While the majority of teaching takes place in the classroom, an increasing amount of lessons are being learned outside of it thanks to an exciting array of extra-curricular activities. Chafyn Grove deputy headteacher Katie Walker tells us why desk-bound days of schooling are a thing of the past…

How important are extra-curricular activities to a child’s education?
Extra curricular activities are massively important to a child’s education. They give the chance to try new sports, gain confidence and develop skills for life, whether in the arts, sport or for the world of work. Groups tend to be small and dynamics different from those of the classroom; it is a chance for pupils to receive extra attention – sometimes one-to-one – from staff in a relaxed atmosphere.

What are the benefits to children of taking on extra-curricular activities, both personally and for future prospects?
They may gain skills, confidence, enjoyment, fitness and the ability to communicate and work in teams. All are useful for the next stages of their education, for future employment and for their leisure time as adults.

toecg2nov16How do you fit extra-curricular activities into the day-to-day lives of your students?
Different extra curricular activities are fitted into the lives of our pupils in different ways:

  • Individual music tuition: is in the school day but on a rolling programme so the same academic lessons are not repeatedly missed.
  • Music ensembles: Jazz band, flute group, ukulele group, string group, training orchestra, Chapel choir are fitted into lunchtimes or a slot before school starts.
  • Squash and tennis coaching: is during lunchtimes or after school
  • Every Monday and Thursday from 3.30-4.40 we hold an activity session for all pupils in the Prep School. They can choose from about 20 activities that they would like to follow.
  • Pre-Prep have after school clubs offering football, gymnastics and weekend camping.
  • Leadership, teambuilding and outdoor adventure is introduced to Years seven and eight, partly within the school week and partly through a programme of weekend trips.

How do you actively encourage students to engage with your extra-curricular programme?
About 60 per cent of our pupils learn at least one musical instrument. Many are part of ensembles. All pupils from Year three to Year eight take part in the activity programme and choose what they will do for the term. (Choose three options for Monday and three options for Thursday; most get their first choice.)

Activity choices:  sports, may include all or most of the following each term– football, cross country, tag rugby, swimming, softball, golf, riding, gymnastics, badminton, tennis, aerobic dance.

My child doesn’t like sport. What non-physical activities does your school offer?
Other choices that do not involve sport: chess, cookery, bridge, Risk, D.T. (may be woodwork or cementing, electrics and building) bushcraft, languages(Mandarin/Spanish), drama, Lego engineers, gardening, archery, home crafts, model train club, art (felt making, sculpture, printing), sewing (eg quilting), presentation/debating skills, Enterprise (business – compulsory for one term in Year eight).

My child enjoys being a part of sporting clubs. Can they pursue this in term time?
Apart from the wide range of school sport, some pupils also find time to follow their enthusiasms out of school –for example training seriously at swimming, riding, or playing local club or county cricket or hockey. A local netball club trains at the school with some of our pupils in the evening.

Why should parents consider extra-curricular provision when choosing a school for their child?
Parents should look carefully to see what extra curricular provision is offered by a fee-paying school. While it is possible to receive a decent basic education elsewhere, it is likely to be the range of extras that fee paying schools can offer that will enrich a child’s life. Schools such as Chafyn Grove look for staff who have skill and enthusiasm beyond their subject specialism.  These teachers can fire the interest of children in crafts, minority sports or the performing arts.

What are the five most popular extra-curricular activities you offer?
Apart from music, tennis and squash lessons, which are taken by a majority of the pupils, the most highly subscribed activities on Monday or Thursday tend to be football, drama productions, art, cross country and bushcraft – although it is closely run by Lego engineers.

Find out more at www.chafyngrove.co.uk

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