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Extra-curricular in the Independent sector

Discussion in 'Independent' started by br0wnsugar, Oct 18, 2015.

  1. br0wnsugar

    br0wnsugar Occasional commenter

    This may seem like an odd question but could someone enlighten me as to what the 'significant extra curricular activities', often sought after at Independent schools consist of? Just a range of ideas. I have shown an interest, and if short listed, I wanted to be prepared. I did ask the HR depart of the said school and the response was encouraging,' do apply...something for the boys to gain a different interest from..' but not much else.

    I feel like the interests and hobbies that I possess, being 'female', may not be approved of in an all boys independent senior school. I have also got the experience and enjoy immensely, running after school creative writing, reading, handwriting, poetry and film clubs so wondered whether these are too 'standard'/unoriginal, for an independent school and whether extra curricular requires, as compulsory, residential stays and Saturday working?

    I have expertise in fashion design and pattern cutting/cookery too but just wondered if anyone already works in the sector could give me any more pointers. I would be most grateful. Thanks.
  2. star9

    star9 New commenter

    I shouldn't worry about being female at all. You don't mention if it is at a prep or senior school. Cookery is very popular at boys schools that I know. Other schools I know of run games clubs where the children play board games together. It is interesting how many children have not played games like Monopoly before and do not understand how to. Film clubs, drama clubs are also popular. I think schools are looking for something a bit different to run alongside the normal sports and music activities to give all children opportunities to take part.
  3. br0wnsugar

    br0wnsugar Occasional commenter

    Thanks for your response. It is a senior all boys school and I love board games - except Chess, only because I haven't learnt to master it. Hahahaa
  4. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    I'm now retired, but just to give you an idea, in my last school we had some 40 extra-curricular music activities a week, ranging from professionally coached chamber music to big choirs in which staff and parents could join in. The games department probably ran more, with a big emphasis on what tends to be called "minority sports" such as fencing and archery. The CCF was big - and remember that women are as much welcome as men in the CCF these days. We didn't have a "drama club" as such, but the drama department put on two major plays, a musical (with the music department, obviously) and several smaller productions every year - any type of help was welcome - and assistance with visits to theatres was always welcome.. We had a Young Farmers Club, so if you fancy getting up at 3am in January for lambing, you'd be especially welcome. The Gardening Club was less demanding.

    The Debating Society was seriously big stuff - it's where the budding politicians cut their teeth, and the frequent competitions need plenty of staff help. On a more gentile scale, the Bridge Club was always popular although I found the clever maths 6th usually demolished my own occasional pathetic attempts (I personally don't think I'd get into the realms of Monopoly, but it depends on the school).

    MFL (and sometimes Classical Languages) are usually on the look-out for people to help with foreign tours - music and games departments will often have their own overseas tours and appreciate help.

    Other clubs included the Model Railway Society (seriously impressive layout guarded by the Physics technicians), Apiculture, Archeology, Astronomy, Careers (lots of speakers and visits), Cookery, Film making, History, Photography, Pony Club, Electronics Club, Wine and Fine Dining (6th form only) - and many more that I have doubtless forgotten.
  5. EvilAsh

    EvilAsh Occasional commenter

    I'm applying for an all girls and I'm male, everyone here is telling me your gender won't matter. In terms of the extra circular, I've also been ruminating on what I can offer. The school I've got an interview in does lots of speaking and debating, so I was going to offer a poetry club. I also fancy running a clay club. I've got experience in 1:1tuition, both in school and privately, so I'll offer that. Like you I'm not overly sporty, but hopefully I'll be able to offer other
  6. EvilAsh

    EvilAsh Occasional commenter

    Sorry, weird post! I'll also be offering to help other teachers of they have a club which is heavily subscribed!
  7. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    @EvilAsh Look at the websites of similar schools. This may help you GDST as it's a girls' school.

    See what extra-curricular (or co-curricular as it's often called) activities are on offer there, to give you some inspiration.

    I would have thought something quite simple like simple household repairs might go down well. Or some of the St John's ambulance courses can be delivered by teachers in schools - there was a babysitting one, for example.

