One of the net positives of the uncertain environment that was forced upon us during the CoVid-19 pandemic is that we have had the time to stop, breathe, reflect and evaluate and adapt many aspects of the school education, but in particular for me, our co-curricular offer within the whole school.

It would be fair to say that placing clubs and activities at the heart of each and every student’s personal development is nothing new, but keeping a careful account and reflecting what they offer our students is massively important. I am pleased that in a world whereby the term and confusion between “extra-curricular” and “co-curricular” often exists, for many it is a lack of understanding or just a turn of phrase, but here it is way more than that. The term co-curricular is complementary to working in unison with all of the others pillars within the school strategy: academic study, pastoral care, our global outlook and the ways in which we can all make a difference within the community. The inter-weaving nature of these areas, is fundamental for the success of many aspects of the Horizons Programme and of course, what makes this aspect so vibrant, dynamic and relevant and well as engaging for those that get involved in the opportunities on offer.

I have been delighted once again, to be able to see in person the excellent co-curricular events and opportunities that have continued to happen this half term: the Concerto Competition, the CCF Field Day, the Burke Debates and the many sports fixtures we have seen in cricket, hockey, football and Ready for Rugby. But it would be wrong not to highlight all of the other things that happen day-to-day in a busy school such as Taunton. For me, one of the most positive things I have seen in our return is the increased student voice and interest in what we offer. Since September, I have already had a number of meetings with students on ideas for talks in assemblies, lectures, scholarship subjects and new clubs and well as challenging our provision across the board in the programme. We have much more of a combined link between different areas of the school co-curricular programme. Pastorally in Enrichment, topics studies have been picked up in debating topics, or our global themes have been discussed in both assemblies and within academic lessons, all giving opportunities for our students to have their say or have their voice heard. Having events such as chapel remotely gives opportunity for discussion and debate with tutors on topics discussed, all encouraging fruitful discussion between different people within the school.

Having moved onto a whole school SOCS platform across the school, meaning all of our clubs and our calendar dates are all in the same place, this supports more than ever the delivery of a whole school pathway in a number of areas that encompass the ethos that instils our aim to challenge, inspire and nurture young people to success in a global community. It creates the opportunity to challenge students at the appropriate level whatever their age and gives them increased opportunity and ability to get involved across the whole school site.

I have explored the whole school SOCS programme to really see if what I believe is happening, is actually what happens in the day-to-day and found these interesting statistics:

  • Out of the 1072 students we have across all five areas of the school, 1011 of them are involved in the clubs programme which is 94.31%
  • The total number of clubs offered across the school is 393, with the total number of events this half term being 3912.
  • The average number of clubs available on each day is 52.4
  • The average number of clubs that students attend in the school are 4.82 per week.
  • The club with the most pupils is CCF, with 180 cadets involved.

It is great to see engagement is high, but as ever we will continue to evolve, develop and listen to the student voice for suggestions and ideas.

A big thank you to all the students and staff for continuing to support the co-curricular programme and I wish everyone a restful half term.

Hayley Mortimer, Assistant Head Co-Curricular and Outreach