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Recently at Huntington we have undergone a bit of an extracurricular revolution. The number of clubs available to our young people has been increased through the goodwill of our teaching and non-teaching staff and crucially the involvement of older pupils. Whilst the majority is Music and Sport, we have a diverse range of other options from Chess to Dungeons and Dragons, Philosophy Hub to Sustainability club.

The success we have achieved initially is very much down to utilising post-16 student leaders to co-run and even lead these clubs in the presence of an adult. What’s in it for them? From the enthusiasm seen in KS4 Basketball club sometimes just having new opposition and somewhere to play is enough. However, launching the SSAT’s Student Leadership Accreditation (SLA) with our sixth form this year has led to students looking for more opportunities to lead in their school community. We have purposefully linked leaders with their interests and like-minded peers, then the qualification encourages the students to cultivate their leadership skills, in turn encouraging them to be better self-regulators. They then set about improving themselves in line with the ten strands, collecting a portfolio of evidence as they go. Communicating the information about the ​menu’ of clubs and the organising staff member, meant the ball was then in their court to strengthen their skills and develop their portfolio.

The other, more well beaten path, is that we support students looking to complete their Duke of Edinburgh award. Doubling the number of students undertaking the award at our school has had two key effects on clubs. Firstly, more students are now looking for an opportunity to volunteer for this section of the Duke of Edinburgh qualification increasing the pool for potential club leaders. Secondly, it increases the chance that individuals will participate in the clubs to complete their Skill and/​or Physical sections.

Getting young people to participate so actively in clubs has a positive impact on how they feel about the community they are in. When they are involved in leadership this only increases their sense of belonging. This adds significant value to the culture of the school and encourages our young people to thrive and make a contribution both whilst they are with us at Huntington, and as they go out into wider society.

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