School's in for summer;Letter

14th August 1998 at 01:00
Across Scotland there have been many summer schools for young people, concentrating on different ages and for different purposes and usually staffed, at least in part, by teachers. Throughout the school year there are many after-school and "homework" clubs or classes, again with teacher involvement. The traditional boundaries between pupil contact and non-contact time, between work and time off, are clearly breaking down.

Parents will welcome this. Teachers will do so only if there is a planned pattern of provision which recognises extra effort and rewards it in whatever context it appears. The teacher who stays on to supervise an extra activity in school is giving of his or her time in just the way that one who turns out on a sports field does. In terms of time and commitment, running the chess club cannot be separated from extra tuition in chemistry.

Yet at the moment the provision of extra study opportunities (and of leisure activities) is patchy. Whether a family can benefit is a matter of chance, not choice. So parents cannot be happy with the present position. And nor can teachers.

The Government has shown willingness to back supported study and after-school provision. It makes the right noises about youth sport. In conjunction with local authorities, some attempt is now needed to bring together the various initiatives and establish ground rules about what is voluntary and what should be recompensed.

Graham Turner

Renfrew Road Paisley

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