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An Ofsted report, Learning Out Of Hours: The Quality and Management...
An Ofsted report, Learning Out Of Hours: The Quality and Management

of Study Support In Secondary Schools is published today.

The report notes that many schools invest heavily in arranging

out-of-hours learning activities and praises the commitment of time

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.

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