IELTS Essay Sample: should children go to extra classes or play after school?

Earlier this week, I wrote about a new essay topic presented to candidates by Irsafam Test Centre in Iran. Here’s my answer to┬áthat task:

Many schools offer a range of extracurricular classes to supplement their regular programmes. While children are usually allowed to choose whether to attend them or play after school, they are sometimes compulsory.

Some educationalists believe it is vital that children take additional classes after school hours because teachers cannot normally cover everything in textbooks and, at the same time, practice them effectively with their students in the limited time they have in regular classes. For instance, not all students can practice speaking sufficiently in school foreign language classes, but an extra discussion class held after school would certainly help in this regard. Furthermore, while the subjects taught in school classes are important, they do not provide students with all the skills necessary for their future success. Consequently, they would definitely need extracurricular classes to learn other key skills like communication, teamwork, or even cooking.

However, many experts think children need the time after their classes at school to play and socialise with other children. Playing tends to develop their social abilities and communication skills, as well as allowing them to exercise mentally and physically. Furthermore, they note that childhood is probably the only time children are able to experience playing because when they become adults, the demands of work, higher education, family and social responsibilities often leave little or no time for them to enjoy playing freely.

Personally, I think although extracurricular classes are necessary and provide students with significant skills that are not usually addressed at school, children also need to be able to play so that their social and communication skills develop, too. Therefore, such classes should be arranged in such a way that enough time is left for playing during the week.

This essay is 285 words long. It presents a clear topic in the introduction, covers both sides of the argument with two reasons presented for each, and presents a clear personal opinion (here, it is a middle-ground view) in the conclusion. The approach used here is the one used by Cambridge examiners in Cambridge IELTS 8, General Training test B.