Call for youth work to support extended school day plans

By Adam Offord

| 18 March 2016

Government should enlist youth organisations to provide services in schools as part of plans announced in this week's Budget to allow schools to stay open longer to provide a wider range of activities for pupils, it has been claimed. 

UK Youth chief Anna Smee has called on government to involve youth services in its plans for extended school days. Picture: Kiti Swannell

Chancellor George Osborne announced on Wednesday that 25 per cent of secondary schools will be able to opt in to a longer school day from September 2017 so that they can offer a wider range of activities for pupils.

Anna Smee, chief executive of UK Youth, said the youth sector is best placed to provide the additional activities. 

“While schools are best placed to provide academic learning, it is the youth sector, led by skilled youth professionals, that is best placed to provide the extra-curricular activities that can give young people invaluable life skills, support personal development and boost academic performance," she said.

“UK Youth would therefore encourage the government to work with local and national youth services to ensure all young people are able to access these opportunities within their communities and beyond the school gate.”

Youth social action coalition group Generation Change said plans to offer a wider range of activities was a "positive step" by the government.

“But given that schools are under so much pressure to achieve academic performance, the next step will be for government to put in place a way for head teachers to be able to partner with organisations that specialise in delivering excellent extra-curricular programmes,” co-chair of the organisation Sophie Livingstone said.

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