Supplementary education can be defined as all out-of-school learning. Particularly classes focused on the provision of additional support for curriculum subjects including all languages, history and cultural enrichment activities such as faith, arts and sports. Provision takes place within a range of contexts including:
- Tuition groups,
- After-school clubs,
- Supplementary schools,
- Mother-tongue classes,
- Complementary schools,
- Saturday schools,
- Faith tuition (temple-, synagogue-, mosque-, church-, or home-based),
- Private tuition…
Supplementary schools offer this range of educational support (language, core curriculum, faith and culture) outside the school day (and are therefore sometimes referred to as out-of-school settings) and within the context of a specific ethnic, national, faith or physical community. They are established and managed by community members, generally on a voluntary basis. As community-based organisations they act as crucial information and advocacy points for adults as well as children. There are 3,000-5,000 such schools in England.
John Lyon’s Charity is at the forefront of support for supplementary schools and believes them to be an important vehicle for channelling direct support to a variety of communities. The Charity has commissioned many pieces of work exploring and supporting the sector.
Paul Hamlyn Foundation (PHF) has completed a number of case studies showing a range of models for relatively sustainable supplementary schools financing. The summary report is available to download from the PHF website, while the full-length case studies can be accessed from our research page here on the NRCSE website. PHF have also published a report on the characteristics of supplementary school pupils and their educational attainment in seven English authorities: Coventry, Leeds, Lincolnshire, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Sheffield.
IPPR and RSA both completed and published research on supplementary schools and the importance of their role in improving and sustaining the educational outcomes of BME and disadvantaged children and young people. Summaries and links to both studies here.
The National Resource Centre for Supplementary Education (NRCSE) is a national strategic and support organisation for community-led supplementary schools and the wider supplementary education sector across England. We are the national champion for excellence, innovation and partnership in supplementary education. We campaign throughout England on behalf of supplementary schools and their students, tutors and leaders. We aim to help raise the profile of supplementary schools and their standards of teaching, learning and management.
What are the legal requirements when establishing a supplementary school or other out-of-school setting? Take our quiz to check compliance with Section 11 of the Children Act and the DfE’s non-statutory guidance on safeguarding. NRCSE facilitates the only nationally-recognised quality assurance scheme for all forms of supplementary education, the NRCSE Quality Mark.
We also work to improve the funding available to support community-led supplementary schools. We do this by working with the community organisations themselves, with the professionals who support supplementary education within local authorities, and with mainstream schools wanting to collaborate with providers of supplementary education. We are independent of, but work with, local and central government. We’re funded by John Lyon’s Charity, European Commission via Erasmus plus, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, British & Foreign School Society and Trust for London and work closely with Paul Hamlyn Foundation, BBC Children in Need, The Department for Education, the British Museum, the Museum of London, SafeNetwork and many local authorities and funders across England.
We believe that there are 8 pillars to work in the supplementary education sector:
- Raising aspirations
- Learning mother-tongue languages
- Core curriculum teaching
- Cultural engagement
- Culture of achievement
- Partnership with mainstream schools
- Peer support
- Engaging parents
More information on each of these areas is available from us.