Strengths and challenges
What are the strengths of supplementary schools?
- Parents are more engaged and involved in supplementary schooling than they tend to be in mainstream education.
- Schools are flexible and are often able to respond to the learning needs of local communities better than mainstream schools can do.
- Different approaches to learning foster the development of students’ self-esteem and confidence.
- Supplementary schools can promote the development of students’ linguistic skills, cultural identity and religious awareness.
- Students are engaged in positive education and leisure activities outside ‘the school’.
- The commitment and enthusiasm of staff and volunteers from the community is evident.
- Supplementary schools can contribute to improved behaviour and social skills among students.
- They can help reduce isolation by connecting children and families with others from a similar linguistic and cultural background.
What are the challenges of supplementary schools?
Most of the schools we work with suffer from a very similar range of problems:
- They lack secure, sustainable funding and often rely on small, short-term grants.
- They often lack teaching resources.
- They lack public recognition, particularly from mainstream schools.
- The quality of teaching can be variable.
- They are often dependent on the commitment of a few people, making them vulnerable to turnover of staff and volunteers.