Monkton isn’t just an all-round school, it is a school committed to all-rounders. Unlike many schools where 10% of children lead on 90% of activities, we actively seek and select those who want to play a game of hockey, then sing with the ‘Choir Who Can’t Sing’, then head off to a play rehearsal before conservation club or fencing.
Whatever the choice, our co-curricular activities encourage commitment, inspire curiosity and engender collaboration, skills that will serve our students for life. We see these skills as an extension to the learning which our pupils do in their academic pursuits, and encourage them to reflect on how each enriches the other.
Monkton pupils develop their leadership skills by joining teams, committees and societies and everybody understands what it means to be a leader and the distinction between skills and personal qualities.
Recent co-curricular achievements include a National Champion at Intermediate Eventing, a World Cup Skeleton competitor, a GB rower, Somerset under 18 rugby players and members of the U17 England Hockey Performance Centre.
Last year more than half of Year 9 completed their Bronze Duke Of Edinburgh and 29 Sixth Form pupils achieved their Gold Duke awards and we had two very strong teams competing in the Ten Tors challenge.
Nearly all of Year 9 and 10 and 75% of our Sixth Form compete in sports fixtures at the weekend and we have had individual sporting success with tennis players who have international ranking points, netballers playing for the junior Team Bath and regional sides, Bath Rugby development players, Somerset rugby players, and Wiltshire, Somerset and Gloucestershire male and female cricketers.
We have members of the National Youth Theatre and Bath Abbey choir and 44% of our pupil body play a musical instrument or take individual LAMDA lessons. Ten students took their Grade 8 last year, with two completing their Advanced certificate in their musical instrument. Two pupils also gained distinction in Grade 8 ballet. 29 students completed their gold Duke of Edinburgh award.
Enrichment, Activities and Societies
There are many co-curricular activities on offer, ranging from Ceramics and Metal Detecting to Esports, Rocket Club and Bee Keeping. Pupils get a chance to learn from specialists including our fantastic chefs and catering team in Culinary School, Industry experts in Film Team and Theatre and opportunities to work towards qualifications in our Outdoor Education programme including climbing and sailing. There are also a wide variety of sports on offer, such as Archery, Ultimate Frisbee, Fencing, Table Tennis and also sessions at a local Golf Club. So, whether pupils want to take part in physical activities or join a society with an academic focus such as the Clarke Society, the Dearlove Society, Rhetoric, the Biggar Society, the Marshall Society or the International Committee of Monkton, there is something for everyone. Many pupils benefit from the opportunity to develop leadership skills, perhaps as a captain of a sports team, a head of a society or through activities such as Duke of Edinburgh. Many learn the value of service through a charity, work experience or community focus.
Duke of Edinburgh Award
During Year 9 all pupils have the opportunity to take on the Bronze award. This involves two challenging expeditions to the Mendip Hills and the South Cotswolds. Those who wish to can then go on to the Gold award as soon as they turn 16. This involves a 4 day expedition to the Brecon Beacons in year 11, followed by an expedition to Dartmoor and then finally the assessed expedition in Snowdonia at the end of Year 12.
As well as taking part in expeditions to develop self reliance and perseverance in the outdoors, the Award scheme encourages young people to learn new skills, take part in a physical activity and volunteer in the local community. Pupils have taught Sunday School, raised funds for charity, helped with first aid at school events and done odd jobs for older members of the village community as part of their volunteering.
Combined Cadet Force (CCF)
Monkton is one of the few schools to operate a full Combined Cadet Force. From year 10 onwards our pupils are able to join the Army, Navy or RAF sections and can choose to join our REME section in Year 11.
The CCF aims to develop responsibility, resilience, discipline, courage, adventure, teamwork, independence and leadership through a mixture of military and non-military activities. Each section will participate in two field days during the year: we aim to get off-site, often to military bases or training areas, to put training into practice in the field. There are annual training camps for all three sections which also offer outdoor activities such as shooting, orienteering, rock climbing, abseiling, canoeing, gliding, flying, hiking, night exercises and RYA sailing courses at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth.
The CCF offers many opportunities to gain external qualifications in these areas through camps and courses that are run by the RN or through Cadet Adventure at Capel Curig throughout the year.
Monkton Mountain Challenge
2022 saw our first Monkton Mountain Challenge. Aimed at developing a love for the outdoors, development of skills and challenge in mountainous areas less often visited by DofE groups and previously our Ten Tors training. The Monkon Mountain Challenge involves two training trips to the Brecon Beacons in March and Dartmoor in April to work on organisation, stamina, navigation and skills and confidence required on steep ground. The third trip in May has seen us visit the Lake District and Snowdonia with less of an emphasis on expedition skills and more of a focus on challenging day walks on steep ground, involving a degree of scrambling and exposure. Teams learn to work together to communicate and assist each other on some fairly challenging routes. The trip is a highlight of the year for those involved and we hope will give pupils skills, confidence and a desire to enjoy these environments more in the future.