Thursday, September 21, 2006

After School Clubs

The Government wants all schools to offer activities between 8 am and 6pm by 2010. (Presumably they assume they will still be in power then)

The main objections seem to be:

1) Children spending too much time at school/ missing out on home life.

2) Who is going to do the supervising and plan the activities? How much will they be paid? Will teachers be bullied into doing them?

3) Where's the money?

My opinion on these points is as follows:

1) This argument assumes that all kids have an idyllic after school life of climbing trees, building dens in the woods or reading and making things out of meccano.

Unfortunately, the after school reality for many kids involves climbing through other people's windows and building drugs dens in the woods; reading their Asbos and making decommissioned pistols fire again. It would be a very good idea to provide something exciting and legal for them to do after school. It will all hinge on what's offered, which brings us to the second point.

2) Teachers will want to be paid at their normal rate for doing these clubs and quite right too. Qualified instructors for interesting activities are also expensive, so what's left? Cover supervisors? Teaching Assistants? If we can't offer the kids something exciting then they won't come. Anyone who lets themselves be bullied into helping out needs to join us vertebrates.

3) Let's do some rough sums. 8 am till 6pm is roughly 3 and a half hours extra per day. Cost of employing someone is at least 50% above their pay, so lets say £15 per hour which makes about £50 per day for each person. 15 million kids need at least 500 000 staff so that gives us a wage bill of £25 million per day for 200 shool days per year = 5 billion quid.

The Government has budgeted £600 million between now an 2010 with no details of what happens after that. Oh dear... The kids will have to pay then, (and quite a bit too) which will be ok for some but will definitely stop those who would benefit most from going (their parents would rather invest the money in strong lager)

So to sum up- great idea; where's the details of how it works?

Hang on haven't we been here before?


Jerry (PE) said...

Couldn't have put it better. I'm qualified to teach Tai Kwon Do and would be quite happy to do it after school but only if I'm paid and insured. Otherwise I'll just go and mark my books, fill in loads of silly forms and instruct at the local gym once a week.

Anonymous said...

Arrrgh! Definitely. Comes from the same root as "finite".

Muso said...

As a Music teacher I would find this actually rather annoying. After all, I already do lots after school - with almost no competition. We get rid of all the scumbags at 3.30 or whenever they've had enough so the nice kids can get their instruments out (if they've not been sold in Cash Converters) and play. They'd probably go and be in something much more fun, and if all kids had to be in it, SMT, sorry SLT would dump a load of "well, he does have drum lessons" in the orchestra. I'd rather do three drama covers, to be honest.

Anonymous said...

You only work 6.5 hours a day?
200 days a year?

Let's do some sums. 6.5 hours per day at £15 per hour = £97.50 per day x 200 days.

I do hope you are not paid more than £19,500 a year.

angie said...

Why doesn't the government put some money into supporting mums (primarily) who want to stay at home. Through transferrable tax allowances, enhanced child allowance etc etc. Then a few people could actually look after their own kids after school. Because one thing's for sure - the State will screw it up if it tries to do it (anyone read the recent report about children in care? Sorry, 'looked-after children').

Tom Welsh said...

"15 million kids need at least 500 000 staff so that gives us a wage bill of £25 million per day for 200 school days per year = 5 billion quid."

OK, so all they need to do is stop the VAT blaggers stealing £8 billion each year, and they have the money with a little left over for a Treasury outing. (Or, in the real world, they could hit up each taxpayer for an extra £200 a year through an exciting blend of mystery stealth taxes).

justacop said...

I really think the government should concentrate on running the country. They should stop trying to control and micromanage every aspect of everyday life because they really are out of their depth in just about every issue they talk about.

Mary said...

Best after-school "club" we had (I took my GCSEs in 1998) was that a bunch of teachers volunteered, yes, that's right, volunteered to take turns to supervise the computer room till 5pm each school day.

It meant those of us who didn't come from nice have-it-all homes but still wanted to succeed could hand in nicely presented coursework, and I for one am sure it helped my grades.

Had it been compulsory though, we'd have been overrun with kids and teachers who didn't really want to be there and it wouldn't have helped anyone.

Anonymous said...

The illegal war in Iraq has cost us UK taxpayers 8 billion quid [last time I looked - ages ago], which amply demonstrates that if the Government wants to fund something, it will.

Funny, though, how money is always so tight for public services over here. Makes you wonder where the Government's priorities really lie.

Anonymous said...

It's worse than this.

You say (correctly, it doesn't even nearly add up !) that kids (i.e. parents) will have to pay.

The problem is that the number of children present is not predictable and staffing can't be produced and activities planned on the fly (especially in the evening, morning is less of a problem I think), so all provision will have to be set up to deal with the maximum estimated number of pupils that they might have - or pupils will have to be turned away because of insufficient staff.

