Supplementary schools

What are supplementary schools?

Supplementary schools offer educational opportunities for children and young people outside mainstream school provision.  They aim to raise the attainment of children and young people by providing learning opportunities and are generally run by local community groups and staffed by volunteers.

Where are children taught?

Lessons can be held in a variety of venues such as halls, community centres, youth clubs, places of worship, mainstream schools and premises on the high street.

When do they operate?

They run throughout the week in the evenings, or at weekends.  Supplementary schools should not teach children of school age for more than 18 hours a week. If they do they must register with the Department for Education as an Independent school.

What will my child learn?

They offer a range of learning opportunities, including national curriculum subjects (English, maths, science and others), religious studies, mother-tongue classes, cultural studies and a range of extra activities, such as sport, music, dance and drama.

Will my child be safe?

If you are thinking of sending you child to a supplementary school you will want to make sure they have fun, achieve and are safe. Everyone has a responsibility for safeguarding children and you will want to make sure that your child is kept as safe as possible when you leave them in the care of others. It is a good idea to ask to see the Safeguarding Policy.

How can I find out about what is required to safeguard children attending a supplementary school?

If you are setting up a supplementary school, already run one or are interested in the safeguarding of children attending supplementary schools, the NSPCC can provide advice and information about keeping your child safe in clubs, playing sport and at other activities. 

We encourage all supplementary schools to join the National Resource Centre for Supplementary Education (NRCSE) and become a quality assured supplementary school.