Private schools are famed for their extensive extra-curricular activities (also known as co-curricular programmes). As well as the extensive range of sports, music and drama , larger schools will offer everything from sewing club to orienteering. The extra-curricular provision makes up the ‘extended day’ and clubs normally run from the end of school until about 5:30pm, later in many schools.
The options available will depend on the size of school and the facilities. Schools in rural settings will make use of their extensive grounds for new buildings and outdoor activities, whereas schools in central London may bus children to the local swimming pool or climbing wall or sports centre.
Many specialist SEN schools cater for less than 100 children in which case, their space for extra curricular activities may be restricted. Such activities are very important for SEN children to build confidence, so do not be afraid to ask questions about their approach on a school visit.
Children are encouraged to take part in a selection of activities, to include both creativity and sports and, in some cases, service activities are also encouraged.
Some clubs are run by school staff in which case they are normally included in the termly school fees, others are run by outside providers and come at an extra cost. Always ask the school about the uptake of the extra-curricular activities in your target school. Don’t confuse this with breakfast and after school clubs that are run as childcare for children whose parents need additional supervision to cover their working hours.
Some schools limit the number of clubs a child can take, other schools encourage children to be involved in as many as possible. It is important to get the balance right so your child still has time to do their homework, enjoy some down time and get some sleep!