Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Parents cannot afford after-school clubs, says Labour

Youngsters at an after-school club playing a board game (Alamy/PA)
Youngsters at an after-school club playing a board game (Alamy/PA)

Shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson has said the cost-of-living crisis means parents cannot afford after-school clubs for their children.

Speaking at the NAHT school leaders’ annual conference in Telford, Ms Phillipson said that for too many families, after-school activities are no longer affordable.

“Too many parents can’t afford breakfast clubs, after-school clubs, extra activities,” she said.

“For too many parents the cost of those activities is more than they earn in that time, denying children the opportunities and activities that complement classroom teaching, that give children the chance to play with friends and enjoy their learning, and which build resilience and social skills, the building blocks of a happy childhood,” she added.

She said that early years childcare and education was “too often unaffordable, unavailable, inaccessible”.

“The Government is failing parents, failing providers and failing children,” she said, adding that it was “in those first few years that the attainment gap opens up for our children”.

“It’s also the first chance to step in and help in the lives of children who need that support.”

“A generation grew up with Sure Start, with Children’s Centres. A generation, like me, were supported after 16 with education maintenance allowance,” she said.

“I saw in my own community the difference those changes made. I see it in the lives of young people who grew up with that advantage, with the support it unlocked.”

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson (PA)

Labour analysis shows that the cost of a week of after-school clubs has risen faster than average weekly wages over the last five years.

In 2022, the average cost of a weekly after-school club was £66.75, a 17% rise from 2018 compared with a 15% rise in wages during the same period.

The lack of affordable childcare was driving the attainment gap, with some parents spending more on after-school clubs than on their weekly food shop, the party said.

Ms Phillipson said that Labour would reform the citizenship curriculum, which would “embed digital skills” in schools so that pupils could learn collaboration and problem-solving skills.

She added that during the pandemic there had been a “vacuum” of Government leadership and that it was a source of real “sadness” and “frustration” that the Government had made leaders’ lives more difficult through making them deal with a “chaotic patchwork of promises and guidance”.