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Supplementary education

Supplementary schools provide part-time educational opportunities for children and young people, primarily from Black and minority ethnic communities. They commonly offer mother-tongue language classes, faith and cultural studies, and tuition in English, maths and science, alongside activities such as sport, music, dance and drama. They are established and managed by community members, often on a voluntary basis, and operate from community centres, youth clubs, religious institutions and mainstream schools. While many supplementary schools are small local groups run by parents, others are part of larger organisations that provide a range of services. There are an estimated 3,000 supplementary schools in England.

PHF funded supplementary schools for over 14 years through its Education and Learning Programme. From 2007-15, we had a specific focus on supplementary education and awarded 60 grants under this theme, totalling £5,058,600. We estimate that the funded work has directly benefited over 22,000 children and young people across England.

The Programme supported supplementary schools to improve the quality and range of their activities, and develop stronger partnerships with mainstream schools. PHF also helped to establish the National Resource Centre for Supplementary Education (NRCSE) in 2007, providing core funding with the Department for Education and Skills and enabling it to develop its quality assurance scheme.

Following a review of PHF’s Education and Learning Programme in 2011, and in response to a decline in support and funding for supplementary schools, the Foundation’s trustees decided to undertake some additional work to strengthen the sustainability of its supplementary school grantees and the wider sector.  These included:

  1. A research study into the impact of supplementary schools on children’s attainment in mainstream education. This research focused on areas outside London and included pupils from seven local authority areas: Coventry, Leeds, Lincolnshire, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Nottingham and Sheffield.  It aimed to complement a similar 2012 study published by the John Lyons Charity which focused on London supplementary schools. The report was published in 2015 and is available here.
  2. Workshops to enable current supplementary school grantees to share good practice and consultancy support for a small number of supplementary school grantees to strengthen their sustainability.
  3. A series of seven case studies of supplementary schools demonstrating relatively strong models for maintaining financial stability.  A summary of these case studies was published in June 2015 and more detailed versions of each of the case studies are available below and on the National Resource Centre for Supplementary Education website.
  4. A grant to the Royal Society of the Arts (RSA) to investigate the role of supplementary schools in supporting black and minority ethnic children and young people to achieve well and make successful transitions to adulthood, from school to further and higher education and employment.

Since 2015, PHF no longer has a specific focus on supplementary education.  However, it is hoped that these resources will provide a lasting legacy for the sector and support its longer term sustainability.

Kerala Community Supplementary School case study
Bright Education Centre case study
STAR Communities First case study
Westway Development Trust case study
Hua Hsia Chinese School case study
Afghan Association Paiwand case study
Shpresa Programme case study