MP for West Lancashire criticises government as extracurricular activities in schools decline

MP Rosie Cooper's criticisms come as new figures reveal a sharp decline in extra curricular activities for children.

By Aimee Seddon
Monday, 4th October 2021, 1:58 pm

New analysis published by the Labour Party reveals how participation in extracurricular activities for primary-age school children has been in continual decline over the past decade.

Analysis of the Government’s Taking Part Survey data shows declining participation for primary age children over the last ten years across a whole range of extra-curricular activities from sports to music to the arts and culture.

The sharpest decline in participation was found in theatre and drama activities, where 49.1%  of children under 10 took park in the year 2009/10, whilst only 30.1% did in 2018/2019 and 25.8%  in the year 2019/2020.

Government figures reveal that participation in extra curricular activities amongst children is in decline.

There was also a 13.12% decrease in participation in all competitive sport, both inside and outside of school, between 2009/2010 and 2019/2020, and a 45.45% decrease in dance activity participation over the same period.

In response to these figures, West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said: “The experiences we have at childhood set us up for life which is why it is so important to have a wide range as early as possible.

“Using a library is just one example close to my own heart, of opening up a world of opportunities through improving and increasing literacy and growing your creative influences.

“The government should be ashamed at such a pronounced decline in kids visiting libraries and museums, learning an instrument or playing a sport. Labour has an ambitious recovery plan to ensure those children who have missed out on so much, particularly over the past 18 months, are fully supported to learn beyond just the classroom."

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper critcises the government for the declining participation figures.

The Labour Party says that these figures from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport come as children from the poorest backgrounds are three times more likely not to take part in any extracurricular activities. 

Labour’s Shadow Child Poverty Secretary Wes Streeting MP said: “Every child matters. Whatever their background – every child should have the chance to take part in activities that open their eyes to new opportunities. Whether that’s learning to swim, playing a musical instrument or visiting a gallery or museum to discover more about the culture and history of our great country. If the Conservative government won't step up for the nation's children, the next Labour government will.” 

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport's Taking Part Survey has been their flagship survey since 2005, collecting data on how adults and children engage with our sectors.

To view the full set of data you can click here.

In response to these figures, the Labour Party also released the ‘Ten by Ten’ ambition in August this year, which aims for all children to have the opportunity to experience these life-enhancing activities by ten:  

1- Join in competitive team sports  

2- Play an instrument  

3- Learn to swim 

4- Take part in drama and performing arts  

5- Visit the seaside and the countryside   

6- Experience museums, galleries and heritage sites  

7- Camping trips and overnight residentials  

8- Learn to ride a bike  

9- Take part in debating  

10- Use a library