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Is it usual for schools not to tell parents about after school clubs?

(29 Posts)
magnetite Sat 16-Jul-16 13:39:56

My DC's primary keeps its list of extra-curricular clubs close to its chest, because they don't want parents to sign children up for clubs they don't want to do. So whenever there's a new club, they tell the kids and give them a letter to take home if they're interested.

I can understand the logic. But my DC would much rather come home and watch TV after school, so never puts his hand up for any of the letters. Because I don't know what clubs there are, I can't even encourage him, and of course he doesn't understand the first-come-first-served nature of school clubs, so even when he does belatedly decide he's interested in something, it's too late.

He does do some clubs outside of school, but after-school clubs would obviously be more convenient.

Is this the normal way of doing things in primaries? Our school is a bit behind the times and has no formal after-school care at all.

WorraLiberty Sat 16-Jul-16 13:43:27

I think it's fairly normal in my experience.

But have you checked the website?

Most will list their extra curricular clubs, especially to please OFSTED.

spanieleyes Sat 16-Jul-16 13:53:01

we do exactly the same,simply because if you send a general letter home, SOME parents will sign their reluctant offspring up to clubs they have no interest in because
a) it is more convenient for the parents
b) it is free
c) an older sibling wants to do a club and they don't want to turn out twice

and so we have children forced to do a club they don't want to do, spoiling the club for those that DO want to be there, taking a place from someone who is desperate to undertake an activity but can't because there isn't the space, those who only turn up every second week or so because they have something they would rather be doing!

LadyPenelope68 Sat 16-Jul-16 13:59:31

Totally agree with the system and we do exactly the same at our school. The costs would be huge to give out letter to every child, rather than those interested. Plus, as spaniel eyes has said, some parents see it as free childcare, sign their child up then those who really want to do it miss out, or school staff are stuck with a child who won't take full part because they don't want to be there.

mrz Sat 16-Jul-16 15:17:47

We send a letter to all parents unless it's a targeted club for specific classes

gumbrilla Sat 16-Jul-16 16:23:07

Not at our school. We got a letter, an email, and sign up lists pinned to the door at drop off. They do charge for them, not much I think, so this may be the difference. And limit attendance to 2 during the week. We went for Bike Safety and Tennis. I think it's new scheme so maybe they'll go secret on us in future!

TheWildRumpyPumpus Sat 16-Jul-16 16:35:13

Ours are advertised in the weekly email newsletter. All children also bring home flyers.

Can see why other schools do it the way you mention though.

irvineoneohone Sat 16-Jul-16 17:10:17

In my ds's school, ta normally puts letters in school bag in KS1, so it comes home.However, from KS2, it's child's responsibility, so they can decide not to bring it home. But all the info will be on school website as well, so we can check if we want to.

branofthemist Sat 16-Jul-16 17:16:18

Our schools sends letters home with the kids who are interested.

Or the parents can call or pop into reception at pick up or drop off time and ra quite themselves.

Dd had several clubs at primary, that she stopped going to because the kids who didn't want to be there were ruining it. A lot of parents see it as free child care or seem convinced their kids should be interested in something they aren't.

Arkwright Sat 16-Jul-16 18:00:28

Ours sends a timetable out termly. We have queue up and sign them up in the hall. Each activity has a separate queue so not easy if you have more than one child or you want more than one activity.

AChickenCalledKorma Sat 16-Jul-16 18:05:40

We get a list of all clubs by email at the beginning of term, with a SurveyMonkey form to indicate which ones our child would like to do. They are positively encouraged to sign up for something and there is a limit of two clubs per child (because historically some kids were doing something every day and others didn't do anything). The selection process is highly secretive and sometimes controversial ....... but overall, it works pretty well.

TeenAndTween Sat 16-Jul-16 19:46:57

The sending letters home only to those who say they are interested, doesn't account for children who are shy/reluctant/unsure of 'new' things who may need encouragement to give something a go and then find they enjoy it.

A bit like asking people to audition for school plays in primary may mean shyer kids who would do well if encouraged miss out too.

(but I can see why schools do both of the above).

