Full service programmes

Some children and young people, especially those living in disadvantaged communities, can face a number of issues or 'barriers to learning' which can lead to them doing less well at school. In order to overcome such barriers those children and their families often need additional support. The 'full service' approach seeks to provide such support.

What is 'full service'?

Linked closely with the Extended Schools Programme, the 'full service' approach goes beyond standard extended school provision by delivering substantial additional programmes and activities aimed at tackling barriers to learning and raising levels of educational attainment for those pupils in the greatest need.

The full service approach deals with the whole range of issues or problems experienced by children and will include support for their physical; emotional; social and health needs to create an environment where every child is ready to learn. In doing so, the full service approach encourages stronger links with parents and communities as they have a vital role in supporting children and young people so that they can achieve their full potential.

Full service programmes

The Department of Education (DE), through the Education Authority and the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS), is currently supporting full service provision in two communities experiencing high levels of deprivation.

  • Full Service Schools (FSS)– based at the Boys’ Model and Model School for Girls in North Belfast (ongoing since 2006)
  • Full Service Community Network (FSCN) in the Ballymurphy area of West Belfast (officially launched in 2009).

In 2023/24, DE provided £366k in support of each programme.

Both full service programmes offer access to comprehensive specialist support services not only for pupils but also their parents, families and the wider community. These services are organised and delivered collaboratively between schools and a range of partners including statutory agencies (such as Health) and other local voluntary and community groups. 

More information

The most recent Annual Reports which seek to evaluate the impact of each Full Service programme can be accessed here:

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