The final school bell rings to signal the end of the day. You head to the grassy lacrosse pitch, where you fling a hockey-sized ball into a miniature football goal… with a stick that looks like it has a netted head.
Or, you hop on the school bus to the clay shooting range. There, you carefully aim a shotgun at a clay pigeon or two (note: no actual birds are involved).
In Hong Kong, such extra-curricular activities (ECAs) often take the backseat to everything else. Owing to space constraints, schools are usually built on the grounds of efficiency, instead of variety.
Time presents the second barrier for further engagement in ECAs, with after-school traffic jams and academic revision that stretch long into the evenings.
For the UK, it is a different story. In particular, boarding schools are known for encouraging active participation in ECAs — not as a time-filler, but as a means to develop one’s personality, grit, and teamwork — all the soft skills to succeed at university and beyond.
How can students still study hard and find time to participate? Well, for one, sporting, music, equestrian centres and much more lie directly onsite at some boarding schools. Imagine walking ten minutes from your boarding house straight to the athletics track, with no taxis or buses involved. Or being a stone’s throw from the school building where the various society meetings are held.
Time is also saved with co-ordinated bus drives to off-site activities, such as Winchester’s Rifle Club, or Tonbridge’s Combined Cadet Force. Owing to the boarding nature of schools, such activities are able to take place during the daytime and on weekdays, rather than mere relegation to the weekends.
Consequentially, most if not all boarding schools are able to offer beyond a relatively limited range of ECAs. For example, captured below are current activities offered at top boarding schools Winchester College and Cheltenham Ladies’ College.
With a plethora of ECAs to best suit every student’s interest and growth, it caters to the physically demanding, the indoors intellectual, musically gifted, debate buff and more. Naturally, resting in-between classes is also an equally valid option.
As mentioned, boarding inevitably comes with the rare gifts of time and space for a high school student. ECAs are therefore designed to make the most of this, and returns the student ample opportunities in which to grow both themselves and others.
Janet enjoys teaching humanities subjects as well as Business Studies, Economics, English and Maths. Educated in both Hong Kong and England, she has helped students of all ages with interview and entrance exam preparation, university admissions in addition to IGCSE, A-Level and IB exams. Janet went to Wycombe Abbey before studying Land Economy at the University of Cambridge. Her extensive work experience from the education, property and financial sector enables her to work with students of all ages in an engaging manner.
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