A poll by Parentkind and Child Poverty Action Group sought to understand parents’ and carers’ views on extending the school day and in particular what approaches they would like to see implemented for their children during the pandemic recovery period.
The poll results show that while different families and children have varying needs, there is a strong appetite from parents for schools to provide a range of activities around the school day. However, importantly parents and carers indicated that these activities should be optional so families can make their own decisions about what would be beneficial to them and their children. To ensure lower income families who might benefit from this provision the most can attend, these activities must be made free to as many families as possible. The majority of families claiming benefits told us that any cost could result in their children being unable to attend.
The findings also show that investing in extra-curricular activities can give children in certain households access to new opportunities. Alongside this, some parents and carers reported that extending the school day would help them to work or work more. While some parents wanted their children to have access to more academic learning around the school day, it was clear that the majority of parents didn’t want learning to be the sole purpose of extending the school day.