What are co-curricular activities and how do they complement the formal curriculum?


Simon Severino, Headmaster at Alleyn’s Junior School and Neil Green, Head of Co-Curricular and Partnerships at Alleyn’s School on why the best education transcends the classroom

Excellence is about opening doors, having a vision of possibilities, experiencing breadth and being challenged and inspired. For many children, co-curricular activity enhances and complements the formal curriculum; it offers the highlights to their school days, a break in routine and a chance to tailor their school life to their personal interests and desires.

A strong co-curricular programme sparks lifetime passions
The co-curriculum is an essential part of everyday life at Alleyn’s. At the Junior School, we offer over 60 clubs each term, and at the Senior School, over 100 different clubs and societies. As with any strong co-curricular programme, we offer a range of options that utilises our fantastic resources, and the varied skills and interests of our staff.

There is always an element of fun as well as a sense of purpose
To receive full support from the children and parents there needs to be that element of fun as well as a sense of purpose. In the Junior School, there are clubs that support and develop, whether it be reading or swimming, while others, such as Chamber Choir, stretch the most able in a particular field. The creative streaks in all our children are inspired through observational drawing, ceramics, painting, K-Nex, computing and DT clubs. LAMDA, dance and taekwondo clubs provide avenues for self-expression, whilst cookery and gardening promote more practical skills.

The more cerebral strands of our co-curricular programme exercise and stimulate the mind, whether it be through the intensity and competition of general knowledge club, the reflection of philosophy club, the linguistic and cultural adventures of German and Spanish clubs, the mental workouts offered in chess club or the investigative nature of science club.

Pupils interact with dementia sufferers in the pioneering Sweet Readers project
As well as offering a similar range of creative and cerebral clubs and societies to the Junior School, Alleyn’s School provides an excellent leadership programme from Year 9 where pupils thrive in either the Combined Cadet Force, Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, Volunteering or Community Sports Leadership Award. Our pupil volunteers are involved in a range of community projects, including the Saturday Maths Scheme for Year 5 state school pupils, and, most recently, the pioneering Sweet Readers project in which Lower School pupils engage with older people with dementia.

We are fortunate to have access to first-class sports staff and facilities, so pupils across the ages benefit from a fantastic range of options from traditional team sports to the individual pursuits of fives, biathlon, 100k clubs and more.

Clubs nurture the natural mixing between ages and genders
Beyond the opportunity to enhance and inspire, co-curricular activities help the children to see teachers in a more holistic light, too. A Geography teacher may run a Geography Society but is also a CCF Officer, trains the U14B hockey team or enthuses about music composition! Furthermore, in a co-educational setting such as ours, boys and girls have the opportunity to participate in a range of activities, and our clubs nurture that important and natural mixing from across the ages and genders. Pupils see each other as fellow children, rather than as from a particular form or year group. We are so thankful to our dedicated and enthusiastic teachers, who contribute so much time to our co-curricular programme, and we truly believe that both our staff and pupils benefit a huge amount from these opportunities to work together in such varied ways.

An Alleyn’s education provides a distinctive blend of classroom and co-curriculum
We truly believe that our holistic Alleyn’s education fully equips our boys and girls to thrive in today’s world. Be it a dance performance at the Royal Albert Hall or a national ISFA football decider, a musical event at St. John’s Smith Square, a dramatic extravaganza in our own MCT at Alleyn’s theatre or an ESSA water polo final; co-curricular experiences combine with the classroom to create life skills, long-held friendships and a lasting self-belief.

For more information on Alleyn’s School and Alleyn’s Junior School, visit alleyns.org.uk or call 020 8557 1500 (Senior School) or 020 8557 1519 (Junior School). You can also find the school on Twitter @Alleyns_School or at Facebook.com/AlleynsSchool