    Best wishes

    EvilAsh likes this.
  8. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    Check the school website - might be some things there that are up your street, or which get you thinking. Many schools run community service activities, many of which need a willing pair of hands rather than specific skills or knowledge. Duke of Edinburgh Award? Helping with drama - perhaps in costume, make up or other backstage roles?
  9. EvilAsh

    EvilAsh Occasional commenter

    Ooh, good point Skeoch! I've helped run many huge Christmas productions and been in charge of sound and lighting...

    Theo, great advice as usual. I also found a YouTube video in which their director of learning (GDST) discussed the differences regarding all girl schools in terms of the way girls learn. Highly informative and true, thinking about my own (mixed) class.
  10. jarndyce

    jarndyce Occasional commenter

    They sound like very Englishy things, and I can confirm that all-boys' schools quite often have excellent English departments. :)

    Apart from the odd idiot who had a problem with female teachers (and was very quickly squashed) I don't think gender was ever an issue at all in the boys' schools I have worked at. I had plenty of boys who enjoyed the more cerebral/artsy activities I offered.
  11. jarndyce

    jarndyce Occasional commenter

    Can't edit posts in NewTES it seems, so apologies for the double post.

    Of course your activities are Englishy, because, having seen your other thread, you are indeed an English teacher!!!

    You clearly demonstrate a range of interests that your future Head of English will appreciate you offering to the boys (who will no doubt be highly positive and receptive). Your less curriculum-based interests will also be looked on favourably.
  12. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    5 minute window, I think, same as Old TES . . .

  13. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    I'm at girls' independent (just started after a one-year fixed term at a mixed grammar) and I run a lunch-time language revision prep and will help with a new culture club (afterschool), but also am a lower school tutor so have pastoral meetings every other week (afternoons) and work one Saturday a month. I want to do a crafts club, but am limiting myself to our christmas stall (knitting a little, making ornaments with my tutor group).

    As the pastoral side of an independent school can be very time-consuming, keep that in mind. Also, look through the website and check out what other activities are offered.

    damnant quod non intellegunt
  14. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    ...look through the website and check what other activities are offered, so you can mention one or two that you would like to assist with/help with in interviews, plus a few of your own ideas. (sorry, realised that the above wasn't as clear as I would have liked!).

    I say that I am limiting myself to not running a club completely on my own at the moment because it is my first term and once I feel more settled/comfortable, will most likely offer something after Christmas - our tutor group Christmas stall is a great way for me to do some crafts and to see if there is any interest there beforehand (there seems to be)....

    good luck!

    damnant quod non intellegunt
  15. br0wnsugar

    br0wnsugar Occasional commenter

    Hi Everyone,
    Thank you for all your great advice and guidance. I really appreciate it. I have an application ready to go and have a deadline next week, so will ponder and consider deeply everything suggested. I feel a whole lot better.
    Thank you. :):D
  16. br0wnsugar

    br0wnsugar Occasional commenter

    I do know that working in an independent school is just as hard work as at a state so I suppose the only thing I am pondering is the amount of time that has to be allocated to running lunch time, after school or weekend clubs.
  17. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    It's a different type of hard work, though. I have much smaller classes, so marking is thankfully much less time consuming, but my days are full on (our day starts at 8.30 and finishes at 4.30).

    Some independents have weekend activities, particularly boarding schools but others may have longer days with activities at lunch or afterschool. Doublecheck websites of schools - what type of time commitment are they expecting - a day school will most likely still have weekend sports commitments.
    damnant quod.non intellegunt
  18. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    In addition to smaller classes, independent schools (or at least those on a secure financial footing) generally have lighter teaching timetables, so it is possible to get much more marking and preparation finished during free periods (although these can disappear in cover for absent colleagues).
  19. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Good point @florian gassmann !

    In my school, instead of the national 10% of the timetable without classes, teachers had 20%. The equivalent of a whole day per week off timetable.

  20. MrsBridgewater

    MrsBridgewater New commenter

    Always worth thinking about what benefits your club will confer. I teach in a small indy school which specialises on boys with speech and language processing problems, a large number of boys are dyspraxic and many children (both in my school and others I've taught in) seem to lack fine motor skills (I blame the demise of needlework at primary school). I've tailored clubs so that these skills are developed - so in the past I have run beading and knitting clubs and am currently running an origami club.

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