charity is available here
For more information on supplementary education click here.
Find out more about the work of John Lyon’s Charity here.

Photograph source