The Rising Cost of Extra-curricular Activities
Children taking part in extra-curricular activities and school trips is a common thing but for many parents, the cost of these soon add up, especially if they are paying for more than one child to attend.
Kids love to do more and, for families juggling childcare, before and after-school clubs are a necessity.
However, the rising costs of extra-curricular activities are leaving many parents struggling to foot the bill.
Should there be more help available?
What Activities are on offer?
A lot of schools are offering clubs and trips to cover the whole working day from 8am to 6pm and beyond.
They are beneficial to parents and children alike:
- Breakfast Club – is great for busy parents rushing to get to work and really beneficial for the children too. Breakfast Clubs mean pupils have eaten well and can catch up with friends before class leading to better concentration throughout the day.
- After-School Clubs – for sports, drama and educational boosters. After-school clubs have many developmental and social benefits and support a child’s education whilst helping to provide wraparound care for parents.
- Educational Visits – to the theatre, museum or a centre for wildlife. School trips are a fun part of learning and no child should have to miss out of these experiences.
Problems that Parents face
There are however issues with all of these extra-curricular activities.
Despite the benefits, children can be left out and some parents may struggle to afford them:
- Costs – These vary massively between schools, some offering free clubs, some asking for a nominal donation and other schools charging a lot per hour for a child to attend. A family with several children at school may end up paying out a huge percentage of their income.
- Excluding Children – Clubs are popular and some children who can’t attend may feel left out if all of their friends go along. Young carers who have to rush home after school, or those with parents who can’t afford these extra costs are missing out on valuable experiences.
- Pressure – Playground politics mean children want to do these extra-curricular things and parents are feeling that pressure. Many are struggling to afford them but feel the pressure to do the best for their child, such as paying for one-off trips abroad.
Solutions for Families
A lot of schools have a fund available for families who cannot afford school trips but many do not, and accessing those funds can cause embarrassment as there is a stigma attached to asking for such help.
- Some schools are aware of the rising costs and the struggle parents’ face and are tackling it head on by asking for a voluntary donation towards school trips and activities. This avoids the need for a face-to-face explanation that funds are lacking at home and the child still gets to attend that trip.
- Many schools fundraise, having Christmas and Summer Fairs, Bingo nights and raffles to raise money to subsidise events. Should this money come from the government as a fair way to support all schools?
- Other help is available too, if the child attends after-school clubs and they are approved or registered with Ofsted then you may be entitled to help with costs.
More needs to be done to make sure schools across the board are helping students feel included and their parents to feel supported too. Offering children wonderful experiences while ensuring families aren’t struggling with the cost is about getting the balance right so that school children are treated equally and none are negatively affected by their personal circumstances.
Tags: activities, extra curricular activities, school clubs, school trips
This post was written by Anna Taylor