Many people enrol their child or children in an after-school club and, for working parents, they are a lifeline. As well as extending the school day for working parents, after-school clubs can also be a fantastic way for children to widen their knowledge, make new friends and learn some great new skills.
What is an After-School Club?
After-school clubs are Ofsted-regulated clubs attached to a specific school that are partly subsidised by government funding. They offer children supervised, structured activities directly after school, usually until 5:30-6pm. Some offer specialised activities, whether they be ‘homework club’, dance, or football, whilst others are simply a space for children to wind down and have fun before their parents finish work.
Many working parents, especially those who are happy with their child’s primary school, take advantage of everything an after-school club has to offer. These include:
- Cost – School-led after-school clubs tend to cost a lot less than other forms of childcare
- Ofsted-Regulated – This means parents have peace of mind that their child is in a safe and protected environment
- Location – After-school clubs tend to be located on school premises. This means that parents don’t need to worry about their child walking into town or crossing busy roads
- Child Wellbeing – An after-school club can provide children with a sense of security in their school environment. By taking on a new hobby, they will develop a greater sense of independence and fulfilment
- Academia – In some cases, a child’s after-school club may offer supervised help with homework. This means that it is all done when your child returns home, helping parents spend quality time with their child in the evenings without the homework battle.
Whilst after-school clubs can introduce your children into great new hobbies and help you to balance your work and home life, there may be a few drawbacks.
- Term-Times – Most after-school clubs are only open during term-time, meaning that alternative childcare will need to be found during half-term breaks, Easter holidays and summer
- Cost – Although cheaper than it used to be, the cost of after-school clubs has risen since previous years
- Activities – Some activities on offer are more ‘fun’ than educational, causing some parents to feel that their children are just being baby-sat rather than being offered a stimulating environment
- Tiring – An after-school club can be tiring for children due to the fact that it extends the existing school day by a few hours
To find out more about after-school clubs, visit your child’s school website for more advice and to see what is on offer.