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Truro School Head, Andrew Gordon-Brown, illustrates how the school aids character development through co-curricular activities

Posted by Hannah Oakman | January 07, 2017 | School life

At Truro School we believe that a rich co-curricular life is the key ingredient to aiding character development in our students. We believe that education is so much more than excellent exam results, as important as these are. It is one thing to grasp something intellectually, but real learning takes place when students have time to reflect on their experiences. 

Aiding Development at Pre-Prep

Our broad range of co-curricular opportunities both enrich and develop student life at Truro School, and this begins right from the Pre-Prep, where everything is about developing the whole child.

Our Forest School provision is run for every child from Nursery to Year 2, and in itself is designed to build self-confidence and emotional resilience. 

We are proud to have outstanding facilities, with three distinctive woodland areas; coniferous, broadleaf and wildlife. 

Our environment lends itself to a multitude of stimulating experiences so that our children can learn skills they wouldn’t be able to inside the classroom. 

With 10 co-curricular clubs on offer at the Pre-Prep, from ‘Shark Attack’ swimming club, yoga and construction, the activities are a gentle introduction for the younger children. They give teachers the opportunity to have fun with the children and get to know them as individuals, which has a significant impact on individualised teaching. 

Popular choices for both children and parents alike are yoga and mindfulness. 

Not only are teachers and parents seeing the positive change in the child’s concentration and focus, but it teaches children the importance of self-care and reflection. With mental health statistics stating that nearly one in 10 children aged 5–16 are affected by a mental health problem (Mental Health Foundation), it is about equipping children to cope with the life that lies before them.

The overriding feature of our setting is for children to leave with a ‘can do’ attitude. Children respond incredibly well to new life challenges and leave our setting with confidence, independence and awareness.

Aiding Development at Prep – The Prep Diploma

When children move up to our Prep School in Years 3–6, the co-curricular aspect of their life at Truro School is vastly increased, with over 60 clubs on offer. The range of activities helps pupils to develop a life-long love of learning and to grow up as responsible, happy and healthy individuals. 

When children reach Year 6 at The Prep School, their curriculum is designed with co-curricular activities at the heart of everything they do. Truro Prep School run a ‘Year 6 Prep Diploma’, which is embedded into the curriculum and engages pupils in an all-encompassing programme which links academic and co-curricular together in the school environment. 

The Prep Diploma spans across six areas of the curriculum; Core Academics, Humanities, Creative Arts, Performing Arts, Sport and Outdoor Education, and Life Skills. As a compulsory element of the curriculum at Truro School, it encourages every student to learn a wide range of skills. From learning to speak French to going on a First Aid course; each element is an important life skill that will equip the student with the best opportunities for their future. 

Through the Prep Diploma, it is our aim to instil pupils with abilities across a broad curriculum, giving each pupil the chance to understand their own abilities and strengths and in doing so, creating confident, well-balanced young adults. We believe many of the less-commonly assessed aspects of education to be as important as the core academic subjects and our dedicated careers team have identified that modern employers share the same opinion. Social skills, confidence and personal hobbies influence the decision-making process during interviews now more than ever before.

Aiding Development at Senior School

A unique feature at Truro Senior School is the Wednesday afternoon activities. Every Wednesday afternoon is dedicated to allowing students to participate in a wide range of activities as part of the weekly timetable, without academic pressures. 

The afternoon is designed to allow pupils to learn a new skill or develop an existing one, with a lot of the activities developing confidence, leadership and teamwork skills. 

With the sea being such an important part of our location in Cornwall, it is no surprise that one of our popular Wednesday activities is surfing. 

In January 2014, Truro School launched its own surf academy, created with the help of world-renowned surfer, Sam Lamiroy, who acts as Head Coach. 

Our surfers’ abilities have gone from strength to strength, with one of our pupils recently being crowned Independent Schools’ Surfing Champion and a Sixth Form pupil currently holding the British Girls’ Under 18 Longboard Champion title. Despite these accolades, the greatest accomplishment of the Surf Academy has undoubtedly been the social development of our students across all year groups. It is special to see younger students forging friendships with pupils who are a few years ahead of them. 

Aside from Wednesday afternoon activities, there are over 70 clubs on offer which allow students to pursue their interests; be it Computer Science learning coding on Raspberry Pi 3 computers or working with the Theatre Manager to learn technical skills relating to stage management.

Despite the vast array of activities for students both on-site and around Cornwall, we are passionate about taking our pupils’ personal development global to allow them to get the most out of life experiences. 

This summer, we took a group of students on a 30-day World Challenge Expedition, the culmination of an 18-month young person’s leadership and team development programme. The expedition involved treks across the Amazon and the Andean mountains and providing assistance to lesser-developed communities.

Sixth Form – Developing Leadership Qualities

When students enter our Sixth Form, they still have a whole host of extra-curricular activities open to them. However, with A-levels and the decision of which path to take next, we feel it is important to offer extra support. Sixth form can be an overwhelming time in a student’s life at school, which is why we introduced the ACHE programme. Standing for advice, care, help and empathy, it is a programme that enables Sixth Form students to develop the skills and experience needed to listen to others in their times of need. 

The course offers students the opportunity to learn basic counselling skills, over a 16-week training period, with an emphasis on developing their skills in listening to others. The students then have the responsibility of running the scheme as a service within the school the following year. It exposes students to a host of new situations and develops leadership skills that will not only be useful in their later lives, but sought after by future employers as well.

While academic study is important, we believe that Sixth Form is a time to grow as a person and become an active part of the community.

At Truro School we strive to give our pupils the best opportunities, both academically and culturally. In today’s society young people can leave school with straight A grades and still struggle in the real world; which is why we firmly believe in nurturing students wholeheartedly, both in and out of the classroom. 

W: www.truroschool.com

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