Mrs Julie King, the new Head of Elleray Campus, the Preparatory division of Windermere School, says she will…
Extra-curricular activities are a large part of daily life at Windermere School. Each term, there is a long list of well planned and enriching activities on offer to recognise the interests and skills of all students. After school activities are offered every weekday until 5.30pm, with further options available until 7.00pm. The majority are arranged on the campus, however, there are quite a few off site options where school buses provide transport. The weekends are filled with sporting fixtures, fell walks, sailing and more, all of which are led by well qualified and dedicated staff.
Sport is an integral aspect of our healthy ethos and appreciation of the outdoors at Windermere School. We are proud to have many students that have excelled exceptionally and play at County and National levels. The programme of sports activities include team sports, coaching sessions, sports play days and sports tours.
The Music department offers a wide range of organised group musical activities which include the orchestra, chamber ensembles for string and wind instruments, junior and senior choirs, a madrigal group and jazz, flute, string and saxophone groups. Our Music activities programme involves a wide range of choirs, groups and workshops.
Drama and Dance
Our Dance and Drama activities include Speech and Drama lessons, theatre visits and opportunities to participate in or support performances.
Clubs and Societies
Students at Windermere School are never short of opportunities to develop their interests outside the classroom by participating in one of many clubs and societies that operate each term.
Clubs and Societies
There are many clubs and societies that meet regularly in activity time. These can change a little from time to time as we work hard to capitalise on staff expertise and to meet student demands and interests. At the time of writing, the following are regular weekly clubs but not all clubs will operate during the busy summer outdoor term, whist other clubs requiring the outdoors and light will only operate in the summer and early autumn term.
Craft Club: provides the opportunity for projects such as greetings card making. Scenery Painting: happens when scenery is required and only open to those who can assist in the appropriate way. Art Club: two different age groups, Junior and Senior. Prop Making: this again is a seasonal activity that operates prior major school productions.
Climbing Club: one advanced and one junior. Watersports – Sailing and kayaking takes place every evening in the summer and early autumn terms. There are also watersports sessions on a Saturday.
Horse Riding: open to all (extra cost included). Golf: a newly introduced club where students have the opportunity to have lessons at the local Golf Club. Archery Club: open to all during the Spring Term. Basketball, Volleyball, Dance and Table Tennis Clubs: open to all ages. Fell Running: open to all ages.
Other Clubs and Societies
Book Club/Creative Writing Club: is open to younger students and gives them a chance to review books or enjoy writing. Debating Society: prepares students for competition, internally, socially and at national level. French Conversation: is open GCSE level students. Maths Club: encouraging the able mathematicians to enjoy and extend their skill. This leads to competition. Speech and Drama Club: helping student towards the examinations.
Weekend activities are varied and opportunity is provided for those outdoor activities needing longer hours, sporting fixtures, specialist activities and fun. Off-site they can vary from cinema visits, to the more energetic bowling or ice skating, to the hair-raising theme park visit or Premier League football match. Visiting musicians or dancers can offer their specialist skills, roller blading, or circus skills have been included, and evening social events such as discos, karaoke and quizzes are regular.
Sport is an integral aspect of our healthy ethos and appreciation of the outdoors at Windermere School. We are proud to have many students that have excelled exceptionally and play at County and National levels.
Activity Sessions and Teams
Team practices and activity sessions are offered in a wide range of sports activities and are tailored to the appropriate needs of the different age groups. The major competitive sports are netball, hockey, football, tennis, cricket and athletics, in which regular competitive opportunities are provided and support is given to the many students who participate at County level and beyond. Basketball, rounders, cross-country running, volleyball and rugby are popular club sports at the school. Riding is offered as a recreational activity within the activities programme and the school supports many serious competitors who are involved up to international level.
Sports Play Days
These are organised from time to time in order for students to benefit from the expertise of high level performers and coaches.
National and International sports tours have been organised for senior students. Throughout the years students have enjoyed competing in Barbados, South Africa, Spain and France.