I think the cost of this is roughly 60-70% of the current budget, additionally.

There's things like the cost of food as well. Who is responsible for discipline, who is overall in charge, what happens if school stuff is nicked or damaged during non-school time.

It is archetypal New Labour ; a stupid populist ill thought out headline, which will either never happen or crash and burn spectacularly.

Anonymous said...

Let's do the calculation the other way. Let's be hugely generous to the government with every single number.

Assume the money is for 2 years, that 300 million a year. There are about 200 school days in a year, so that is 1.5 million pounds a day.

Assume only 1 million pupils take the offer up, that means every pupil 'gets' £ 1.50 a day. The period is about 4 hours, so that means each pupil gets about 40p an hour. Current rules say the minimum staff level is 1:8, which means you are paid £3.20 / hour, less than the minimum wage.

Anonymous said...

This is quite controversial - and at the moment only one side of the issue is being examined.

Let's look at the other: Tony Bliar wants parents to return to work. What is going to happen to their kids?

Our after school club works a treat: they pay parents to run it. As a teacher myself, not only do I not want to be involved, but I also don't want some other miserable bugger to be coerced into spending an extra two hours with my kids in a "fun club."

And parents cost a lot less than the hourly rate for teachers anyway.

Mary said...

Yeah, that one gets me too.

Both go to work full time!
(Earn enough so you're out of the tax incentives bracket while still scraping for a mortgage!)
Both supervise your children at all times!

What do you mean, you're having trouble with the logistics of doing both and running a household? Bugger off and do some local shopping to cook meals from scratch as well, damn you. And don't forget to wash and recycle the packaging, and compost the leftovers, and then do some exercise...

GateGipsy said...

There are schools doing this already. The one that I know of, in that I know children who go there, has it arranged so that those who get their school dinners paid for, don't have to pay the fee for the breakfast club and the after school club. This is a primary school by the way, not a secondary school. They've had a great success with it, and have seen an improvement in pupil behaviour. Presumably because those kids going to the breakfast club are actually now eating breakfast. Anectodal evidence suggests a drop in petty vandalism ie my neighbour's car hasn't been keyed in weeks. If this is the result, then it sounds like a good thing to me. To the person who was worried about pupils being forced to be there - they're not. But it isn't a homework club either. The kids have to do their home work - snack, homework, then when they're finished there's a load of stuff for them to do. Playstation, videos, TV for the sedantary on tables put out at one end of the hall. In the main bit, the teacher runs them around playing youth group sorts of games, which they all seem to absolutely love. Older volunteers from the secondary school run about with them too, and again they seem to love this. I've been to visit once. All I saw was 30 kids enjoying themselves. The audio/video kit came from fundraising, donations, and the budget they get from the school/government. The rest of it doesn't cost much. And the people who come and give guitar, drum, dance, gymnastic lessons are volunteers in this case. The woman who runs it is lovely, and puts a lot into it. I guess that makes a big difference.

The Remittance Man said...

One quibble:

A lot of the 50% "additional cost of employment" is typically fixed and thus shouldn't be used in calculating marginal costs. Although I have no idea what the breakdown of teachers' pay really is, I'd suggest using a lower figure of perhaps 10% of the hourly rate.

However, you also forget that since this is "after hours work" overtime rates should apply. What is the standard overtime rate for teachers? Time and a half or double bubble? Even time and a half would then give an overall cost of 165% of your hourly rate.

Good attempt, but must try harder :-)

Sorry, it's been 20-odd years since I last exited the gates of St Wiberforce's but I've been itching to say it to a teacher ever since.

The Remittance Man said...

Oh and Anon 22:00,

It isn't a case of whether the regime is willing to fund anything it wants to do or not. Sadly, it is all too happy to spend your money on its latest bright idea.

The problem is that in order to get people to agree, they deliberately understate the cost. Once the real costs become apparent, the system is in place and the argument moves on to the costs and difficulties of dismantling it.

End result? The poor bloody taxpayer ends up getting shafted for yet another dimwitted idea that is bound to fail.

S Joynson said...

I made exactly the same point in an article I wrote for the TES that unfortunatley they did not publish.

for nearly 30 years before coming into teaching I was (and still am) a Scout Leader. I have run summat like 100 odd trips and camps and would love to use that experience in school.

If only! First you have to fill in FIVE a4 sheets of paper before you can even take them down the library. Then, you have to have 'qualifications' for everything even for the things there are no qualifications for.

who's going to do the 'risk assessments' for all these clubs?

Waste of time completely, just let them do what they most enjoy outside of school, do drugs have illicit sex and hang about on street corners.