Supplementary schools

Supplementary schools are community-led organisations which usually operate at weekends, offering one or more of the following:

  • Core curriculum support
  • Home language studies
  • Cultural activities and religious studies

Supplementary schools can make a significant contribution to the self-esteem and well-being of children from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) backgrounds.

How to choose a supplementary school

When looking for a supplementary school you may want to consider the following:

  • If you would like curriculum support, home language teaching, cultural studies or religious studies for your child
  • To visit the school and speak to the manager or headteacher
  • Ask to be shown around
  • Ensure the premises are clean and safe
  • Ensure the children being taught are focussed and listening
  • Ask to see the child Protection and Safeguarding Policies – check the dates are current
  • Ask about teachers’ qualifications
  • Ask if staff have been checked by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
  • If a child has special educational needs, check the school can meet his needs
  • Ask if the school has gained the NRCSE Quality Mark for supplementary schools

For more information please see the guide to private tuition and supplementary schools.

The benefits of supplementary schools

The Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) has recently published a report commissioned by John Lyon’s Charity to explore the contribution made by supplementary schools. The report advocates closer partnerships with mainstream schools and provides some examples of partnerships.
The report considers:

  • challenges facing mainstream schools
  • the contribution that supplementary schools make
  • expanding the offer of mainstream schools

View the IPPR report on supplementary schools.


Supplementary schools