St Edmund's

Head's Blog
The Importance of Effective Co-curricular Provision

The Importance of Effective Co-curricular Provision

On Friday, I had the pleasure of speaking at the HMC Conference for Deputy Heads (Co-curricular) at Ibstock Place School in Richmond.

It was a fascinating event. The first speaker was Vicky Ellis. At the age of 31, Vicky took the helm of the yacht “Switzerland”, one of the 12 entries in the Clipper race 2013-14, the longest round the world yacht race. She gave an extraordinary account of this formidable 11-month challenge and how her co-curricular involvement at school shaped her as a leader.

We also heard from Laurel Rees (Assistant Head, Co-Curricular) and Lorcan O’Brien (Director of Sport) The Grammar School at Leeds on the crucial interface between their roles. Their message was reinforced by a speech in the afternoon by Amanda Vernalls from the Youth Sports Trust on the vital benefits of sports and physical activity in school.

I participated in a panel session in the morning entitled “Why have a co-curricular programme?” Expertly chaired by Sally Walmsley (Deputy Head Co-curriculum) from Sevenoaks School, the panel explored the strategic and operational issues associated with running a successful co-curricular programme.

I then gave the final speech of the day on “The value of performing arts as part of a co-curricular programme”. In addition to discussing aspects of our provision at St Edmund’s, I talked about academic research that measures the impact of performing arts participation on pupil wellbeing and performance and emphasized the importance of such participation in the context of future skills development.

It was an enjoyable and informative day and there was a lively and informed debate throughout. The key message of for me was that co-curricular provision is about crafting the whole person and, as such, needs to be at the heart of strategic planning in our schools.