Extra-curricular activities are a vital part of secondary school life. In this five-part series, Matt Bromley looks at best practice for planning and delivering a broad and equitable extra-curricular offer. In part one, he considers why this is important and what’s at stake

Extra-curricular activities series

What does provision look like and why is it important (part one)

Extra-curricular activities are learning opportunities that take place outside of the taught timetable and which are, in most cases, voluntary for pupils to attend.

Some extra-curricular activities take place before a school’s official start time, some at break and lunch-time, some after school, and others during weekends or holidays. Some activities take place on the school site, and others off-site at specialist facilities including sporting venues, theatres, and so on.

The core curriculum – in other words timetabled lessons – tends to equip pupils with knowledge and skills in academic subject disciplines. Extra-curricular activities, meanwhile, complement that timetable by providing opportunities to learn useful skills including beyond national curriculum subjects.

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