In recent years, schools have put increasing emphasis and value on the enrichment programme they offer, and why it is so important. Our young people are living in a world of mounting pressure – to do well, to get ‘the grades’, to go on to successful careers, and to be actively engaged in the ‘what else’ at school.
The enrichment that our young people choose to get involved with can shape them as individuals, bring out confidence that they might not have had before, develop new skills, and offer a time for them to be themselves – to switch off from other pressures and enjoy doing what they’re doing. Equally as important, enrichment can significantly enhance a young person’s personal statement when applying for university – having built new and unique skills, their enrichment might give them that edge in the application process.
Maybe, in this world of mounting pressure, and more importantly than anything else, enrichment activities can be positive for a young person’s mental well-being – for that fixed period of time they are engaging in one of their chosen enrichment activities and not worrying about the other things. This may not be true of all enrichment, but pupils should be encouraged to engage in enrichment activities that are positive for their mental well being – this could be forest school, mindfulness, or anything else any individual enjoys and relaxes whilst doing. There are no set rules about which enrichment is right to promote positive mental health.
Here at Rye, we live by the motto Be Well, Do Well. If our young people are healthy mentally, they will achieve better in the long term. This year, for the first time, we have allowed time in the timetable for our pupils to take part in enrichment. This is important because it means they don’t have to do it on top of their full school day and homework. And, despite the ongoing challenges with the global pandemic, we are celebrating a full and varied enrichment programme for our young people this term. Each year group has upwards of 10 clubs/activities they can choose to be involved with. Our pupils are engaging with activities from knitting and crochet to badminton and football, debating, and strategic thinking.
We really do believe there is something for everyone, and if there isn’t, we do everything we can to arrange additional clubs to suit specific interests. Our enrichment programme also gives our older pupils a chance to run their own clubs and experience leadership in a field in which they have the expertise, thereby inspiring the younger pupils and fostering skills of teamwork and collaboration, helping to build the Rye community of which we are so proud.