Enrichment

Enrichment essentially refers to all the extra-curricular activities (ECA) which our school offers. Some schools refer to them as co-curricular activities (CCA) and there is some rather pointless debate about nomenclature. Abingdon School, more ambitiously, calls these activities the Other Half.

This is completely accurate in our case, as this table shows, in that 8 of the 16 timetabled elements are mainstream curricular and 8 are co-curricular.

This page looks at our enrichment programmes in four main sections:

1. The IB Learner Profile: this is the IB Mission Statement in action; it outlines the character attributes we are aiming to develop.

2. Electives: opportunities for our student to follow their own interests - strengths-led learning.

3. Community Service: our commitment to giving something back.

4. PSHE and RSE: outlines what, how and why we provide these aspects of learning.

You can also find out about our Duke of Edinburgh scheme here.

We need first to be clear about the purpose of enrichment programmes. Traditionally,  schooling was understood to play two important roles: rigorous academic education and wider personal development - stretching and shaping, in other words. (The shape, if it was ever considered literally, would have been somewhat circular, as in 'well-rounded'. The only way to be simultaneously both stretched and rounded is to be a tube or perhaps a column ...) This shaping is known as 'character development' or 'character education'.

The Department of Education outlined in their Character Education: Framework Guidance (2019) four goals of character education:

 

1. The ability to remain motivated by long-term goals

2. An appreciation of the importance of long-term commitments (such as to spouse or vocation)

3. The learning of positive moral attributes, or 'virtues'.

4. The acquisition of social confidence and skills.

 

There is a long history of debate about 'virtues', going right back to Aristotle, revived recently by the Jubilee Centre in the School of Education at Birmingham University. A quick overview of Ancient, Medieval and Modern ideas shows how difficult it is to define universally agreed virtues and also reveals the complexity of Aristotle's thinking compared to other schemes. 

  • Aristotle distinguishes moral virtues from intellectual virtues, emotional from mental; each moral virtue is understood to be a Golden Mean between two extremes, one of excess, one of deficiency.

  • There are two separate traditions of virtue within Christianity: the Heavenly virtues and the Capital virtues. The Heavenly virtues themselves are a combination of the four classic Cardinal virtues and the three theological virtues.  The Capital virtues are better known as they are used as contrasts to the, even better known, seven deadly sins.

  • Benjamin Franklin very famously devised a self-improvement programme based on his own list of 13 virtues; he worked on each one for a week, so that in a year each virtue was practiced for 4 weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What all these models have in common is the idea that these virtues can, and should, be worked for. They are not innate and they improve with practice. The Roman orator and politician Cicero used the word humanitas to describe the formation of an ideal citizen who he believed should be educated to possess a collection of virtues of character suitable both for an active life of public service and a decent and fulfilling private life.

 

Humanitas is variously defined but most easily understood as "living like a human being" or simply "what is human". It is one of the central concepts of European culture, and inspired both the Renaissance (through Petrarch) and the Enlightenment (through Voltaire). In modern discourse it has been almost completely replaced by "fulfilling one's potential" which you read in almost every school prospectus. Not only is that 'potential' left unspecified and undefined, it also puts the focus squarely on the individual. The original intent of the term was exactly the opposite - to show the commonality between all humans at all times. As the Roman-African comic writer Terence said:


“I am human, and I think that nothing of that which is human is alien to me”

(“Homo sum, humani nihil me alienum puto")

This idea is picked up in the IB Mission statement when it says that its goal is for students to "understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right". More generally the idea of Humanitas as a teachable collection of virtues is exactly expressed in the IB Learner Profile.

To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.

- RL Stevenson (1882)

THE IB LEARNER PROFILE

 

As stated in the IB’s mission statement, the aim of all IB programmes is to develop internationally- minded people who help to create a better and more peaceful world. Within the Middle Years Programme (MYP), this is done through the IB Learner Profile.

As IB learners we all strive to be:

THINKERS

Students exercise initiative in applying thinking skills critically and creatively to recognize and approach complex problems and make reasoned, ethical decisions.

REFLECTIVE

Students give thoughtful consideration to their own learning and experience. They are able to assess and understand their strengths and limitations in order to support their learning and personal development.

INQUIRERS

Students develop their natural curiosity. They acquire the skills necessary to conduct inquiry and research and show independence in learning. They actively enjoy learning and this love of learning will be sustained throughout their lives.

COMMUNICATORS

Students understand and express ideas and information confidently and creatively in more than one language and in a variety of modes of communication. They work effectively and willingly in collaboration with others.

