Concerns over hours of extended schools

Fears that schools could become “boarding schools without beds”
have been raised, following government plans to open them for
10-hours a day.

Speaking at a conference in London last week, education secretary
Charles Clarke said the policy would provide more flexibility for
working parents. Under the proposals, schools will provide
“wrap-around” child care from 8am to 6pm, 48 weeks of the year,
with breakfast clubs and after-school activities.

But delegates voiced concerns that children could end up spending
too much time at school.

It is envisaged that 1,000 primary schools will offer the service
by 2008, providing 50,000 places. Secondary schools will run
similar services in time.

Research released by charity 4Children, which organised the
conference, reveals that almost half of primary schools believe
they will be extended within two years.

But worries about the lack of suitable buildings, staffing and
money to run the extra activities persist.

Despite comments from Clarke that teachers were enthusiastic about
plans for extended schools, one teacher said the education
secretary’s vision sent a “shiver down the back of most teaching

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