Despite popular belief that a child’s character-forming years are only based inside the classroom, parents and teachers are becoming more aware that it’s not only the academic aspect of a child’s time at school that will turn them into a smart, respectful and polite adult. In fact, cultural activities, sports and even how children interact with other staff and students can have a marked influence on your child.
Far from packing children off to “exam factories”, where increased pressure and emphasis on obtaining A grade results can have a detrimental effect on character building, extracurricular activities, after school clubs and the chance for children to explore and develop their own interests help contribute to an all-round education. As Anthony Seldon writes in the Guardian, it’s fundamental to “embrace character-building and all-round education not as an alternative to academic attainment, but as an essential adjunct of it.”
Considering the above, how then can schools create the perfect environment for an all-round education? Certainly, at school, parents want their children to develop into the problem solvers of tomorrow, being able to think critically, listen to others and share and explore common themes in the classroom. Likewise, these essential classroom skills also transcend to the sports pitch or boarding school dormitory. Learning to build relationships and friendships, interact positively with peers and teachers, as well as learning a level of care and empathy, are all an essential part of a modern education.
With so many factors playing such an important role in a child’s education, from preschool up to sixth form, how can parents be sure that they are choosing the right institution for their child? Read on to find out more about what factors can help create the perfect environment for an all-round education:
From inner-city schools to rural estates and even ex-stately homes, the location plays a big factor on a child’s education. Parents should take time to consider their child’s current lifestyle, what sort of activities that their child enjoys and also how the location will affect the school curriculum. A greener setting is a popular choice with parents and students, providing ample opportunity for sports and outdoor pursuits.
Location and facilities often go hand-in-hand. From tennis courts and swimming pools to riding stables and skateboard ramps, the facilities that a school offers can also help tick a variety of boxes. Nevertheless, parents shouldn’t let themselves be wooed by gizmos and gadgets, time in the classroom is also an essential part of any child’s education.
From GCSEs to SATs testing, A-levels to the international baccalaureate, choosing the right curriculum, class size and teaching style can be a daunting choice for both parent and pupi. While wanting your child to excel academically is top of every parents’ list, it is also worth considering the extracurricular activities and student support on offer. Each and every child is different, the school should treat them so.
Arts and activities
Painting, drawing, scupture, pottery, theatre, chess and even judo are just some of the exciting activities that your child could choose from. Increasing numbers of independent schools are widening the net when it comes to activities and arts outside of the classroom – with the Duke of Edinburgh awards even on offer at some institutions. An all-round education encourages children to do what they love, without them forgetting their initial goals.
A healthy body and a healthy mind go hand in hand. Increasingly, schools are now offering a variety of sports which cater to all tastes and interests. From skiing to horseriding and the more traditional favourites of hockey, football and rugby, it is worth investigating the sports and activity timetable on offer. Regular exercise, high quality coaching and skills development are just some of the benefits of choosing a school with an excellent sports calendar – plus it will teach your child the importance of team work and working with others.
Homesickness, a fear of speaking out in class and even extra maths help: no problem is too big for a good teacher to solve. Choosing an institution which offers high caliber pastoral care, without making too much fuss might appear a quibble for some parents, but schools are used to making both parties happy. Outstanding pastoral care is a must for providing your child with a stress-free, harmonious academic environment.
This article was sponsored by Strathallan School, Perthshire, which provides students with an outstanding Scottish education located in a stunning rural environment. Since 1913, the school has equipped pupils with the knowledge and character to exceed at University and beyond, with thanks to the outstanding range of extracurricular activities and sports on offer to balance out time in the classroom. The school’s 153 acre campus is also home to an indoor swimming pool, nine hole golf course and clay pigeon shooting ranges, in addition to the modern boarding house facilities for pupils. At Strathallan, pupils are encouraged to follow their interests and dreams, thanks to the excellent teaching and pastoral care on offer to each and every student.