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Secondary school students 'missing out on extracurricular activities'

13/10/2017 Joanna

Not enough secondary school students are taking part in the kinds of extracurricular activity that could help them to gain essential life skills.

This is according to a new report from the Sutton Trust, which has suggested that the uptake of extracurricular activities such as debating and volunteering in secondary schools is much lower than it should be.

A survey of secondary school teachers showed that 78 per cent said their school offers volunteering programmes to build their pupils' life skills, but just eight per cent of pupils aged 11 to 16 in England and Wales say they actually take part in these sorts of activities.

Meanwhile, 45 per cent of secondary teachers said their school provided debating events, but only two per cent of pupils said they participate. Moreover, 37 per cent of children said they don't take part in any extracurricular activities run by their school.

Of concern is the fact that only 46 per cent of students from disadvantaged backgrounds get involved in these activities, compared to 66 per cent of their better-off peers. This is despite widespread acceptance among teachers and students that life skills are vitally important and can play a key role in helping young people to get jobs in future.

Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust and the Education Endowment Foundation, said: "A staggering 90 per cent of employers, teachers and young people say that essential life skills are as or more important than academic qualifications - by essential life skills, we mean confidence, articulacy, social skills and teamwork.

"These skills are crucial and everyone should have the opportunity to develop them. Independent schools by and large do an excellent job; it is vital that state schools embed the development of these skills in their ethos, curriculum and extracurricular activities."

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