A NEW programme of after-hours activities convinced Furness youngsters that it was more fun to be in school than to rush home in the afternoon.

The Mail, on Tuesday, October 18 in 1994, noted: "No sooner has the bell stopped ringing than the school starts emptying.

"Kids pour from classrooms and disappear on to buses, into cars and up nearby streets.

"An end-of-the-day scene repeated in schools everywhere - but in Barrow’s Alfred Barrow School not all the children are quite so desperate to escape its confines.

"Barely have the last noises of fleeing children died away when busy sounds of grinding wheels and sawing wood echo through the corridors.

"In the hall that serves as theatre, canteen and gym, rubber exercise mats are being pulled out by willing hands and arranged on the floor.

"Outside in the yard, games of five-a-side soccer and netball are starting.

"From the food technology room comes that unmistakable baking cake smell.

"This term, for the first time in their history, headteacher Roger Titcombe and his staff decided to make post-schoolday activities available to first year children.

"Four nights a week, Monday to Thursday, more than 50 per cent of this year's intake of 11-year-olds have given up their free times for an after-hours study programme ranging the full length of the school curriculum.

"English, sport, history, first-aid, technology, cooking, swimming, word-processing and maths have been available this half-term.

"During the next half of the autumn term a change of subjects will see art, drama, music, geography, modern languages and desk top publishing being introduced.

"Teacher Peter Tame has been holding his technology classes in his department's impressively modern surroundings where £75,000 has recently been spent on new equipment and refurbishment."

Space was a popular theme and made pupils built their own space machines from everything from Lego to silver foil.

Mr Tames said: "The idea is to raise standards by giving the children an opportunity to learn in a more relaxed atmosphere.

"They are all mixed-ability groups and because the scheme is voluntary we get kids who really want to learn."

Funding for the scheme came from the school project with a series of prizes being sponsored by firms such as Marks and Spencer, Tesco, Boots, Scott, K Shoes and Cumberland Motor Services.