One of the key features of Whitehill’s philosophy is to be able to offer all children activities which are extra to the National Curriculum. Both children and teachers gain enormously from these as they offer an opportunity to widen the children’s experiences outside the normal constraints of formal lessons but within familiar surroundings and with friends.
We are very fortunate to have staff who volunteer to run most of these activities in addition to their other school commitments. However there are a few areas where we are not able to offer expertise so we have arranged partnerships with professional organisations for these activities.
At this stage it is vital that we emphasise that after school activities must never be used as an alternative to after school care as sometimes clubs have to be cancelled at short notice. After school arrangements must be made to allow for such eventualities. We do advise parents that where cancellation of a club would present significant difficulties it would be better for their child not to join.
When are the Clubs held?
Clubs for Years 3 and 4 are held mainly in break and lunchtimes during the school day. There are some activities which run after school and it is essential that these year groups have suitable after school care arrangements to allow for unexpected cancellations.
Clubs for Years 5 and 6 mostly take place after school as there is an expectation that the children will able to make their own way home independently if a club is cancelled at short notice.
Clubs run by outside organisations after school hours provide contact numbers for parents.
Clubs do vary from term to term as they run thanks to the goodwill of the staff. Whitehill prides itself on the range and variety of activities offered and likes to remain flexible so that we can cater for new opportunities as they arise. Also the commitments of staff can vary from term to term so that some clubs can become no longer viable.
Clubs and Activities – Who can join?
There are clubs and activities available to all ages within the school.
Most clubs and activities are available for all abilities but there are a few exceptions. Later in the year, in the netball and football clubs, children are chosen for their ability to play for the school teams. The choir is open to all comers but they must want to sing! Children who can play an instrument are invited to join the school orchestra.
It is an expectation that if a child joins a club then they will attend for the whole term and if they are unable to attend that either the adult running the club or the office is notified.
How much will it cost?
The clubs and activities run by outside organisations are chargeable. The charges for these are substantially less than commercial fees because the school offers the site free of charge. The children benefit from these reciprocal arrangements. These clubs may have different start and finish dates to those organised in school. These need a termly commitment payable in advance on the first session to the organiser.
What to do next
With so many activities available it can be difficult to decide which to choose. For children who are just starting at the school there are many new experiences and unfamiliar faces to get used to. The clubs do not begin until the third week back in September and the second week back in the spring and summer terms so there is time for the children to consider what they would like to do and to discuss their choices with parents. Announcements are made in assembly for interested children to go to meetings and letters are given out in those meetings for parents to give permission if appropriate. We do encourage children to sign up for the clubs themselves as this is all part of gaining independence in school.
If there are too many children wishing to join a club, places may be awarded on a first come, first served basis and a waiting list is created. Children do drop out of clubs and very few children are prevented from joining if they wish to. Alternatively names may be drawn out of a hat.
Don’t Panic! If a child misses an announcement or meeting but would still like to join, providing there are places, they can join most clubs at any time by seeing the adult running the club. If there are no places their name will be added to the waiting list.
Different clubs may run during the school year. Children must listen out for announcements of new activities or ones that may have to be withdrawn and look on the club noticeboard. Sometimes new clubs cannot start if too few people show an interest.
Photography Club – An Example of What We Do
One of the clubs we ran in 2023 was a lower school photography club. This was supported by two parents and professional photographers, Mrs Chown and Mrs Dent. It was great fun and the pupils got so much out if it. Have a look at the presentation below as I think you will be impressed by the quality of the work produced:
Our peripatetic music lessons are generally arranged through Herts Music Service but of course, should you have a question or need some help, please do come and ask at the school office. It might be that you qualify for some support with the fees. We should be able to point you in the right direction.