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The cost of extra-curricular activities

(20 Posts)
EmmalinaC Fri 09-Sep-11 19:54:16

DD1 has just started Year 1 and every day brings home another letter about an after-school/lunchtime club or activity which she can join for a fee.

These include Dance, Gymnastics, 'Multi-Sports', Music Lessons (Violin, Piano Cello), Tennis, 'Social Dance', French, Yoga, Drama and Golf. Fees range from £20 - £90 for one term.

Some are taught by peripatetic teachers, others by school staff.

There are four clubs offered free of charge which include chicken care (!), choir, creative club and cookery. This is slightly baffling as I would've thought chicken care, cookery and creative club require materials while Social Dance and Yoga (both taught by teachers, do not).

There is a School Fund for families who can't afford to participate but the school stipulates that this is only for families receiving benefits.

It's suburban, state, infant school and most families have one or two working parents so wouldn't qualify for assistance but the majority are low-middle income - the parents of DD's friends include several nurses, a hairdresser, tree surgeon, milkman, policeman, childminder etc. This is not a wealthy area.

I understand the argument that the school is providing and co-ordinating activities that parents would otherwise pay for elsewhere but am surprised that 'professional' providers are needed to teach 'sports', drama, football etc to 5 year-olds! I know the activities are optional but offering them through the school seems only to highlight whose parents are willing/able to pay for them.

Presumably this is going on in state schools all over the country but am I being unreasonable to be suprised and slightly annoyed by this?

nancy75 Fri 09-Sep-11 19:57:35

certain sports and music lessons would certainly need a qualified teacher,as would language and dance. the school will be paying these people to come in so they have to cover their costs.

cantspel Fri 09-Sep-11 19:58:33

If they dont bring in professional' providers then who do you think should run these courses?

troisgarcons Fri 09-Sep-11 20:02:06

You are never going to enrol your child in every class are you? So most of the clubs are of no interest. When bringing in outsiders such as Grass Roots Soccer etc then these people are paid persons, not a charity.

I was informed by the Head that sports clubs would be 'free' if more (male) parents were available at 3pm to coach the majority of sports. They aren't so specialist clubs are brought in.

Factor in that staff running clubs are providing time on a 'good will' basis and are not paid for it.

BendyBob Fri 09-Sep-11 20:02:11

You don't have to do them though and if they are after school it's not obvious who is doing them.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Fri 09-Sep-11 20:13:18

I must admit that I get annoyed with all the bumpf advertising crap that get puts into DS' bag! Today we had an advert for a trip to "Lapland" at the cost of about £70 per ticket or something along those lines.

Annoys me.

But I do appreciate that some extra-murals will have to be paid for. That's acceptable in my eyes even if not affordable fo us. But those unnecessary advertising pamphlets really fuck me off a lot.

Op you are partly U and partly NU! smile

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Fri 09-Sep-11 20:15:08

PS - it was not the '"real" Lapland - somewhere in England but still out of range for us.

PossetFeatures Fri 09-Sep-11 20:18:06

'Chicken care' sounds ace! Surely encourage her to do that, especially if it's free! grin

Sandalwood Fri 09-Sep-11 20:18:29

They're offering choices, that's all.

InWithTheITCrowd Fri 09-Sep-11 20:24:54

Extended services was brought about to fulfil the previous government's "every child matters" agenda, ensuring that there was opportunity for every child to access a cultural, healthy, fun educational and enjoyable varied menu of activities. The coalition have rebranded it and moved the goalposts, but it is embedded in the new teaching white paper, and the concept remains. Research has been done to suggest that children who engage in these activities, achieve more in curriculum time. It's fantastic that your school can offer so many options. It feels as though they can't do right for doing wrong... you don't have to attend all - or any - of these clubs, but your dd's school are offering you the choice, and assisting those who might otherwise not engage at all.
And as for getting in professionals to run the clubs- who else would you suggest?

imogengladheart Fri 09-Sep-11 20:27:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EmmalinaC Fri 09-Sep-11 20:27:18

Tried that Posset... she says she hates chickens, unless they're roasted and served with gravy.

And I'm a bit surprised that some clubs offered by teaching staff are free but for others there is a charge confused

Do ALL schools offer this kind of 'choice,' then? Even inner-city schools where parents really can't afford them?

Just wasn't expecting it, that's all.

InWithTheITCrowd Fri 09-Sep-11 20:31:13

Not all schools offer the same things, no- depends on cost and uptake and parental engagement. But they should be working really hard to try to...

nancy75 Fri 09-Sep-11 20:32:25

the ones that are free are probably during the school day, if they are after school even teachers will want to be paid.
I don't actually think people realise how much these things cost to run.

elegangle Fri 09-Sep-11 20:36:09

Personally we love these after school activity things as they are cheaper than childcare. We need about 1.25 hours after school childcare 3 days a week for our 2 children which costs about 20 pounds (sorry, no pound button on my keyboard!) a day. These clubs bring the cost down to about 8 pounds...perfect!
My sister is a teacher and as the only one in her school (in a low income area) with even the slightest interest in sport she was expected to do 2 clubs every week. After 3 years of this she was exhausted, hence the reason she demanded that they bought the professionals in as she was ready to quit. Parents weren't best pleased that they now had to pay for football but realised that it was better than losing an excellent teacher.

troisgarcons Fri 09-Sep-11 20:36:14

Some schools are really proactive and have absolutley brilliant finance managers who source funding from quite obscure sources. Other school don't seem to bee bothered that much.

it's one of the 'grievances' I have where I work. Like most schools were are part of the SST - but no-one ever looks at the websites and picks up knocked down, funded school trips. My sons school actively participates and the things he gets at a much reduced rate is utterly amazing.

InWithTheITCrowd Fri 09-Sep-11 20:37:50

And each school has a fund called "the pupil premium" which is so much £ per free school meals student. That fund is specifically to fund additional activities for families who may not otherwise be able to afford to engage

LineRunner Fri 09-Sep-11 20:43:15

OP, I do get where you're coming from. My kids' extra-curricular activities (sports- and music-based) have been and are very difficult to afford, especially x2 @£30 per term per activity. But you pay for the professional staff.

Voidka Fri 09-Sep-11 20:43:19

I pay £6 a week for trumpet lessons (in school).
£5 for keyboard
£2 for environment club
£2 for ICT club
£1 for creative club

Thats all for 1 DC.

ballstoit Fri 09-Sep-11 20:44:54

At DC school there are a range of free after school clubs - each teacher (other than NQTs) is expected to do one a week. Kids choose at the beginning of term and can do 1 each. They range from gardening, to board games, to art, to dance. I know we are very lucky...at DSis's DC school they also bring home letter after letter about expensive clubs.

Having said that, parents are encouraged to volunteer to help at a club if they can, so I guess that keeps the cost down.

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