The goal of all EMEP’s work is to contribute significantly to a provincial and national movement of Community Hub Schools for extended, child-, teacher- and family-friendly learning, recreation, and support services. EMEP combines three strategies, two approaches and four programmes to achieve the goal of a national movement of Community Hub Schools for extended learning, recreation and support services.


  • Testing & Demonstrating: continuous development programmes with schools willing to embark on long-term development journeys test and demonstrate good extra-mural community hub practices
  • Embedding & Spreading: Extra-Mural School Hub practices are embedded and spread via EMEP’s DevTraining-and-Support and Network Programmes, using creative, experiential training methods and sustained mentorship and support on-site and in clusters
  • Influencing the Environment through lobbying and advocacy with decision-makers, planners, and designers across sectors, especially within government’s ‘social cluster’.


  • The Hub: working ‘from inside out’, i.e. the starting point is within the school firstly to ensure a solid foundation and then reaching out to the community and strategic partners.
  • The Hub-Spokes-Rim: the full, holistic ‘both..and’ model, working from ‘both’ inside-out ‘and’ outside-in, i.e. simultaneously within the school, within the community, and then opening up two-way support pathways that link school and community, managed by integrated ‘development desks’.


EMEP’s goal is to help South African schools to develop into hubs of dynamic learning, recreation, and support for their school-going and surrounding communities by offering:

  • extra-mural programmes for children, youth, and community members that are engaging, relevant holistic,varied, creative, well-managed, and safe
  • an holistic approach for the school’s continuous organisational and curricular development as a vibrant, child-, family-, and teacher friendly institution
  • thirdly, community development and support for local organisations and individuals to both deal with their underlying needs and issues as well as organise themselves effectively to use the school maximally as a community resource.

EMEP’s vision of an ‘Extra-Mural Community Hub’ is a school that offers innovative extra-mural programmes that extend access to learning, recreation, income-generation, and support services to learners, families, and local communities. This is accomplished by maximising existing resources, most especially their people and by making the most of ‘empty’ time: afternoons, breaks, early mornings, evenings, weekends, and holidays. Such ‘maximising existing resources’ is a necessary first step before drawing in new resources, including strategic partnerships and requests for investment. Building an extra-mural sector provides opportunities within school time for educators, school managers, governors, and district officials to build skills, learn good practices, and implement organisational systems that advance whole-school development efforts.

Used strategically, extra-murals enable schools to meet the context-specific needs and interests of their learners, families, staff, and local communities. Extra-murals trigger change in all aspects of the school. They allow for child-friendly environments, improved teaching and learning, engagement of families and partners, and ultimately bring about the vision of a full-service Community School used as a delivery and support hub by a host of relevant providers who otherwise would have neither systemic entry-point nor a systemic enabling environment for ongoing, sustainable support. EMEP works in strategic coalitions with a range of partners to test and deepen our approach, and to spread the model in the Western Cape and then nationally.