KNOWLEDGEABLE

Students explore concepts, ideas and issues that have local and global significance. In so doing, they acquire in-depth knowledge and develop understanding across a broad and balanced range of disciplines.

PRINCIPLED

Students act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness, justice and respect for the dignity of the individual, groups and communities. They take responsibility for their own actions and the consequences that accompany them.

RISK-TAKERS

Students approach unfamiliar situations and uncertainty with courage and forethought, and have the independence of spirit to explore new roles, ideas and strategies. They are brave and articulate in defending their beliefs.

OPEN-MINDED

Students understand and appreciate their own cultures and personal histories, and are open to the perspectives, values and traditions of other individuals and communities. They are accustomed to seeking and evaluating a range of points of view and are willing to grow from the experience.

BALANCED

Students understand the importance of intellectual, physical and emotional balance to achieve personal well-being for themselves and others.

CARING / EMPATHETIC

Students show empathy, compassion and respect towards the needs and feelings of others. They have a personal commitment to service, and act to make a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment.

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Katariina, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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It is pretty much impossible to remember this list, so we break it into two acronyms:

  • TRICK - essentially qualities of the Head (the first half of the list)

  • PROBE - essentially qualities of the Heart (the second half)

Schools are free to adapt or modify the list of desirable attributes in any way they choose. The obvious deficiencies we find are the essential qualities of the Hand: ​we add CREATIVE and PRACTICAL to our list.

This gives us three groups of four:

HEAD                 HEART                 HANDS

Thinkers              Principled              Creative

Reflective             Risk-takers            Practical

Inquirers              Open-minded      Communicators

Knowledgeable   Empathetic           Balanced

 

This work has been developed independently by ED-ucation.ca and is not endorsed by the International Baccalaureate

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Electives

Our current Electives are as follows:

  • Monday: Astronomy Spanish, French Culture, Personal Fitness Training, Exploring Science, Art

  • Tuesday: Philosophy, Financial Trading, Team Sports, Crafts

  • Wednesday: Exploring Music, Cooking Singing Fencing

  • Thursday: Creative Writing, Music - Recorders, Space Club

  • Friday: Team Sports, Art Mindfulness Guitar Lessons Drama

In the past we have also run Clubs in:

  • International Cookery

  • Visual Art

  • Eco club

  • Dance

  • Technology Club

  • Indoor Games

  • Sculpture

  • Fashion & make-up

  • Fashion design

  • Stage combat

  • Fresco Art

  • Stop frame animation

  • Craft and textiles

  • Choir

  • Kempo ju-jitsu

  • Electronics Club

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Community Service

The Purpose of Community Service

With appropriate guidance and support, MYP students should, through their engagement with service as action:

  • become more aware of their own strengths and areas for growth

  • undertake challenges that develop new skills

  • discuss, evaluate, and plan student-initiated activities

  • persevere in action

  • work collaboratively with others

  • develop international-mindedness through global engagement, multilingualism, and intercultural understanding

  • consider the ethical implications of their actions

 

All of these learning outcomes are closely associated with IB learner profile attributes and Approaches to Learning (ATL) skills.

Guidelines for Community Service

Students can start completing their service hours in August for the upcoming school year. All community service should be completed by mid-June of that school year. A minimum of 15 hours should be completed each year that a student is in the programme.

What Counts?

  • Volunteering for non-profit service organizations

  • Service Projects through Girls Scouts, Boy Scouts.

  • Other suggestions: ushering, teaching a children’s class, reading to the blind or elderly at a nursing home, campus clean-up, serving and/or cleaning up at soup kitchens, sorting food at community food banks, make greeting cards for nursing home residents, organise and run an event for preschool children.

What Doesn't Count?

  • Money or material donations, family duties, museum /theatre /exhibition visits (meaningful service within the IB MYP framework involves students giving their time to serve others in their community, either locally, nationally, or globally.)

Three great quotes from Booker T Washington

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"The happiest people are those who do the most for others. The most miserable are those who do the least."

– Booker T. Washington

"The world cares very little what you or I know, but it does care a great deal about what you or I do."

– Booker T. Washington

"If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else."

– Booker T. Washington

 
 
PSHE and RSE

Why do we teach PHSE? There are a number of reasons, from the legal to the moral. This section looks at the legal requirements.

