Secondary school activities: Ecorys’ report published by the Department for Education

The Department for Education (DfE) has published research by Ecorys UK into secondary school extended activities.

The research highlighted three main areas for improvement in relation to out-of-normal timetable activities: a) access to information, advice and evidence; b) capacity building and partnership working; and c) support for innovation.

Ecorys’ study found widespread demand for improved access to information on locally available extended activity provision and providers. The concept of an informational “one stop shop” was suggested on numerous occasions during the fieldwork, including accurate listings of locally available CVCS provision. Some means of quality assuring provision and providers was also in high demand.

Researchers discovered that, although school collaboration was one potential way of achieving economies of scale for extended provision, clustering was mainly restricted to MATs, or to specific types of ad hoc activities such as sports competitions involving multiple schools. Schools often found collaboration difficult due to travel restrictions and administrative burdens.

These findings are based on 25 qualitative interviews with commercial, community and voluntary sector (CVCS) organisations, and a survey of 100 CVCS organisations, carried out by Ecorys between November 2016 and February 2017. We asked:

  • the views of school leaders, school staff, parents and pupils on current out-of-normal timetable activities
  • the perceived benefits and disadvantages of increasing out-of-normal timetable provision, including the possibility of a compulsory extended school day
  • what resources or interest there would be from organisations and schools to support it

The research Ecorys conducted is not intended to be nationally representative, but rather presents a snapshot of current practices from a mixed sample of schools and CVCS providers, to help inform DfE policy teams.

For more information please contact:

Laurie Day, Technical Director, Policy & Research