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Extracurricular Activities Defined
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What are extracurricular activities?
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Extracurricular Activities Defined
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Extracurricular activities are any activities that facilitate learning outside the classroom, and that is not directly relevant to the course. So, for example, I wouldn't count GCSE fieldwork as extracurricular because they are needed for the exam. Whereas, any groups, clubs, societies or trips that happen during or outside of school time, I would count as extracurricular, as long as they are not directly relevant to the course.
There are a wide variety of extra-curricular activities. Oxted School is a large school and we run a massive variety, from sports, arts and crafts, to design technology, ICT, and our computer based clubs. We have homework based clubs, special interest clubs such as Warhammer and peer mentoring where sixth formers look after younger students, often in their first year of school. We also have volunteering groups which traditionally run with the Edinborough scheme, so they will be doing walks too. They will also be volunteering within charity shops and the like. The final type of clubs we have within Oxted are enrichment activities. These are trips that are relevant to the national curriculum but not absolutely necessary. So, for example, trips to the battle fields and foreign exchanges.
I think all schools will offer extracurricular activities to an extent. The number of clubs, and the enthusiasm with which they are run will vary. At Oxted, we're a large school with massively enthusiastic staff, and therefore the number of clubs, the variety of clubs and the way in which they are run and managed is exceptional.
Any student can take part in extracurricular activities. There are some where it's split by sex or by age, so we'll have a junior male basketball club, a senior female and so on. But on the whole, any student that wants to volunteer, that feels they want to take part in a club or even set up a club is perfectly able to.
Activities will happen before school, during school, after school, at weekends, and during the holidays. So, within this school, we have everything from a basketball practice that we run at lunchtime, right through to a week-long ski trip that's about to go over the Easter holidays.
The vast majority of activities take place within the school, so the site technology block would be used for workshops. The classrooms would be used for things like chess and warhammer and then you've also got the outside facitlities; basketball courts, tennis courts, and astroturf. Other trips would run off site, if students are going away to sports pitches then they go to local schools. They might go to museums and libraries locally and the most extreme example of getting off site is the ski trip which is running to Stow in America.
Extracurricular activities are definitely not compulsory. The really key part about these activities is that the students must choose to do them. Not only do the students choose to do the activities, they must take part in organizing them, ensuring they run smoothly, and that they get out of the activities what they want. It's this level of involvement and engagement that gets a lot of the skills out that students need - independence, motivation, and inspiration.
Extracurricular activities can be run by any interested party whether it be teacher, parent, or pupil. In this school the majority of extracurricular clubs are run by teachers or students. I think that student involvment is really key. Sixthformers run drama clubs and they'll run some sports teams, and they are getting out of it an awful lot as well as the people that are participating. They learn independence and the ability to organize and run events.
School trips are extracurricular activities as long as they are not directly related to the curriculum. So, if a geography field trip is out running, then I wouldn't count that as extracurricular because that's necessary for the exam and the course that's being done. However if that school trip is off to RF adium so that gifted and talented students can look at key skills to do the geography, such as map reading and meteorology, then that's extracurricular. It's not directly relevant, not necessary for the exam, but it's just a way of enhancing the subject.
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