WHY EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES ARE VITAL

Executive Principal of Southbank International School Graham Lacey explains why extra-curricular activities are just as important as academic studies and how they have a direct effect on the overall performance of a child

In recent years there has been much talk in the educational press of schools relegating the importance they give to extra-curricular activities to allow more time and greater emphasis on academic performance and results, perhaps with the all-important league table position in mind. Yet it is a universally acknowledged educational truth that academic performance and the fulfilment of potential in other areas of school life are mutually dependent.

Those schools that do not offer a suitable range of extra-curricular activities are not only denying their students vital opportunities to develop their individual skills and talents, but are following a self-defeating policy. Anyone monitoring the academic performance of individual students will confirm that students who successfully fulfill their potential on the academic front are more likely to have balanced their academic commitment and time by involving themselves in one or more extra-curricular activities.

Why extra-curricular activities at independent schools are as important as academic studies

Chess club is just one of the many extra-curricular activities on offer at Southbank International School

It is not hard to see why there is a correlation, and indeed cause, between academic success and extra-curricular activities. Narrow focus on academic work can be counterproductive. There is little doubt that physical exercise in particular has a direct effect on the efficiency and effectiveness of the functioning of the brain. But the direction of mental, as well as physical energy towards other pursuits that develop different skills, in drama or music for example, must surely enhance and not conflict with the time and endeavour a student devotes towards fulfilling their academic potential.

At Southbank, recognition of the importance of extra-curricular activities for a young person’s general educational development is reflected in the fact that they are not loosely bolted on to the school day, but are an integral part of it. After six ‘academic’ lessons comes one dedicated to extracurricular activities at Westminster.

At Southbank, recognition of the importance of extra-curricular activities for a young person’s general educational development is reflected in the fact that they are not loosely bolted on to the school day, but are an integral part of it. After six ‘academic’ lessons comes one dedicated to extracurricular activities at Westminster. Visit the campus at 15.30 and you will witness a wide variety of such activities, from chess or the school magazine club, to rehearsals for the summer’s performance of Grease. At the same time a minibus will be on its way to take the netball team for a practice in the school’s sports hall.

Education is more than intellectual enrichment and academic success, however important these may be. The fulfilment of an individual’s wider potential and the development of their inherent skills may also be secured in extracurricular pursuits. After all, these build individual confidence, the development of which, in itself, contributes to academic success. Southbank International School, along with many other schools no doubt, is proud to promote the principle and practice of educational balance and breadth, as well as academic excellence.

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