Extra-mural programmes take place afterschool and other out-of-School Time, (during evenings, weekends, and holidays). They expand learning and recreational opportunities for children, youth, and communities. When integrated into and between class times, extra-murals can revitalise the school-day and curriculum as well.

Extra-murals are key to a balanced curriculum, healthy lifestyles, an enhanced school experience, and personal, social, and community development. They include a wide range of activities and provide safe and healthy spaces, improve academic achievement, and trigger positive change in young lives and in the whole-school communities.

EMEP sees three distinct extra-mural areas:


  • Sports, Games and Play
  • Arts (music, art, dance, drama) & Crafts
  • Clubs (e.g. astronomy, debating)
  • Technology and IT
  • Environmental
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Study Support (including literacy and numeracy)
  • Lifeskills, Diversity, & Citizenship Education
  • Storymaking and Media
  • Social Service Learning
  • Experiential and Vocational Internships
  • Holiday Programmes and Camps


  • Special Education (including curative and remedial therapies)
  • Counseling (individual, group and family therapies)
  • Health (including nutrition, e.g. ‘Breakfast Clubs’ and HIV-AIDS education)
  • Social services
  • Literacy, Numeracy and Bridging
  • Peer mediation and dispute resolution


  • Facility usage (including hiring and hosting)
  • Community Services
  • Adult Education (ABET)
  • Early childhood development and child care
  • Community clubs and fora (town hall)
  • Development Desk
  • Neighbourhood Watch
  • Miscellaneous

‘Extra-mural’ refers broadly to those learning/development activities that take place in the time and space beyond the classroom-based school timetable. Most typically this is in the afternoons after formal class but can also comprise early mornings (e.g. breakfast clubs, study support, games and arts practices, staff check-ins, management meetings, etc) as well as breaks, nights, weekends, and holidays. ‘Extra-mural’ literally means ‘beyond the walls’. Extra-murals are therefore significantly more than traditionally associated ‘sports and clubs’ .

The foundation of EMEP’s approach (to systemic school change) is to open up space and time for school staff to ‘experience and do’ development … and then share, build, and spread the learnings. Towards this end, we use extra-murals as an entry point firstly to engage schools (in the process of systems change) and secondly to trigger their delivery of new practices and programmes in the interests of the child (and that will allow them to journey on as a community hub).

EMEP’s first step here is for the school to be trained and supported to develop an internal extra-mural mission and practice. This is a necessary condition for them to start expanding their services for the children coherently, to learn child-friendly ways of doing this, and in the process to start using their resources maximally. Only then, once they are getting their own house in order, will they be in a strong enough postion sustainably to draw others into collaborating in the school’s growth as a multi-service community hub.

Extra-mural space and time are not yet included in the outcomes-based curriculum nor standardised school day. It is an under-used and under-imagined space, most especially in poor schools. Extra-mural time is integral to both a balanced curriculum and community access and renewal. It provides rare opportunities to meet children’s, schools’ and communities’ growth needs, and useful clues how best to do this. As the standard timetable caters only for the in-class time of teachers, this ‘sector’ provides strategic space for intra- and inter-sectoral school, community and government collaboration and co-management. Without such systemic space, all development, management, and support work by schools for their learners, families and communities have to be squeezed into the existing logjam and are thus rarely coherent, almost always unsustainable.


Children have a wide range of needs beyond any one programme or activity. Any particular extra-mural is thus ‘only the tip’ of the proverbial iceberg. Each extra-mural can be seen, and designed, as a developmental opportunity to engage those wider needs more deeply so that key supports and experiences are integrated into each programme.

EMEP has identified three key areas that, when implemented effectively as part of the extra-mural programme, provide the child with holistic support and expanded opportunities. These are:

  1. an Experiential Internship to link the extra-mural to the world of work (WoW)
  2. a Social Practical to expose to and teach service
  3. Life Skills to build the child’s personal and citizenship development as well as to provide access to support services.