Cautious backing for an extra school hour


- Credit: Archant

Headteachers in North Somerset have reacted with cautious optimism to the Government’s plan to add an extra hour to the school day for extra-curricular activities.

Chancellor George Osborne announced in the Budget that money would be provided for schools to provide compulsory activities for pupils at the end of the day.

Many schools in the district already offer after-hours clubs and hope the money would allow them to provide more activities for pupils.

But while they have largely welcomed the news, they remain cautious over what money they will receive with the Chancellor initially promising cash for just one quarter of schools.

Gary Lewis, headteacher of Gordano School in Portishead, said until the detail has been released, it is too early to say how big an impact the cash would have.

He told the Times: “We put a high emphasis on extra-curricular activities and there’s things happening every single day.

“In principle the idea seems good, but at the moment I’m going to be very interested to see how the Government prioritises funding.

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“But we are doing a lot here and would welcome any money which would allow us to do more as extra-curricular activities are really important in developing young people but I’m concerned that its 25 per cent of schools which will get it.”

Backwell School headteacher Julian Baldwin said: “For many of our students, the desk does go beyond the end of normal lessons. We have lots of enrichment activities and extra classes after school.

“At Backwell it’s already happening and sometimes it’s extra lessons because students want extra support and help and other times it’s additional subjects that don’t fit into the national curriculum like music, dance and creative writing at A-level.

“A huge range of subjects are already going on after the official 3.30pm end of the day as well as the traditional sports and music activities we do.

“We provide later transport home to pupils that attend them because many students come by coach so the school runs extra transport at 5pm. We call it the extended school day.”