School's the Best Club in Town

Article excerpt

Byline: TONY HALPIN

AFTER-SCHOOL clubs are booming, with pupils staying on for up to three hours a week to enjoy sports, music and drama clubs and extra homework advice, according to a Government survey.

Two-thirds of children take part in after- school clubs and more than half of head teachers are planning to expand the opportunities available in September.

Just 3pc of schools offer no afterhours provision.

A typical primary pupil spends nearly two hours a week on pastimes outside normal school hours and a secondary pupil three hours a week, the study showed.

Education Secretary David Blunkett is investing more than [pounds sterling]200 million of National Lottery money to create a network of homework and learning clubs with the aim of rivalling the extracurricular opportunities available to children in fee-paying schools.

The survey of 204 schools found that 71 pc offered at least seven different activities, including PE, music, creative and dramatic arts, homework and computer clubs.

One in three pupils said sport was their favourite activity, though it was more popular among boys, at 42 pc, than girls, at 28 pc.

The latter were more interested in music, dance, drama and book clubs. The activities are popular with mums and dads, too, particularly in working families. …