Research Centre for Learning and Teaching

Extended Schools and Community Programmes

Extended Schools and Community Partnerships


We conduct evaluative work of community-based initiatives. These include Social Regeneration Budget (SRB) funded programmes.

The initiatives include the Training Strategy of Reviving the Heart of the West End SRB programme, and the Pennywell Community and Health Resource Project.

We've also evaluated Local Authority programmes, such as:

  • Local Education Action Zone
  • The Quality Time Project
  • The Literacy Transition Project
  • Sure Start Local Programme

Extended/community schooling

More recently, we have looked at extended/community schooling programmes. Common across projects is an interest in, and commitment to, collaborative working between:

  • schools
  • communities
  • multi-agency partners

This better supports all vulnerable people in the communities served by the school. This has developed alongside increasing government advocacy of an extended role for schools.

The extended schools initiative and Every Child Matters framework reflects the government's interest.

Our researchers

Several CfLaT members research in this area, including:

Evaluating government policy

Informing policy and evaluating government initiatives forms the main strand of our work. Our first report in this field appeared in 2003 at a Whitehall seminar with David Milliband.

This research, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, investigated the role of schools in community regeneration.

It was when the Social Exclusion Unit launched their National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal. It had a designated policy action team to promote school community collaboration.

Fieldwork for this research fell into four broad stages:

  • interviews with key stakeholders to gather perceptions about communities and their schools
  • more interviews focused on strategy and regeneration policy
  • further interviews exploring area based initiatives with the focus on education action zones
  • quantitative data analysis of postcode level school performance data

The latter enabled the team to compare case study schools’ performance. It measured pupil achievement in relation to schools nationally and in similar circumstances.


Building on our initial work, CfLaT undertook a local evaluation of Full Service Extended Schools.

They followed this with evaluations of the government's extended schools pilot initiatives. The first piece of work was an evaluation of the DfES extended schools demonstration project.

This explored models of extended schooling in three Local Education Authorities. An extended schools pathfinder project involving 25 Local Education Authorities followed.

At the time, governing bodies gained greater powers. This enabled them to approve community services and facilities from school sites.


A two-year evaluation was conducted by CfLaT, the universities of Manchester and Brighton. It assessed the impact of theprojects on:

  • a range of pupil outcomes
  • teaching and learning
  • community cohesion and regeneration

It also assessed:

  • the attitudes of parents and other community members towards the schools
  • the funding of extended approaches (including capital costs)
  • relationships with key local partners
  • relationship/integration with other key initiatives in the area

It also looked at:

  • processes involved in setting up the provision of services on the school premises
  • barriers encountered and ways in which these barriers are overcome
  • management structures adopted by schools and LEAs, including clustering arrangements


The report from this evaluation set out:

  • analytical dimensions and process issues in the development of extended schools
  • implications for future developments
  • outcomes for service users

The theory of change methodology was adopted. Research methods generating qualitative and qualitative data were applied.

Co-locating Services

The roll out of the DfES Full Service Extended Schools initiative took place. This involved development of at least one in every local authority by 2006.

Schools needed to involve co-location of services on site and establish provision, including:

  • health
  • social care
  • childcare
  • adult and family learning
  • family support
  • access to sport, arts and ICT

These schools needed also to link with strategies around behaviour and educational inclusion.

They were to marry with emerging policy initiatives such as Children’s Centres. This would help provide a better response to the needs of vulnerable children.

Our research

CfLaT and the University of Manchester evaluated the programme over a three-year period.

Securing this work complemented our previous evaluative work. It enabled us to build on our research portfolio in the field.

The evaluation came around the time of proposals for closer integration of the work of:

  • education
  • social services
  • health services

Full Service Extended Schools were vehicles to deliver services to children and families. They became one of the key means of delivering the Government’s new agenda for children.

Evaluation aims

The aims of the evaluation were under four broad categories:

  1. To identify and characterise the activities undertaken by participating schools.
  2. To identify the processes underpinning these activities.
  3. To identify the impacts of activities.
  4. To identify the outcomes of activities.

