A good idea: Plans for school buildings

HOW to make the very best use of school buildings and grounds outside of school hours has occupied minds for many years but issues around staffing, insurance and ownership conspired to make it a back-burner project.

However, Education Minister Richard Bruton has included plans to make school buildings available out of hours for after-school care, homework clubs and other community activities as a key part of a three-year education strategy. This idea, irrespective of the difficulties, seems a gold-plated opportunity for communities prepared to make the effort required to take advantage of the potential afforded by under-used school facilities.

A consultation document defines eight key areas including early years education, tackling disadvantage, diversity and choice in schools, and meeting the skills needs of the future. The promotion of creativity and entrepreneurial capacity are key objectives.

These are admirable targets that would enrich our education system but, as ever, delivery is the issue.


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