As I work in an independent school, extra-curricular activities are quite high on the agenda, and they do have a very positive impact upon our students. In fact, until this year, we had an hour built in every day for clubs and activities, before the last two lessons of the day. This year, Activity Period will become part of a long lunch of 1 hour and 20 minutes. The benefit of having this built into our school day is that every pupil gets the chance to take part in something, as all pupils still finish school at the same time (4pm), and there are only occasional things on after school, such as sporting fixtures or drama/music practice for specific events.
One of the activities offered by my school is the CCF: Combined Cadet Force. We have three sections: army, navy and RAF and I have become involved in the Navy section. This summer I had a week away at Royal Britannia Naval College, where I attended the Officers’ Initial Training Course with 24 other colleagues who had recently joined a naval section at their respective schools. We had the opportunity to do so many things, many of which I have watched my pupils have the chance to do, with me just standing on the sidelines, not feeling very confident at giving things a go, for fear of making a fool of myself. I was wearing the uniform, but not really knowing what I was meant to me doing. Now, I feel as though I understand exactly what I am doing, I know how to wear my uniform correctly, I know how to salute (Navy,’palms inwards) and I know how to take drill. It takes me back to my days as a member of JLGB where I spent many a fun Monday doing activities and then proudly putting my uniform on and doing drill. Now, I am an adult doing the same thing and I think that any child involved in cadets (CCF, Sea Cadets or the Army Cadets) is very lucky indeed. There are so many things on offer for them to do – in fact, once of our pupils did a diving course this summer at a very low cost) and it gives them a real sense of leadership, and teamwork, two very vital skills in this day and age. Just to give you a taster, this summer, I manage to: sail, take out a picket boat and a whaler and drive a warship (P2000) out at sea (see the picture below – the big silver ones are the P2000s). We did lots of PLTS (leadership) activities and also did lots of drill in preparation for the Second Sealord’s visit to the establishment on our final Saturday, when we were on parade and inspected. The entire experience was amazing, and I will be telling my pupils all about my amazing week away.