Professor Alan Dyson

Professor Alan Dyson (Professor of Education, University of Manchester)

Beyond the school gates: are full service and extended schools worth the effort?


England – in common with many other countries – has a long history of schools offering additional services and activities to students, families and communities. During the New Labour period, what began as local developments were turned into a national programme making ambitious claims about what schools working in this way might achieve in combating social and educational disadvantage. However, what do we really know about the outcomes from ‘extended’ schools? How effective are they at improving school performance, raising student achievement or transforming communities? This paper will consider the international evidence on these questions. It will argue that schools working ‘beyond their gates’ can have important impacts, but that these impacts are ameliorative rather than transformational. If we want to make a real difference to disadvantaged areas and populations, an even more ambitious approach is needed. Despite the current economic and political difficulties, the outlines of such an approach are in fact already emerging in many parts of the country.


Alan Dyson is Professor of Education in the University of Manchester where he co-directs the Centre for Equity in Education and leads work on education in urban contexts

His research interests are in the relationship between social and educational inclusion and, particularly, on the relationship between education and other areas of public policy in urban contexts. He has undertaken a good deal of funded research sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, government departments, local authorities and other public bodies. Recent studies include the national evaluations of extended services and of full-service extended schools, a study of school governing bodies in disadvantaged areas and a review of the research evidence on the relationship between poverty and education. He has been a member of the government’s ministerial working group on Special Educational Needs, and of the National Education Research Forum, as well as working with a range of government and government agency task groups. He is currently working as a task group chair in the EHO review of health inequalities in Europe. His book (with Colleen Cummings and Liz Todd) on full service and extended schools, Beyond the School Gates is published by Routledge in 2011. Other publications include Schools and Area Regeneration (Bristol, The Policy Press), Housing and Schooling (York, YPS) and School, Family, Community (Leicester, Youth Work Press). He led the production of the Open File on Inclusive Education for UNESCO.

Alan Dyson has worked in universities since 1988. Prior to that, he spent 13 years as a teacher, mainly in urban comprehensive schools.


For a copy of his presentation, please click this link: Presentation by Alan Dyson