HC Deb 20 June 2000 vol 352 cc175-6W
Mr. Jim Cunningham

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what advice has been given to schools about allowing local residents' groups and other organisations access to computers and other facilities outside school hours. [126116]

Jacqui Smith

The Department published "Raising Standards: opening doors: developing links between schools and their communities" in January this year. This document offers wide-ranging advice to schools on allowing greater access to their premises and facilities and on enhancing their links with the local community. It is available free of charge to all schools.

We are also planning to publish later this year a Schools Plus Manual, which will offer schools further practical advice and support on how to develop as a community resource and how to strengthen their relationships with their local community.

In March this year the Schools Plus Policy Action Team, set up by the Social Exclusion Unit following its report on Neighbourhood Renewal, published its report on "Building Learning Communities". The Team considered how schools could be used to engage the community, drawing in greater support and making their facilities available to more people. It made 32 recommendations under two broad headings: extending services offered by schools; and improving school community links. We are considering how to implement the Team's recommendations.