Schools stay open just for fun

27th July 2007 at 01:00
Staff volunteer to run holiday activities from circus skills to making rockets

as alice Cooper once sang, "School's out for summer". Or is it?

The next six weeks across England will be anything but quiet for many schools which are laying on diverse programmes of activities with the accent very much on fun.

Many clubs have had to be cancelled because of flooding, but other schools are throwing open their doors. Although term finished for many last week, by Monday some schools were already open for holiday activities.

The Government wants all schools by 2010 to offer activities during holidays and throughout the year under the extended schools programme: 5,748 have this status.

In most cases, schools have invited community groups in to lead the sessions, but many teachers have given up their free time voluntarily.

Fiona Sexton, a teacher at Flegg high in Martham, Norfolk, has invited a group of Year 7 and 8 pupils in for a week to explore fun approaches to science. Among the challenges are a contest to design a paper aeroplane that flies furthest and rocket building from lemonade bottles and compressed air.

Ms Sexton said: "Science is not just about sitting and reading out of a textbook or writing notes."

Elsewhere in Norfolk, the coming weeks will feature a circus skills workshop in a big top, an enterprise summer challenge and a stage show.

And 18 London boroughs are taking part in the Summer Uni programme, in which mainly free courses are on offer to 8- to 25-year-olds. Many of them are taking place at schools. They include 1,000 classes ranging from practical courses in music technology, textiles and nail design to drama.

In Hammersmith and Fulham, west London, this week a separate programme saw gifted and talented 10- to 13-year-olds taking part in performing arts. It was centred around The Paradise Garden, a short story by Colin Thompson.

In Brent, north-west London, 32 schools are offering extended school provision.

In Sheffield, children in Years 2 to 5 are taking part in a healthy living programme. They are helping to cook their own lunches and do gardening around the school.

In Portsmouth, street dance, junior yoga and multi-sports events give a flavour of the programme for 14- to 16-year-olds.

Primary and secondary schools at Warrington in Cheshire have been staging an impressive array of activities including wrestling, motorcycle rides, circus skills, breakdancing and "urban T-shirt" design.

And elsewhere in Cheshire, children in the Wirral should have no reason to be bored. Many events on offer, including a football camp organised by Premiership football club Everton, are taking place off school grounds.

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