A £167 million investment which would see school staff
work extended hours has been announced by the Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF).
The government hopes that encouraging schools to stay open later will ease pressure on parents who struggle to get out of work early.
Children's minister Dawn Primarolo said that the investment would help to put schools "at the heart of the community" by offering childcare and extra learning activities.
"In an economic downturn it is even more important for schools to be working with parents and carers to offer as much support as possible to helping them get into and stay in employment wherever possible," she added.
By 2010 the DCSF plan that all extended schools will provide childcare until 18:00 for primary-age children, activities including study support and access to special needs
support such as speech therapy.
Schools would also open-up the use of their facilities for adult learners in the local community.
The investment forms part of a £215 million extended schools subsidy.
Ofsted are to report on whether extended services in schools are offering benefits to teaching staff, pupils and parents during their inspections.