Extra Curricular

The Extra Curricular Diaries – Part 2

Things are always happening here both in and out of the classroom and I am really proud of the Extra Curricular programme that we have in Windsor Upper Schools. Despite being on my own in the department I have so many students who help me and support what I do and I wanted to feature that today.

This morning we had our regular Thursday morning Big Band rehearsal. This is a group of about 25 boys and girls who meet twice a week a 7.45 a.m. What I love about this group is that they are a real team and push each other – it is more geared towards experienced players and not anything to do with Year groups. At our rehearsals this morning we played through a piece that one of the students had arranged himself and it was just fantastic to listen to it and think about it coming from a student. It is a Disney Mashup in a Big Band style and it is really accomplished and quality writing. The group are loving playing it and I am loving having students take a lead. What I also love about Big Band is that students really do help to run the group and I regularly ask the Senior students to take charge if I can’t make it, or if I want to play Tenor Sax with the group.

Then at Lunchtime today I went over to Windsor Girls School for a girls choir rehearsal. When all there. 101 girls form the Girls Choir and what a sound they make. We meet twice a week on a Wednesday & Thursday lunchtime. We squeeze in to the drama studio and just sing. Currently we are singing something from Hamilton, Hairspray and Billy Elliot. Again I rely on students to really make this group work and I have  a handful of senior girls who really do help me. They inspire and lead and they also show the commitment that i want the younger students to grow up having. The girls choir is such a fun group to work with and we basically create the arrangements and harmonies as we go. So there is no paper involved at tall. Today we had our first rehearsal involving some “dancing”. It is more movement in some ways, but it is really going to bring one of the pieces to life – loads of fun too. One of my Year 12 girls volunteered to lead on this and has choreographed something for the song – and it was already looking fantastic today. It is so nice to take a step back and watch a student lead the group.


So for my second diary I wanted to highlight the value of getting students to really buy into your groups and also take a leading role. Get them arranging and leading and buying in to what you are trying to achieve. I know that if I was away for a day then the groups could still go on and be led by students. It is exciting to watch what happens when young people lead from the front. If you are thinking that you need a certain group in your school then maybe get a student to help. But if your groups are maybe lacking then make sure you raise up young leaders. You need the top end of the school to inspire the younger end and you need them to want to leave a legacy.

My day has been enriched by these groups, the early morning and the lack of a lunchtime is fine with me. Whilst they are turning up to rehearse I will just keep going. And I believe it helps with what I do in the classroom…but that is for the next diary.


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