Extracurricular activities during a cost-of-living crisis? Yes, it is possible



By Sue-Ellen Lamb, Head of School – Race Leys Junior School

One of the main goals of the education sector is to enrich and improve the lives of all students. This includes reaching out to support the wider community and is a major part of the way that Race Leys Junior School, part of the Griffin Schools Trust, operates.

Let’s explore how Race Leys creates a welcoming, nurturing and inspiring place for students and the community, and how important this is in the current climate.

What does Race Leys Junior School do?

Race Leys is positioned in an area of deprivation yet strives to offer opportunities often only experienced by the most affluent in our society. The school has a particular focus on culture-led education, teaching students about the importance of values throughout wider society. These values extend beyond the classroom, with Race Leys offering further support such as music and dance lessons, VR classrooms, swimming lessons on-site, and fully funded trips.  This culminates in a culture that is highly aspirational, and one that provides our pupils with a plethora of opportunities that are far above and beyond the normal day to day curriculum.

Music and dance lessons

Having skills beyond academia is a fundamental cornerstone of a child’s development. After all, growing a talent in playing the violin or ballet dancing means that a students can widen their horizons and learn to develop their creativity and imagination. These are not only activities to look forward to, but in some cases opportunities to enrich the rest of their lives. As a part of the Griffin School Trust, music in which children learn an orchestral instrument and dance lessons supported by the Royal Ballet are a significant part of Race Leys Juniors’ offering.

VR classrooms

Teachers draw on their own creativity when planning the most engaging ways for young to learn, and the more complex the subject matter, the more creative teachers try to be. VR lessons, with VR headsets for a full class, are an excellent way of providing that support to students. By entering the world of virtual reality, students have a more active and appealing environment around them, delving deeper into their subject thanks to this greater level of immersion, in ways simply not possible in the real world. This is a proven way to help children to learn more and remember more.

On-site swimming lessons

Having opportunities outside the classroom is a necessity, especially when those opportunities involve learning major life skills. The recently installed pool at Race Leys provides students with the opportunity to learn how to swim at a much more rapid pace, with daily lessons, and even opens the potential for several extracurricular clubs and groups.

Trip funding

The school funds all the trips that students take part in, and this has been the case since well before the cost-of-living crisis. School trips are opportunities to integrate lessons into the real world and show students that what they are learning has a tangible impact. Race Leys is prioritising these trips as a pillar of students’ education, the impact is proven and everyone in the school community benefits.

The school budgets prudently to enable the children to experience as many wonderful things as possible during their time at Race Leys. From trips to Harry Potter World to annual arts festivals, from theatre trips to sports festivals, the goal is to help children develop a sense of curiosity and open new horizons for them through the art of exploring and discovery.

Why this support matters

The support that the Griffin School Trust, and schools like Race Leys Junior, has to offer is vital, especially now. The cost-of-living crisis means that parents are increasingly anxious, having to make choices between heating and eating with education and enrichment suffering as a result.

Parents are struggling enough and as a school it is a responsibility for us to, not only educate children, but also support our families in any way we can. No parent wants to say no to a trip for their children and it shouldn’t ever be the case to have to choose between bills and new experiences for children.

Race Leys looks to take as much of this burden away as possible, offering free extra-curricular support and activities so no student gets left behind.