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What Other Learning Opportunities Might the School Provide?

School trips

Your child's secondary school might organise school trips overseas, often related to a subject that is being studied, such as history or a modern language. They are not compulsory. The school may wish to use a ‘group' passport. It is possible that, even if your child was born in Britain and has a British passport, you will need to provide proof of your nationality, such as a naturalisation certificate if you were born outside the UK. Pupils who are not British nationals can't be included in a group passport. Students who are not British nationals or nationals of a European Union member state will sometimes need a visa to travel to another European Union state.

Asylum seekers who leave the UK are considered to have abandoned their asylum claim or appeal and might not be allowed to return to the UK.

Students who have been granted refugee status, humanitarian protection or Discretionary Leave to Remain may not have passports and so might not be able to go on overseas school trips unless they get a travel document from the Home Office.

Schools don't want children to be excluded from the learning opportunities provided by school trips, so they can sometimes offer financial help for parents who have difficulty meeting the cost of a trip.

Out-of-class activities

Your child's school may organise extra activities after school or at weekends. These might include clubs devoted to special interests such as sport, computers, chess, cookery, art, etc.

They are usually free, or a small fee might be charged to cover the cost of materials. Some schools will also have activities such as football (often run by parents) at weekends.

In addition to clubs, many schools have other supervised activities at the beginning and end of the school day. There might be breakfast clubs that start at 8.00am and after-school playschemes or homework clubs up to 6.00pm. There may also be after-school activities in youth clubs or community centres. There will usually be a charge.

With its Extended Schools programme, the government wants all schools to offer extra activities from at least 8.00am to 6.00pm by 2010. If you're working, you'll need to find out what arrangements you'll need to make if you can't pick your child up at the end of the normal school day. At some stage, you will probably need to decide when your child can be at home alone. This will, of course, depend on the age, personality and maturity of your child.