Please note that this guide was first developed in 2006 and revised in 2010 but that much of the information about what is happening inside schools may be subject to change as the Government reviews and revises its policies and plans.
What goes on in classrooms during official school hours is just a part of the learning opportunities on offer to pupils. There has been an intensified focus on out-of-hours learning in recent years. The previous government’s Extended Services programme provided funding for schools to provide wider services for pupils, families and the community.
The creativity encouraged through out-of-school-hours activities is an opportunity for hugely expanded informal learning as well as enjoyment. A recent evaluation found that Out-of-school-hours learning had many benefits for teachers and children:
- helped pupils make the transition from primary to secondary school
- motivated disaffected youths to become mentors
- brought professional role models into the school environment through adult mentoring schemes
- allowed parents and carers to become more involved in their children’s education
- provided community volunteers the opportunity to gain accredited skills
- allowed children to re-engage with learning, seeing it as fun
- gave teachers the opportunity to develop innovative teaching skills.
After School Clubs
An after school club is a place for children to go after the school day has finished, usually from around 3.30pm to 6pm.
- The club may be in a child’s school, another local school or different premises altogether.
- Primary clubs offer fun and relaxing activities, such as games, sports or craft activities, under the care of playworkers.
- Some schools, especially secondary schools, offer after school clubs run by teachers on a voluntary basis. These tend to be subject based and provide a chance for students to engage with something they’re interested in beyond the limits of the curriculum.
- Some schools offer homework clubs to assist children with their homework after school.
Local councils organise holiday play schemes for children.
What can museums do?
- The same type of activities, which you are developing for a formal schools audience, can be adapted for informal out-of school-hours learning.
- Contact your local schools and councils to find out about After School or Homework Clubs and discuss how your museum might be involved.
- After School Clubs provide an ideal opportunity for museums to work with schools either through visiting the club with museum collections or by providing a venue for the club to meet at the museum on a regular or occasional basis.
- Quite a few museums link up with local holiday playschemes. Contact your local council to find out about these.
- SLIME case study Museum of Reading (Word DOC, 130Kb). The Bug Club Project developed in conjunction with Bracknell Extended Services Team.