Budget March 2016 - Extended School Hours
During George Osborne's budget statement (March 2016) , he spoke of plans to use the additional tax levy on sugar based soft drinks to go towards to the extension of hours in 25% of schools, in order to provide access to extra-curricular activities such as sport and art.
UK Youth agrees with the Chancellor that it is vital for young people to have access to enriching extra-curricular activities, however it must be recognised that the youth sector, despite significant funding challenges, continues to provide many of the activities that Mr Osborne refers to.
At UK Youth we run 'The Big Music Project' (supported by the Big Lottery Fund), engaging young people through music and music related activities, and we are just about to launch 'Active Youth' (supported by Sport England), to engage young people in sport and physical activity. There are additionally countless other provisions provided by local youth clubs and projects all around the country, such as Laburnum Boat Club, the Andrew Kent Music Academy and Dragon Hall Tech Club, to name just three.
While schools are clearly best placed to provide academic learning and a framework for attainment, it is the youth sector, led by trained and skilled youth professionals, that is best placed to provide the out-of-school activities that engage young people, develop invaluable life skills, support personal growth, and enhance character.
UK Youth would therefore encourage the Government to work with local and national youth services to further enhance and deliver on these priorities. Using these identified and additional funds in order to ensure that all young people, and not just 25%, have the opportunity to benefit from a wide range of non-formal learning opportunities, in an appropriate environment, accessible within their communities and beyond the school gates.