How To Run A Club
Running an after school club
Child nurturing comes in many shapes and forms, the school having the most prominent role in preparing them for the big wide world. But the learning curve doesn’t need to end when the bell goes at the end of the day. After-school clubs offer students a series of wonderful opportunities. No matter what stage they’re at in their personal development, there will always be a benefit to gleam from after-school clubs. And we aim to show you how after-school clubs can enrich your child’s education.
Why are after-school clubs important?
You may have some children who cannot wait until the school day is over, but there is only so much that children can learn during normal school hours. And given the challenges that pupils will face upon leaving education, some may relish the opportunity to gain means of expanding their horizon rather than have to wait for the benefit of hindsight.
As an added comfort, many after-school clubs are regulated by Ofsted, meaning that parents will have that reassurance that their child is in a safe and secure environment. Some children also struggle from isolation and can find school life to be too intimidating to enjoy it. This can lead to anti-social behaviour and an unwillingness to move out of a very limited comfort zone, issues that, if left unattended, can lead to inadequate coping strategies in adult life. An enrichment club can help a child build those social skills and gain confidence. Students who may particularly benefit from these clubs are those with disabilities, who may have limited opportunities for social engagement. A club can give them the chance to spread their wings.
Another aspect to consider is the healthy ways after-school clubs allow children to let off steam. For parents who worry about their children shutting themselves away in their bedrooms to indulge in round-the-clock social media and online gaming, after-school clubs provide children with the chance to pursue healthier activities. We need to convince children that enjoyment can be found beyond a computer screen. They can encourage healthy interaction with other children and develop social skills that will stave off issues such as weight gain or other anti-social issues.
There’s also the issue of the curriculum. As diverse as it is, children can only take on-board so many subjects, especially as the pressure of GCSEs mount. After-school clubs give children the chance to not only focus on existing curriculum topics but also delve into subjects they wouldn’t normally have the chance to do, such as dance, languages and other subjects.
There are some aspects of life that we also need to prepare children for, but only have so much time to do so within the school hours. Sometimes, these include adult-oriented subjects such as awareness of sexual identities and mental health, difficult topics to breach but must be breached nonetheless. This can steer children away from developing a stereotypical mindset towards these subjects and promote a culture of understanding and acceptance.
There is a balancing act to consider with an after-school club. On the one hand, you want an after-school club to be an extension of a child’s education. On the other hand, you don’t want to be offering the same lessons children can get in regular hours. Nonetheless, below are some ways in which after-school clubs can enrich these subjects and further a child’s education while also delving into past-times that children would not get the chance to experience elsewhere. And you can see how under School Clubs’ guidance, students are being supplied with the means to prosper long after their education is complete.
Enhancing the curriculum
The school years are a formative time for all children. They are learning who they are and who they want to be. But there is always the risk of children leaving school uncertain as to what to do with their lives. And school can only do so much to help children find their calling – which is why an after-school club focusing on activities linked to, but separate from the curriculum could help them come to a decision.
STEM – STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) offers careers that are in high demand with lucrative opportunities offered to people looking to break into the industry. However, there has been a worrying skills gap, and even though students may leave with top marks in their chosen subjects, some have had difficulty attaining the experience required to help them progress further. An after-school club can give them an understanding of how what they’re learning at school can be applied in a career, the things they can achieve and the safety regulations they must adhere to. One thing an after-school club can offer is the opportunity to practice some of these activities under the supervision and guidance of an adult. They could have mini-projects such as dismantling and restoring a car engine. It is a good starting point to prepare them for the future. The mathematics angle is also an important one considering that almost every job in the UK requires students to possess GCSEs in Maths and English. After-school sessions can provide support to ensure that they are building up a mathematical prowess. Such activities can also help them to develop analytical and problem-solving skills that they can carry over into a career.
Drama & Film Making – Many children will grow up loving stories. Many of us have at some point in our lives been inspired by stories, both fictional and real. A good drama club can give students the chance to create their own stories. For those who aspire to work in the dramatic industry, there are many facets to learn beyond acting. Children can be educated on the elements needed to craft a captivating story that resonates with the audience. And given that school is an environment where success is best demonstrated, what better way to demonstrate the student’s learning through a performance before an audience?
Art – Childhood years are a time when children are still learning how to express themselves. Much of the art is about self-expression. Every drawing we draw, every painting we paint is an extension of ourselves. At an after-school club, staff can help children hone their skills in arts and crafts, helping them put their feelings on canvas and understanding the relationship one can have with art. And rather than do what is expected as part of the curriculum, children are encouraged to learn about mosaics, materials, taking random objects and repurposing them through craftwork. There’s so much to be learned in art and students can then take what they have learned and apply it in the art curriculum and possibly in a career.
Language – We live in a culturally diverse time where children of all backgrounds can come together to learn. But there is an ongoing issue regarding language barriers. Some students may come over from other countries and because English isn’t their first language, they can struggle to integrate socially. But an after-school club can give children the chance to come together through language lessons and overcome that barrier. It also gives students the chance to widen their worldview and learn about other cultures such as Spain, France, China and India, to name but a few. The world has many facets to it and language clubs can help children explore all of them.
Sports – Many children are always looking to be the next big sportsperson, whether that is in football, rugby, tennis or badminton. Boys and girls who are truly passionate about sports will often try to fit in some practice. Another positive to consider is how sport will improve a child’s fitness. All growing children need to put aside at least one hour a day of vigorous exercise. It builds children into a regime that they will be encouraged to keep up as they progress into adulthood.
