Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

10p That's How Much Ruth Kelly Will Be Stumping Up for Every North-East Child's 10-Hour Day at School

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

10p That's How Much Ruth Kelly Will Be Stumping Up for Every North-East Child's 10-Hour Day at School

Article excerpt

Byline: By Zoe Hughes And Graeme Whitfield

The Government's childcare revolution was cast into doubt last night after it emerged that the Government will spend less than 10p a day on each child to pay for its extended school services plan.

Education Secretary Ruth Kelly yesterday pledged pounds 28m to schools in the region to extend opening hours from 8am to 6pm.

She said the plans would be a "lifeline" for working parents and would see children offered breakfast clubs and after-school activities such as music tuition, dance, drama and arts classes. But her grand vision was called into question by teaching unions after it emerged that the average school would get only pounds 8,333 a year for the three-year project ( or 9.3p per child per day.

Last night John Heslop, regional officer for the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "You're not going to get a lot out of pounds 8,300. You won't even be able to pay for one nursery nurse. The people staffing this will end up being volunteers.

"Children have to be supervised, so how is that going to be paid for?

"This really needs to be thought through very carefully."

Ms Kelly launched the prospectus claiming the plan was "plain common sense".

"This gives parents a great deal of peace

of mind, knowing that the child is in a safe and secure environment.

"It's what works for families and what works for children. It is about individual pupils and what works for them."

John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association and former head at Durham Johnston School, said: "To implement extended schools effectively will cost many millions of pounds and the Government must make sure there are adequate resources to do so. This initiative, more than any other, carries enormous risks of increasing workload for school leaders and drawing them away from their core responsibility of teaching and learning. …

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