Blogs and News - St George's School For Girls, Edinburgh
The move to supported home learning in March focused on academic provision; now as we move into the summer term, I am delighted to launch the co-curriculum programme that complements academic work. It is usual for over 130 clubs and activities to run each week at St George’s to support the development of a skill set that will be of use by each student in the future. This term we are able to offer over 50 clubs and activities that continue our provision of a broad and enriching co-curriculum that complements learning in the academic curriculum. We will not have the same experiences as attending a club or activity with peers, but we are still offering opportunities to challenge and risk take in an environment where there is nurturing and support.
While all the activities will initially be accessed through a computer and will not include what was considered the ‘normal’ interaction from other terms, offering a co-curriculum programme during supported home learning for the summer term will allow students to continue with previous clubs, showcase ongoing skill development in music, participate in new clubs or join discussions groups. The co-curriculum also allows the community that is represented in St George’s to join together outside the classroom. The new Online Games Club started this week for Lower School and already students are making suggestions, voting on which games to play and planning for next week. The enthusiasm and willingness to engage is a hallmark of St George’s and the students’ desire to try new ideas and expand their horizons, along with contributing to the development of transferable skills that will form part of their personal portfolio for the future.
Research indicates that a well-balanced combination of academic and co-curricular learning experience increases a willingness to take risk, develops social interaction, boosts confidence and enhances the development of leadership skills. A well-balanced combination has also been found to provide students with the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills that are needed to work in a rapidly globalising world, where many girls may change career several times in the course of their working life. During this period of supported home learning looking at opportunities beyond academic provision and what is immediately available at home, the co-curriculum continues to offer opportunity to face new challenges, work in teams and take the initiative. This will continue the role the co-curriculum has in producing versatile and well-balanced girls who are more competent all-rounders. It is of interest that students who participate in co-curricular activities gain higher grades, have a more positive attitude towards school and higher academic aspirations.
While the co-curriculum programme has been adapted to the need of this period in our lives, it aims to sustain the five key benefits of participation:
- The development of social skills and relationships through interaction across year groups.
- Developing time management skills – the girl who can manage her time effectively will be able to prioritise a competing set of commitments and becomes proactive and creative in problem solving.
- The ability to explore a wide range of interests, the summer programme continues to offer a range of possibilities for girls who want to develop and nurture areas of interest.
- Participation develops self-esteem – not all students experience academic success and the co-curriculum offers a chance to experience success or to be recognised for a contribution to an activity.
- Develops commitment – participation is about a long-term commitment to an activity and the opportunity to see it through, with leadership roles emerging as they progress through school.
This term brings the continuation of Model United Nations, Combined Cadet Force, University Preparation discussions, Drama club, Junior Duke, Recorder Ensemble, Outdoor Learning, IT club and Young Engineers to name a few. Along with new clubs for Script Writing, Film Society, Lit Society, Online Games Club and not to forget And Now In Other News – the feelgood current affairs club. We also hope to see ‘Annie’ come to life for our Lower School students as they continue working on their performances, despite the full production being unable to go ahead as planned: this is a testament to the resilience being demonstrated within our community during this period.
Breadth of provision is key and every girl is able to pursue an interest while being supported by staff who will recognise her achievements and encourage her commitment and determination. I am delighted that we are sustaining breadth in our provision during this period. Our co-curriculum supports the all-round education that we provide here at St George’s. It is an integral and essential part of our provision. The opportunities we offer open the girls’ minds, encourage intellectual curiosity and skill development, while allowing demonstration of dedication and contributing to the creation of a resilient individual who is able to show the relevance of her experiences to her development and goes on to embrace the 21st century.
Deputy Head, Academic Support and Co-curriculum