Dance – Dance isn’t one of the celebrated subjects on the curriculum and outside of possible drama lessons, students seldom receive the opportunity to practice it. But if an after-school club has access to a wide space like a hall or a gym, then students can learn all different manners of dance, from ballroom to salsa to jazz. For those who are already aspiring genres with an affinity for music, then they might like the opportunity to mix genres for music and dance, another chance to explore creativity.
Charity – There are no end of worthy causes out there that deserve championing. In a bid to raise awareness of the many issues facing the world, after-school clubs might enlighten children on some of the charities that support these causes. Club leaders may even want to consider encouraging children to take up some of these causes by organising a charity-supporting event. Whether that be a film screening or a sporting event, it gives students a chance to test that entrepreneurial spirit and find something to believe in.
Study – Not necessarily a subject in itself, but something that will benefit all children as GCSEs draw closer. But it can be difficult finding the time to fully devote yourself to your studies, especially if you have all your easy distractions at home surrounding you and tempting you away. After-school clubs can offer students a tranquil environment in which to study and accumulate their knowledge, with supporting materials on hand should they need them.
Other activities – School Clubs have been quite diverse in their delivery of after-school clubs. Some clubs have taken that long-lasting love of Lego and empowering children to explore design techniques to create models, of people, building and furniture, whatever sparks the imagination. And given that children spend so much time around technology, it stands to reason they know how to construct it. School Clubs have hosted clubs that focus on robotics and give students a chance for innovation, designing a working robot from scratch with provided materials, setting them on the path that perhaps one day will see them create something that everyone will use in their everyday life.
Necessities of an after-school club
All clubs need certain elements to be successful and attract students. And without them, children will have a lacklustre experience. So when you’re setting up a club, these are the essentials you must consider.
Materials – After-school clubs give students the chance to thrive in extracurricular activities. Perhaps a child might aspire to be the next Vincent van Gogh or improve their proficiency with IT. Or maybe they want to become a chess prodigy (which in itself enriches the thought process). Whatever activities a club is hosting, it needs to have the materials to ensure students get everything they can out of them. When running a club, take into account the activities and corresponding tools. If you’re running an arts and crafts after-school club, you will find yourself constantly stocking up on paintbrushes and utensils. These will have to be factored into the club’s budget. The more activities you have, the more you’ll have to consider the finances. However, if you’re running a club with activities that aren’t depending on materials, the running costs will be much smaller. When you’re buying materials, look to brands such as Bulk and Hobbycraft, all of which ensure the children are fully accommodated.
Diversity in snacks – A good after-school club takes into account the nutritional needs of a child and ensures they are provided with healthy snacks that will benefit the child’s diet and stave off any unhealthy eating habits that could arise in later years. The clubs also accommodate children with particular needs, such as those on a vegan diet or those who have diabetes.
Funding an after-school club
Various funding models go into funding an after-school club. But School Clubs use a fair system that benefits everyone. For parents who are making direct payments, they can sign up and pay for the clubs we have on offer via a secure online booking system, with the school admin having full access to our backend system where the sign-ups are auto-populated. If the school is taking the responsibility of funding the club – and parents are not dealt with directly – then schools are charged £95 for a single session, which constitutes one hour of the club.
Here are some links to consider if you are looking at applying for funding:
Out of School Alliance also has some insightful information regarding the set-up of an after school club that you can check out at https://www.outofschoolalliance.co.uk/setting-up-your-club. An ideal starting point if you want to start a club that becomes a custom for students.
Promoting an after-school club
There are many diverse means of advertising an after-school club. Your endgame will often be the parents. So although you could have flyers posted around the school and assemblies that speak about the clubs, the chances of that information getting back to the parents are minimal.
Thankfully, we live in a digital age where no one is kept out of the loop. Parents and guardians will always be listed as the emergency contact. You can use those details to send text and email notifications to the parents with some information for them to go over. To ensure they have some contact with you, you can also print out flyers and leaflets as well as letters outlining the activities available at the club and how their child will benefit.
But texts and emails are not enough. If you’re going to be enticing parents to pay to send their children to your school, you need to offer them something with more substance. You can achieve this by referring them to a web page such as this, that highlights what your club is, what it can offer and how their child will benefit. Not might, but WILL benefit. You can back up this belief with examples of your previous successes, pictures of children engaging in the activities and supporting each other, including video testimonials from the staff discussing the service they provide and the children talking about how they have enjoyed the activities, what they have learned from them, and how they might apply it for the future.
All parents ultimately want the best start in life for their child. They want to know that their child has plenty of opportunities open to them. To give them a sense of direction they will benefit from later in life. An after-school club can be many things; it can be a place to gain further education, a chance to meet new friends, a safe space and above all, a place to grow. As a parent, you will be doing your children a favour by signing them up for an after-school club.
School Clubs has already worked with over 350 schools and over 7,000 pupils have felt the benefits of after-school clubs. Whether they are studying subjects on the curriculum, making grandstanding models out of Lego or building on their technological expertise with robotics, children are always gaining. Whatever the age or the need, School Clubs have been able to meet them all, resulting in thousands of satisfied parents seeing their children supported by incredible teachers.
Find out more about how you can benefit from this nationwide success at https://clubs.school/