Commenting on the Education Endowment Foundation’s launch of three new trials “focused on improving the attainment and aspirations of pupils in English state schools”, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“It is certainly the case that enrichment activities such as museum, art gallery trips, visits to parks and leisure centres, can be of great benefit to children and young people. Schools already know this and carry out such activities on a regular basis.

The difference in the past few years is that there is simply not the money. School budgets barely stretch to the basics, such as building repairs or pens and paper, teachers and support staff. As a consequence, extra-curricular activities have had to fall by the wayside.

What schools need most is to be adequately funded. That is for Government to ensure, not for head teachers to try and conjure up money out of nowhere.

“The SEND Review plans ignore the fact that schools are struggling to manage basic provision for pupils with SEND not because their provision is not effective but because of the funding crisis created by the government. Challenging schools to do more with even less resource is not the answer.”