England Proposes Longer Hours for Non-Academic Activities in School

Category : Education/Family

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. extracurricular / ˌɛk strə kəˈrɪk yə lər / (adj) – describing activities in school not related to usual academic subjects

    Some universities encourage students to join extracurricular programs and learn new skills.

  2. devote / dɪˈvoʊt / (v) – to use a particular amount of time or energy to do something

    She devoted a lot of effort to becoming a professional photographer.

  3. integral / ˈɪn tɪ grəl / (adj) – important in completing something or making something whole

    Reading and writing are integral in learning.

  4. compensate / ˈkɒm pənˌseɪt / (v) – to give something in return for something else that has been lost or damaged

    I need to do overtime to compensate for the days I couldn’t come to work.

  5. convinced / kənˈvɪnst / (adj) – completely sure about something

    She wasn’t convinced of her team’s decision.


Read the text below.

Sir Kevan Collins, England’s new recovery education commissioner, has proposed allotting more hours for extracurricular activities, such as sports, music, and drama, in school.

Collins explained that students, especially young children, need to devote more time to playing with other kids. He believes that this will help develop their communication and social skills, which are integral for school life.

Collins is responsible for supervising the catch-up program conducted by schools across England. The catch-up program was created to compensate for lost teaching time caused by the pandemic. He believes that the program should focus on competitive sports, music, and drama because these activities are essential to the students’ development.

Roz De Vile, CEO of music education charity Music Masters, agreed with Collins’s proposal. She said that in her experience, music helps children by significantly boosting their confidence, nurturing their well-being, and serving as a creative outlet for them.

However, Paul Whiteman, the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, was not convinced about Collins’s proposal. Whiteman stated that there are other methods to help students learn the skills they need instead. He added that there are studies that prove these methods work better than making students stay longer in school for extracurricular activities.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you agree with extending the hours of the catch-up program for extracurricular activities/lessons? Why or why not?
• What do you think will happen if children are not given enough time to socialize with others? Discuss.

Discussion B

• Do you think the catch-up program is a good way to make up for lost teaching time in 2020? Why or why not?
• Do you think schools should only focus on academics when making up for lost teaching time? Why or why not?

Category : Education/Family