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Broad Activities and Broad Ambitions

Published on 07/11/17

While a school can be many things to so many people in its community, one of the vital keys to success for a school and, more importantly, to the pupils and students who attend it, is the breadth that a school encompasses.

Breadth within a school can be expressed in many ways.

  • Subjects on offer should not only include English, mathematics and sciences but also technologies, humanities, arts and sports, languages (all equal in importance)
  • coeducation to include girls and boys in every class
  • as broad a pupil entry standard as possible to bring an extensive range of backgrounds and talents
  • staff skilled in their subject who are also ready to contribute to a vibrant co-curriculum; a range of pupil and student leadership positions
  • a teaching body well aware of their subject but also practicing the vital skills of pastoral care and enthusiasm for their subject which is a balance between encouraging a child to do their best but not putting a hot-house of impossible demands on them
  • an individual needs approach to every child
  • and, perhaps lastly, a recognition that Sixth Formers can leave that school with a wide variety of interests and accomplishments such that they can enter university (or employment) at a range of fine universities confident that their skills will be recognised and further nurtured to help them achieve their next career goals.

A measuring of a school by league tables alone, important though they are, would be an inadequate measure of success. Further tables noting the value added to each pupil are at least as important as final scores and, in my opinion, even more important. The percentage of pupils and students involved in leadership activities and certainly co-curricular activities is also a score that will indicate future success for our children. A school that has a wide offering of activities is surely certain to spark interests and habits in young people in sports, arts, drama, music, competitions such as Young Enterprise, outdoor activities such as residential trips and the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

A school that is able to offer outdoor space at the door that will include working areas for a wide variety of sports, talking areas for social activities and peaceful areas for downtime away from the busy day is also a valuable addition to the breadth a school can offer.

Schools are thinking factories and their breadth of study, of pupil interests, of school activities will surely support generous, well adjusted, inquisitive and capable pupils and students who will be happy and enjoy their school days. That is certainly my experience of caring for the many pupils and students over the years at Claremont Fan Court School – a School of broad activities and broad ambitions for each and every one of our girls and boys.

Mr Insall-Reid
Head of Senior School