Project approach

The project team devised a four-part modular approach which comprised of:

  • a mapping module characterising activities, issues and outcomes in a sample of schools
  • a case study module exploring process issues in smaller sample of schools in more detail
  • a review module using questionnaire and field visits to identify key initiative developments
  • a childcare evaluation focusing on childcare services development and its value

There was also a cost benefit analysis scoping module in the first year of the evaluation. Once again we used the theory of change methods.

A research report appeared at the end of year 1 of the evaluation. Two thematic papers (one brief and one full paper) followed towards the end of year 2.

A final evaluation report and research brief appeared in 2007. There was a press release from DfES and local and national press coverage.

Local Authorities

Local authorities commissioned some smaller pieces of evaluative research undertaken by the team.

One Local Authority wanted us to look at an education action zone and its extended schools programme.

We also investigated an extended schools programme for another local authority. This involved schools across 24 clusters and five constituencies.


The evaluation focused on:

  • scale and focus of delivery
  • process issues
  • access and inclusion
  • outcomes and strategy

It drew on qualitative and quantitative data analysis. Policy requires all schools to deliver a core offer of extended provision.

The focus is on co-ordination of provision at cluster level. Research is being undertaken within this policy context.

Research dissemination

Dissemination of research has been in the form of:

  • journal articles
  • research reports
  • conference papers delivered at European and British education conferences
  • symposium at BERA
  • keynote speeches and workshops at various practitioner conferences
  • national and local seminars and the 2007 annual CfLaT conference


Also published is a book by Dr Liz Todd on multi-agency collaboration. This contains some of the research outlined and her professional practice and experience.

Drawing on research evidence, this book looks at these collaborations in detail. It's called Partnerships for Inclusive Education.

The book made the shortlist for the NASEN/TES academic book awards this year.


CfLaT secured the editorship for an Extended Schools Update Series from Optimus Publishing.

This compiled case study material from extended and full service extended schools. It's a creative avenue to disseminate research findings and share good practice.

We regard this work as valuable and worthwhile. We want to continue to build our portfolio in this important area of educational policy.

Contact us to find out more or to discuss commissions and/or research collaboration. Please contact Professor Liz Todd.


Publications in this area include:

Cummings, C., Dyson A., Jones, L. Laing, K., Scott, K. and Todd, L. (2010) Thematic Review: Reaching Disadvantaged Groups and Individuals, DCSF Research report RR196 (DCSF).

Walker, J., WIlson, G., Laing, K. and Pennington, M. (2010) Care Matters: Budget holding lead professionals (BHLPs) with Looked After Children in England. Research Report RR225, London, DCSF.

Clark, J. and Hall, E. (2008) Will the lessons be learned? Reflections on Local Authority evaluations and the use of research evidenceEvidence and Policy, Vol 4 (2).

Cummings, C., Dyson, A., Muijs, D., Papps, I., Pearson, D., Raffo, C., Tiplady, L. and Todd, L. (2007) Evaluation of the Full Service Extended Schools Initiative: Final Report. London: DfES.

Todd, L. (2007) Partnerships for Inclusive Education : A critical approach to collaborative working. London: Routledge.

Cummings, C and Dyson, A. (2006) The role of schools in area regeneration. Research Papers in Education, 22(1), 1-22.

Clark, J., Hall, E., McCaughey, C. and Mroz, M. A local evaluation of Sure Start – Leam Lane area (2006). University of Newcastle upon Tyne: Research Centre for Learning and Teaching.

Cummings, C., Dyson, A., and Todd, L. (2006) Towards Extended Schools? How Education and Other Professionals Understand Community-Oriented Schooling. Children & Society, 21(3), 189-200.

Hall, E. and Clark, J. (2006) Ghosts at the Feast: The role of research centres in supporting innovative practice in local authorities. Studies in research: Evaluation, Impact and Training, 2, 1-9. 

