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Extended Schools Co-ordinator Appointed

On the left are staff and children in an extended schools area at Woodside Infant School and on the right Woodside Head Helen Lamb (right) welcomes new co-ordinator Fiona Whiting.


A group of local schools is planning to create closer working links with the community after investing in an extended schools co-ordinator. 

Fiona Whiting has been appointed to the post to help deliver the Government’s plan to create closer links between schools and communities. She will cover Mulbarton, Little Melton, Hethersett and Cringleford. 

She began her new role at the beginning of April and is currently assessing facilities available at the seven schools. 

The mother of two from Hethersett is based at Mulbarton Infant School but works for seven schools in the local cluster – Cringleford Primary, Little Melton Primary, Mulbarton Infant, Mulbarton Junior, Hethersett Infant and Nursery, Hethersett Junior and Hethersett High. 

Fiona believes that the success of the extended schools programme lays with partnership working between schools and a variety of groups and organisations including Norfolk County Council, parish councils, school governors, parents, staff, pupils, local businesses, the private sector, local organisations, the Police, the National Health Service and churches. 

“We know that an extended schools programme cannot work alone in helping children and young people achieve their full potential and needs to work in partnership with other groups that have an interest in children’s well-being and also their place in the local community,” Fiona said. 

The Government has set out its aims for extended schools over the next three years. These include providing a varied menu of activities designed to extend and enrich learning, providing high quality “wrap round” childcare, working closely with parents and families through learning sessions, providing quick and easy referrals to specialist support where needed and providing wider community access to Information Technology, sport and the arts. 

“My first priority is to work with the Heads of the seven schools to look at existing provision and what is already available. That will allow us to identify gaps and ideas that can be incorporated into school development plans,” Fiona said adding that there will be full consultation with staff, parents, pupils, governors and communities about their needs. 

“The key to providing a successful extended schools programme is working closely with all the partners to allow us to find funding for various projects,” Fiona added. 

“The role of the co-ordinator will be to work with all our schools to extend provision to the cluster to meet the needs of everyone in the community – children, parents and other residents,” said Head of Hethersett Infant School Helen Lamb. 

“Extended schools are a key vehicle for delivering the Government’s policy paper “Every Child Matters.” The extended schools agenda will help children to stay safe, be healthy and help them to achieve their full potential and make a positive contribution to their community. Children today are very aware of their community and also ecology and green issues,” Fiona added. 

Fiona was brought up and educated in Wymondham and has lived in Hethersett with husband Garry and her two sons for 13 years. Before taking up her present position she was a corporate bank manager for NatWest in Norwich and Great Yarmouth and Human Resources and Recruitment Manager and then Foods Manager for Marks and Spencer. In her spare time she enjoys dancing and going to the theatre.