This fundamental feature of Wellingborough life is termed ‘co-curricular’ because active participation outside the classroom complements pupils' work and the School believes that it is integral to achieving both academic success and developing as a rounded person.
We have a strong emphasis on active participation beyond the traditional sporting pursuits. Our aim is to stimulate pupils with a range of experiences. We do not seek to attract pupils who need to be led by the hand and the School does not suit "shrinking violets". We do not allow pupils to "drift" or "coast" and we deliberately challenge. We expect pupils to be involved in the myriad of opportunities outside the classroom and as such we operate, in effect, a 6 day week; in the case of many pupils this can even be 7 days' involvement in School activities in the sense that, in addition to weekly activities, weekends provide a wealth of opportunities for rehearsals for Drama and Musical Theatre, CCF and Duke of Edinburgh expeditions, Debating and Public Speaking and Young Enterprise presentations. The Chapel Choir sings at a number of Sunday services during the year.
Having begun in 1900, the School’s Combined Cadet Force has a distinguished history. Currently under the leadership of Lt Col S. Garfirth and C Sgt P J O’Hanlon, the CCF contains separate Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army and Royal Air Force sections. The CCF has a number of facilities on site, including an indoor, four lane shooting range.
The CCF aims to develop cadets' personal qualities and leadership. Training promotes responsibility, self-reliance, resourcefulness and a sense of service to the School community. In addition, it is intended to give cadets background knowledge of life in the Services. It is compulsory for all Year 9 pupils to take part in the CCF from the beginning of the Lent term, with training taking place during the Easter break. Pupils remain in the CCF until Year 10 and can choose whether to stay on further at the end of the academic year. Those who do carry on in the CCF receive the opportunity of leadership training during Year 11 and promotion prospects through the programme are available for those who exercise ability, positive attitude and involvement, offering them the chance to become Non-Commissioned Officers or higher ranks if they choose to stay in the programme during Sixth Form.
Throughout their time in the CCF there are camps, exercises and courses for all Cadets to attend. Some are run by the experienced School CCF staff and others are run by the military. All are excellent and safety is always of paramount importance.
We regularly take pupils on day trips to historic sites, museums, galleries, theatres, lectures etc. to support the curriculum. Year 9 pupils visit the First World War battlefields of Ypres and the Somme, and each year there are a number of trips abroad organized by other academic Departments. Fieldwork visits are a regular feature of the work of some Departments. The Music Department organizes a series of visits for the Chapel Choir to sing at prestigious venues, and for other ensembles.
We send sports teams on fixtures during term time, and frequently on international tours during the School holidays. Ski trips also take place during the School holidays in most years. Occasionally the School or individual Houses may organize expeditions or cultural exchanges to foreign destinations. Parents may be invited into the School for a full briefing before their son or daughter departs on a trip overseas.
We have an active Duke of Edinburgh Award programme from Year 11, involving a range of outdoor activities, services and skills at Silver level. Many of our Year 12 and 13 pupils pursue the more advanced Gold Award, which also involves a residential project.
Our CCF is open to all pupils from Year 9 upwards and provides opportunities to take part in activities in the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army and Royal Air Force sections. These will include weekly training visits, weekend exercises and military camps. Some of these take place in the School holidays. An annual Adventure Training exercise is arranged for all pupils in Years 9 and 10 in the last week of the School year.
A large number of our pupils take part in trade fairs, competitions and business meetings organized as part of the Young Enterprise initiative. Similarly our debating and public speaking teams compete frequently at local and regional level.
The School calendar lists many of the trips and fixtures that are due to take place over the coming term, though others may be arranged at short notice. Wherever possible we endeavour to publish details of planned trips and activities well in advance to all parents of pupils of the relevant year group or cohort.
Providing our pupils aged between 14 and 25 with a unique opportunity to participate in challenges and adventure whilst acquiring new skills. The importance of commitment, enterprise and effort is quite apparent and young people learn a good deal about themselves and learn to appreciate the enjoyment of working with and for other people. Many organisations look very favourably upon a pupil’s successful completion of the Awards because of the maturity and independence which participation demands.
There are three levels to the Award: Bronze, Silver and Gold. At each level every participant must complete a sustained period of time engaged in a service activity, physical education, developing a skill and undertaking a rigorous expedition in a small team in order to build confidence, a team ethic, and self-sufficiency. At Gold level, participants must also complete a residential course. We work in conjunction with the local authority and this enables our own trained and qualified staff to provide a thorough safety mechanism for participants.
The Award is a challenging programme. Meeting deadlines and participating in certain school-based activities is part of the experience. Not everyone is able to complete their Award; but for those that do, they will have achieved something of which they can be very proud.
Young Enterprise empowers pupils in Year 10 and Lower Sixth to harness their personal and business skills. The experience makes the connection between school and the world of work, enabling young people to develop the knowledge and attitudes they need to succeed, building on 8 key skills:
- Financial Capability
Joining a Young Enterprise Company provides pupils with the opportunity to learn about the realities of the business world, test their own ideas, skills and ability to cope with new and often difficult situations. This enables pupils to stand apart from their peers and document competency based evidence of their achievements to prospective Higher Education establishments and employers.
The initial stages of the formation of the company include the election of various roles such as Managing Director, Finance Director, Marketing Director and IT Director. The Company operates for a year during which time it establishes itself promoting and selling a product or service of its own creation. During the course of the year there will be the opportunities to sell the chosen product at local trade fairs. Companies also enter the National Company Competition which could culminate in competing in Europe. Marketing and sales, finance management, customer relationship management and project and people management are just some of the areas experienced and reflected on by the pupils.
Wellingborough School companies have enjoyed extensive success frequently winning trophies at Area and County levels and this year winning the County Final to compete at the Regional Finals at Loughborough University. In the process, each company produces an interim company report, organises a display and makes a presentation. At the end of the year the company is formally liquidated and presents a report and accounts.
To further bolster our support, we are fortunate to have representatives from Microsoft coming in to advise and support any computer science based ideas that the companies explore. Should you be interested in becoming an adviser or sponsor please contact Mrs G Scott and she will be happy to talk with you about the opportunities.
"Being a part of Young Enterprise has been thoroughly rewarding. Even those of us who aren't A level business students have learnt lifelong skills, to be applied to other careers. By attending trade fairs, selling shares, writing a company report, and presenting our Company presentations, we have been given a clear insight into what the business world is like in reality. We are grateful to have been given the opportunity to set up a company at the age of just 16. Through the good times, and the bad, we have learnt to be resilient, to stay positive and to value each and every team member. We have not just grown together as a company, but as people too. All of us are extremely proud of how far we have come since the beginning of this process in September. The array of awards we have won have represented our successes, however, at the end of the day, it is not about the physical awards but the self-satisfaction that we have felt from our efforts that have made it all worth the while. We urge anyone with the slightest interest in business to take part in this amazing programme, as you will learn skills that simply cannot be learnt in a classroom."
A strong tradition in Public Speaking and Debating is maintained by the School, with teams entered each year into Rotary Youth Speaks Intermediate and Senior competitions, the ESU’s Churchill National Public Speaking Competition for Schools and the ESU’s Schools’ Mace Debating Championship for Schools.
An internal, junior level competition for pupils in Years 9 and 10 each summer enables all of them to experience the dual challenge of both writing a short speech and delivering it effectively in front of a discerning audience. In turn, good numbers of boys and girls take up further opportunities within the School’s Enrichment programme and competition for external competition team places is fierce.
Public Speaking, in particular, has produced several teams in recent years which have been either national winners, or national finalists.