Extra-curricular activities for children – such as sports, catch-up classes, drama or music – are too expensive for nearly two-thirds of parents, a new poll suggests.
62% of parents surveyed by Save the Children said they cannot afford after-school activities for their children, with the figure rising to 74% for parents living below the poverty line.
Of those who are paying for after-school clubs, half spend over £10 per child, per week – equivalent to £500 a year or £7,500 over a school lifetime. Over a fifth, meanwhile, fork out even more – over £20 per week, per child, on out-of-school activities.
Half of the parents in the survey said none of the activities their children attend are provided by schools – and the charity warned the situation may get worse if after-school services are hit by spending cuts.
The poll questioned 854 parents with at least one child aged between four and 18. It found the most popular kids’ activities are:
- Sport (48%).
- Drama and dance (19%).
- Music lessons (16%).
- Brownies / Scouts (18%).
But 29% of those questioned said their children do no extra activities out of school hours, rising to 39% among families earning less than £15,000 a year.
The charity cites research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation which suggests only 14% of achievement can be attributed to the school classroom.
Sally Copley, head of UK policy at Save the Children, says: ‘Children who do after-school activities have more confidence, see the world in different ways, have a stronger sense of identity – and this ultimately translates into doing better in exams and getting a better job.
‘We’re particularly concerned poorer children are missing out as a result.’