of Study Support In Secondary Schools is published today.
The report notes that many schools invest heavily in arranging
and energy made by those who run them. The report identifies the
benefits the activities can bring to the pupils who take part. It
concludes that where programmes are focused and well run, they can
enrich pupils' experience, improve their attitudes to learning and
help to raise achievement. In over eight out of ten secondary schools
in the survey a good range of out-of- hours learning activities was
on offer, but the quality and impact of these programmes varied.
Most schools provide homework clubs, but a common weakness is that
those who run them have little idea of the nature of homework set and
no routine for providing feedback to the teachers who set it.
Attendance is rarely monitored. When it is, it is often those who
would benefit most who are least likely to attend.
The majority of schools have subject-based study clubs, and in four
out of five schools in the survey, the quality of them is good, with
a combination of teacher input and individual and group activities
helping pupils to develop knowledge and understanding. Most secondary
schools offer additional support for examination coursework and
revision. In over half the schools the support is good. It sometimes
includes mentoring to help pupils to organise themselves and manage
their work for examinations. Mentoring of this kind is good in two
out of five schools where it is provided; it helps to improve
confidence and motivation, and examination results reflect this.
Individual activities are often very well organised, but the
management of out-of- school learning as a whole is generally
under-developed. In examples of best practice, the programme of study
support is worked up in consultation with pupils, parents and
community providers, and is clearly linked to school work. Grant
funding has helped schools to give some pupils more of the support
that they need to succeed, but sustained development is hampered by
the short life-span of some of the grants. Limited evaluation of
out-of-hours learning programmes in many schools means there was
generally insufficient information to judge their success.
Among the issues for attention for schools are:
- ensuring that the activities are an integral part of school
planning and development and that enough time and attention is
allocated to their management
- identifying exisitng activities within the community to make sure
that the school programme complements them
- involving pupils, parents and community bodies and volunteers,
where appropriate, in devising and operating the programme
- providing appropriate briefing for staff and volunteer adults, for
example, in mentoring and in tutoring outside their own subject
- monitoring the impact of the programme on individual pupils and
modifying the programme where necessary
1. Inspectors looked at evidence from 150 regular inspections and
special visits to examine the quality and range of voluntary learning
opportunities offered outside normal lessons.
2. The report Learning Out Of Hours: The Quality and Management of
Study Support In Secondary Schools is available on the Ofsted website
3. Ofsted is a non-ministerial government department established
under the Education (Schools) Act 1992 to take responsibility for the
inspection of all schools in England. Its role also includes the
inspection of local education authorities, teacher training
institutions, youth work and all 16-19 education. Since September
2001 Ofsted has had responsibility for the regulation of early years
childcare, including childminders.