Under the new proposals, announced in his latest Budget, George Osborne will provide funding to some schools to provide more extra-curricular activities. The scheme will be voluntary for schools, he said. But activities will be compulsory for pupils.
While Yarm School, as a private school, will not be eligible for extra funding, Mr Dunn said the new initiative should provide wide benefits to students and the wider economy.
Mr Dunn said: “The importance of extra-curricular activities cannot be underestimated so any financial encouragement to help schools to provide these for students has to be welcomed.”
Yarm School already provides a vast range of extra-curricular activities, run by teachers, including drama, music, sports, chess and outdoor education.
Mr Dunn added: “We’re very fortunate to be able to provide all of these activities for our pupils. Most are run by teachers who say that interacting with pupils outside of school hours allows them to hone individual students’ talents, along with improving their academic work in the classroom as a result of enhanced relationships and increased confidence. It would be great if the Government’s new initiatives gave schools who aren’t currently able to provide such activities the opportunity to do so.
“Of course, it’s vital to provide a great academic education, but it’s also imperative to provide students with so much more. The ethos should be about creating holistic students, who are well-rounded, and able to thrive not just in school, but when the time comes to enter further education and the world of work.
“Encouraging students to take part in extra-curricular activities such as music, the arts, sport and outdoor education provides them not just with enjoyment, but with other skills, abilities and characteristics such as positivity, ambition, confidence and team-working abilities which will stand them in good stead as their embark on their adult lives.
“Not only that, but the knock-on benefits for the economy are manifold. Clearly, the priority of extra-curricular activities is not to provide childcare, but a longer school day does give parents the opportunity to work later without worrying about school pick-up. Moreover, with employers regularly citing a lack of employability among school leavers as one of their main issues, focusing on extra-curricular activities provides another way to imbue students with the skills and attitude needed for life in business.”