Cummings, C., Dyson, A., Papps, I., Pearson, D., Raffo, C., Tiplady, L. and Todd, L.(2006) Evaluation of the Full Service Extended Schools Initiative, Second Year: Thematic Papers: End of First Year Report. London: DfES.

Cummings, C, Dyson, A., Papps, I., Pearson, D., Raffo, C. and Todd, L. (2005) Evaluation of the Full Service Extended Schools Project: End of First Year Report. London: DfES.

McCaughey, C., Mroz, M. and Clark, J. Evaluating Sure Start: The LEEPs for 1s and LEEPs for 2s Programmes. (2005) Research Centre for Learning and Teaching: University of Newcastle upon Tyne, 1-50.

Clark, J. and McCaughey, C. (2005). Evaluating Sure Start: The Messy Days Programme. Research Centre for Learning and Teaching: University of Newcastle upon Tyne, p.1-35.

Hall, E. and Clark, J. (2005) Exploring multi-professionalism and the changing roles of health professionals within Sure Start. University of Newcastle upon Tyne: Research Centre for Learning and Teaching, , p.1-24.

Cummings, C & Todd, L. (2005) Evaluation of the Full Service Extended Schools in North Tyneside: An Evaluation Report. University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Cummings, C, Dyson, A., and Todd, L. (2004) Evaluation of the Extended Schools Pathfinder Project. London: DfES.

Cummings, C, Dyson, A., and Todd, L. (2004) Extended Schools: Ambitious Aims - Problematic outcomes. In: Angeliki Lazaridou, ed. Contemporary Issues on Educational Administration and Policy. Athens, Greece: Athens Institute for Educational Research, pp. 209-224.

Todd, L. (2004) Making Schools the Hub of the Community. Family Today, (11), 10-13.

Cummings, C, Dyson, A. and Todd, L. (2004) Reaching out to the community: Impact of Extended Schools Initiative. Curriculum Management Update, (50), 4-6.

Hall, E., and Clark, J. (2004) Sure Start Leam Lane Evaluation: Baseline survey. Newcastle upon Tyne: Research Centre for Learning and Teaching, University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Cummings, C, Dyson, A., Millward, A. (2004) Participation and democracy: What's inclusion got to do with it?. In: Allan, J, ed. Inclusion, Participation and Democracy: What is the purpose?. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 49-66.

Cummings, C., Todd, L. and Dyson, A (2003) Extended schools pathfinder evaluation: issues for schools and local education authorities, DfES research brief, London: Department for Education and Skills.

Hall, I., and Clark, J. (2003) An Interim Evaluation of the Pennywell Community Health Resource Project. Newcastle upon Tyne: School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences, University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Crowther, D., Cummings, C, Dyson, A. & Millward, A. (2003) Schools and Area regeneration. Bristol: The Policy press.

Todd, L. (2003) An evaluation of the Gateshead Pathfinder Project. January – August 2003. Final Report. Gateshead Council.

Hardman, F., Hall, I. and Clark, J. (2002) An Evaluation of Sunderland LEAs Literacy Transition Project. Department of Education, University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Cummings, C, Dyson, A. and Millward, A. (2002) An Evaluation of Willington EAZ. University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Graham, P., Hall, I. Clark, J., Hall, E. and McElrue, S. (2002). An Evaluation of the Quality Time Project. Department of Education, University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Dyson, A., Millward, A. and Todd, L. (2002) A Study of 'Extended Schools Demonstration Projects', London: Department for Education and Skills.

Hall, I., Clark, J. and Robson, E. (2001) Reviving the Heart of the West-End Training Strategy, An evaluation of the Intermediate Job Market Program. Department of Education, University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Clark, J. and Robson, E. (1999) Evaluation of the Reviving the Heart of the West End Training Strategy (SRB). Newcastle upon Tyne: Department of Education, University of Newcastle upon Tyne.