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?