MangoIsTheNewApple Sat 16-Jul-16 19:53:59

We get a sheet home at the beginning of term with all possible clubs on it, including the year groups which are eligible for that particular club. You tick all, some or none of the appropriate boxes and then a few days later you find out if you've got a place. Once you've got a place, you sign the form and pay the fee. It works well, though I suspect there's some jiggery pokery behind the scenes for over-subscribed clubs as it's never made entirely clear how the decision is made (apart from 'we try and give every child a chance to experience a club they want to try for at least a term').

paxillin Sat 16-Jul-16 19:57:55

You could try and ban tv until after the end of the clubs so he realises tv is no alternative to clubs? Maybe he will be more interested then.

ButtonLoon Sat 16-Jul-16 19:59:20

We get given a list of all the clubs with their times, days, and age restrictions. Some clubs run during lunch and others after school. The school does not handle any of the sign ups for clubs which are outside school hours - you have to contact the club yourself.

SharonfromEON Sat 16-Jul-16 20:03:50

Our school used to do this changed after communication questionnaire...we now get a text but still only kids interested bring home letters but children can get additional letters from office..

BackforGood Sat 16-Jul-16 20:06:00

When my dc were in Juniors, they asked dc who were interested to come and collect a letter from X at break, yes.

a) this means they only have to print out about 40, rather than one for each of the 360 dc in the school
and, as others have said
b) it tends to mean the dc who are interested / keen / likely to commit / likely to turn up each week and want to be there, are the ones who get places.

However, a lot of dc are just ready to chill out for a bit after being at school for 6 and 1/2 hours. Maybe that's just how your dc feels at the moment ?

BlackAmericanoNoSugar Sat 16-Jul-16 20:07:40

The after-school activities at the DC's school are run by outside people (although I think a teacher does knitting club) and administered by the PTA. We get a list at the beginning of term and the sign up is the second week of term. You have to go and queue to sign up and the fees are generally about €80 a term depending on the activity. There are two parent supervisors for each activity so parents have to do at least one and often two supervisions per term, which cuts down on the number of parents signing their child up as a form of childcare.

Ilovewillow Sat 16-Jul-16 20:07:52

Our after school clubs come out in a letter once a term - there are lots to choose from! Our school are very pro-active in this area and proud of the selection on offer.

ShelaghTurner Sat 16-Jul-16 20:08:55

Going to out myself here... A few weeks before the end of term we get the timetable for the following terms clubs. On the Monday morning the forms are collected from 8.15 in the playground. This means some parents get there about 7.30! Then two weeks later you get the letter saying which clubs you were successful with. The system is utterly ridiculous and desperately needs an overhaul. If you can't get there for stupid o'clock your kid has got no chance of the popular clubs.

ParadiseCity Sat 16-Jul-16 20:11:14

I can see why the school does that but it doesn't help your situation.

Our school clubs are all run by outside staff and you pay for them. So they tend to come in and do a sales assembly then ALL the kids want to do it (for £££) and take a letter. So parents have a different problem!!

I'd see what club his friends do, contact school and explain and ask them to add/squeeze him in if at all possible - maybe you'd have to end up volunteering though for staffing...

nonicknameseemsavailable Sun 17-Jul-16 06:41:48

we don't get told and neither do the children - I think we are supposed to just "know". generally clubs are filled with children who know children who did it already unless another parent kindly shares the info

DragonsEggsAreAllMine Sun 17-Jul-16 12:16:15

I think it's very common this way, children who want to go take a letter home. Stops parents sending them to everything as its free and convenient for them whilst the child is miserable and another one misses out.

redskytonight Sun 17-Jul-16 17:49:51

Our school does it the same way as yours. Though it often does send a letter home if the club is undersubscribed. They have problems with parents using them as cheap childcare.

paxillin Sun 17-Jul-16 18:37:55

I never considered the free childcare seekers. Explains why any free club, however obscure is 20x oversubscribed. One of the previously free ones went on to charge £3 per session, still not even half the price of after school club and the waiting list went poof. It was still free or FSM pupils.

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