Firstly, we teach PHSE because the government tells us to. The statutory requirement is in The Education (Independent Schools Standards) Regulations (2014). It starts very simply in Standard 2 with a list of six things which the written curriculum must both provide for and implement effectively. Third on that list is:

"personal, social, health and economic education which reflects the school’s aim and ethos"

And also, further down in sixth place on the list of things to be provided for:

"effective preparation of pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life in British society" [This is Standard 2(2)(i)]

Running through the Standards are two related themes: (a) Fundamental British Values (FBV) and (b) Protected Characteristics in the Equality Act 2010 (PCE).

(a) FBV. There is a duty in Standard 2 for the written curriculum not to undermine FBV [2(1)(b)(ii)], for teaching not to undermine FBV [3(h)(i)] and for the proprietor to actively promote FBV [5(a)].

(b) PCE. There is a second part to the requirement to teach PSHE which is that it must encourage "respect for other people, paying particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the 2010 Act" [This is Standard 2(2)(d)(ii)]; this is reiterated in the next standard, that teaching must not discriminate against pupils contrary to Part 6 of the 2010 Act [Standard 3(j)]; and also for the proprietor to actively promote principles which "encourage respect for other people, paying particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the 2010 Act" [Standard 5(b)(vi)].

We outline what we do to promote FBV here; the PCE which we do most work on is Disability and we outline our approach to neurodiversity here. There are 9 PCEs in total, listed below:

Sex                Sexual Orientation           Age

Race             Religious Belief                 Marriage

Disability    Gender Reassignment    Pregnancy

The rightmost column of three are characteristics which are unlikely to apply to pupils but do, of course, apply to staff. The middle column of three are clearly the most controversial and hotly, even bitterly, contested. The leftmost column are historically the first characteristics to have legal protection and therefore the most widely understood and accepted (Race in 1965, Sex in 1975 and Disability in 1995).

The whole of standard 5 is concerned with Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development of Pupils. Essentially it says that we must ensure that principles are actively promoted which do 7 things:

1. enable self-knowledge

2. enable moral judgments

3. encourage responsible behaviour

4. enable respect for the State

5. enable respect for Culture

6. encourage respect for PCE

7. encourage respect for FBV

Clearly many of these principles fall into the realm of the Personal and the Social, though not Health or Economic (neither of which are mentioned again in the Standards, except in the context of Health and Safety legislation. 

One unusual aspect of the legislation is that independent schools are required to teach PHSE but state schools are not (although in practice they do). New laws making SRE and Health Education compulsory in all schools, state and independent, took force in 2020.

Having looked at the legal requirement to teach PSHE we can now look at the other justifications, while asking whether there is any evidence that it works.

According to Ofsted the goal of PSHE "is to equip young people with the knowledge, understanding, attitudes and practical skills to live healthily, safely, productively and responsibly."

 

That four-fold distinction between Knowledge, Understanding, Skills and Attitudes (KUSA) is a foundation of the MYP and is described in detail in this page.

Ofsted reported in 2013 that PSHE education was "Not Yet Good Enough". Their headline figure was that in 40% of schools it Required Improvement or was Inadequate.

Nevertheless the revelations in 2020 and 2021 by Everyone's Invited of widespread, ingrained sexual misconduct, came as a shock to most commentators. By June 2021 it had received testimonies from 2,500 secondary schools. There are 4,000 state secondary schools in the UK so this would suggest problems at closer to 60% of schools than 40%.

In June 2021 Ofsted responded by releasing a report on sexual abuse in 32 schools. Among their findings: 

  • sexual harassment has become "normalised" among school-age children, with 90% of girls having experienced sexist name-calling or had been sent explicit photos or videos

  • more than two-thirds of girls said they endured unwanted touching "a lot" or "sometimes" 

  • 80% of  girls said they had been put under pressure to share sexual images of themselves

  • students often do not see the point of reporting abuse and many teachers underestimate the scale of these problems. 

 

The same review found that students are "seldom positive" about sex education in schools and that teachers' subject knowledge is "poor".

There is clearly a lot of work needed to make PSHE and RSE authentic and effective.

 

 

Inspecting Personal Development

The table below shows our own analysis of how the ISI and Ofsted criteria for judging Personal Development line up with each other:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By reducing the criteria to these six, it can easily be seen that the first two are the province of Personal, Social, Health & Economic (PSHE) while the last four are Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC). The next step is to see if they map to any overarching theme or model, or if they remain a random ragbag.

 

 

 

 

This, then, is the brief summary of well-being as defined in these rubrics:  being healthy, staying safe, enjoying one's interests  contributing positively, achieving economically (all the while respecting other's rights). It is not a bad prescription but I would be surprised if it fills anyone with a glow of enthusiasm.

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Further Information