I have met lots of parents and children over the past few weeks which has been a real pleasure. The most common question from the children has been “will there be any clubs?” The parents phrase it slightly differently and ask “are there any extra-curricular activities?” I find this expression really interesting.
In my view, the curriculum is the sum total of all the educational experiences a student has whilst in school. Therefore, anything and everything we offer is their curriculum. This includes their timetabled lessons and activities that are structured at lunchtime and after school. However, it also includes the learning that takes place at any point; when they see me pick something up off the floor and put it in the bin because no-one else has, or hold a door for someone and then copy this behaviour because it is the right thing to do. Or when they learn how to sit and eat, talking together and learning how to get along at lunchtime. It also includes learning to get to lessons early with their equipment so that they are ready to start their timetabled lesson. All of these interactions help young people become responsible young adults, able to make a positive contribution to society.
However, I do understand what parents and children mean – what else will be on offer to students? John Taylor Free School will have a full, broad and enriched curriculum. We will offer activities at lunchtime and after school. Some children will travel by bus and therefore, they will have the opportunity to join in during the school day. For others, they may prefer to stay beyond the end of timetabled lessons.
We will expect all children to take part in at least one activity per week. For those who want to challenge themselves with words and numbers, there will be a debating club, reading group and maths challenge. Dance, drama and music will be available for anyone to come and have a go at but is also for those budding performers who already take to the stage! Behind the scenes there will be the opportunity to get involved in staging, lighting and sound. Students who enjoy sport will be able to join football, rugby, hockey and netball teams. Badminton and basketball are for those who prefer their sport inside! We are also keen to create activities suggested by the students – gardening club, wildlife supporters or astronomers’ society. There really will be something for everyone – of course not all of these will run every week. As a small but enthusiastic staff team we will offer a programme for each half term and rotate the activities each time so that everyone can join in over the course of the year.
John Taylor Free School is going to be a very exciting place to work and learn; alongside the timetabled lessons, students will be able to succeed and thrive with a full range of enrichment opportunities. Which one would you take part in first?
Head of School