Following 18 months of upheaval for the education sector, independent school Christ College Brecon has reshuffled its weekly timetable to include more extra-curricular activity to help with pupils’ physical, spiritual, social and moral development.
Christ College Brecon already ensures each year group experiences ‘Adventure Days’ in the nearby Brecon Beacons National Park during the year, but as of the new academic year, the school has been offering its 370 pupils a mix of outdoor adrenaline activities such as mountaineering, climbing, paddle sports and trail running, as well as creative arts including our senior musical production, masterchef, action photography, robotics and video game development. The additional options have created a ‘second curriculum Saturday’ leaving weekdays with the positive blend of academic lessons, music, including ensembles, the orchestra and individual tuition, academic clubs, academic support groups, hockey, rugby, netball and badminton fixtures and adventures in our Cadet Force.
During the pandemic, Ofsted found that some children have regressed in their reading and writing and many have lost physical fitness. A recent Active Lives Children and Young People Survey found the number of children meeting the government’s guidance of an hour of activity a day dropped by more than 100,000 in the summer of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019 and nearly a third of young people do less than 30 minutes of exercise each day.
Christ College Brecon Deputy Head (Pastoral), Simon Hill, said: “The past year has not been easy for many school-aged children, but we believe that combining academic lessons and a rich extra-curricular programme with plenty of opportunities to experience the outdoors or try a new hobby or skill is a great way to help develop a young person and give them the best start in life.
“The new Saturday programme has started really well. We have received really positive feedback from pupils about how much they are enjoying participating in adventurous activities in the Brecon Beacons, playing sport, trying new hobbies and clubs, playing musical instruments and rehearsing for the Senior Musical Production. Parents have also praised the timetable change and the freedom it gives children to try wonderful activities on the weekends and focus on their schoolwork during the week.”
The Saturday programme, which has already been introduced to sixth form pupils as part of the school’s Curriculum for Life programme, joins the college’s Spirit Days which invites the whole community, including parents, to watch and enjoy the school teams, matches and performances on selected Saturdays during the year.
Christ College is one of the oldest schools in Wales and utilises the surrounding Brecon Beacons to deliver its extracurricular activities as well as its 40 acre site, including an onsite fitness suite, hockey astro-turf pitch, new multi-use games area and a swimming pool.