The Music department offers a wide range of organised group musical activities which include the orchestra, chamber ensembles for string and wind instruments, junior and senior choirs, a madrigal group and jazz, flute, string and saxophone groups. Individual music tuition is available and as varied as the playing of the harp to rock guitar. Some individual instrumental lessons are arranged outside of academic lesson time and the opportunity for individual practice is encouraged for all musicians at this time. The school is a centre for Associated Board and Rock School exams. The opportunity for performance is important for all musicians and vocalists and a varied programme meets the needs of all levels. Internally, vocalists lead the school in the morning assemblies as members of the choir, perform in concerts for parents and take to the stage during the Inter-House Performing Arts Competition and most spectacularly in the annual musical production. Our good links with the local community have meant that students have performed major works, by joining forces with larger choirs. Recently we gave two performances of Gloria by Vivaldi. The reputation of the choir is such that they are much in demand for local weddings, as are some of our senior soloists. Likewise our musicians enjoy many of the same openings, starting from individuals performing in morning assemblies to the more experienced performers being members of the professional orchestra accompanying the school musical. Each year the parents are invited to a summer concert when performers of all levels and disciplines can be enjoyed. Each year, participation in musical festivals gives the opportunity for both vocalists and instrumentalists to compete. The Mary Wakefield and South Cumbria Festivals have been regular venues, and most recently the Carlisle Music and Drama Festival has been added. Many of our students have enjoyed great success at these festivals.
To extend the expertise and inspire the pupils, weekend and day long workshops are arranged. Atarah Ben Tovim is a regular visitor; other specialists such as the Scottish Flute Trio have led flute weekends; Richard Ingham recently led a Jazz Weekend; and previously Deborah Catterall, trainer of the National Youth Choir, inspired our vocalists. Most recently a percussion day gave specialist guidance in orchestral and African drumming. Trips to concerts and other musical occasions are provided for the students. Classical events held at Bridgewater Hall in Manchester have been much enjoyed and a visit to Music Live at the N.E.C. Birmingham led to the formation of student-led group who now perform at the top the bill at our own school prom. International Music Tours are one of the highlights offered to our musicians. In recent years a large group has been to Barcelona and Venice where they performed for local audiences, enjoyed the culture and occasionally some sun and relaxation. The school is supportive of students playing and singing in local and national orchestras and choirs and are always looking for new opportunities.
Key Stage 3, GCSE Drama and IB Theatre Studies are popular subject choices in the curriculum. A variety of wide ranging topics lead to end of term assessments at KS3. GCSE Drama and IB Theatre Studies are actively involved in Internal class-initiated projects that lead to internal performances of a high calibre, to prepare for their exams and for the grander and more public performances – most recently ‘Hairspray’, ‘Sweet Charity‘, ‘Footloose‘ and ‘White Christmas‘. Every year, the Drama/Theatre, Art and Music departments combine forces to produce a major musical which is performed to public audiences in December. The Spring Term offers the opportunity for student led performances in the Inter-House Performing Arts Competition in early February and the term ends with the more serious senior drama production. In the summer term the attention is turned towards the Drama Club which is given the opportunity to perform a small scale production to the whole School.
Speech and Drama Lessons
Individual and small group Speech and Drama lessons are available to students at an extra cost and many of our students take this opportunity and successfully achieve high grades in their LAMDA examinations.
Visits to theatres both near and far are arranged to enrich the programme by offering enjoyment, while enriching the vision of the students. This year’s GCSE Drama and IB Theatre Studies students journeyed to London to see ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Hairspray’ on stage to help develop their knowledge and understanding of theatre, returning determined and inspired.
LIPA – Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts
At the end each academic year the school is in a unique position to offer students’ the opportunity to view a live public performance presented by LIPA 4:19 Drama Company here at the school. Any Windermere School students who wish to be a part of the Drama Company are provided with sufficient advise and details on the audition process that provides talented performers with this wonderful opportunity.
The Schools performing arts are backed by an able group of students who prefer to work out of the limelight. Stage lighting, prop production and backstage management are all undertaken by our older students.
Dance is an established activity that benefits from an excellent purpose-built studio and from the high level of expertise offered by our dance teachers, who are specifically employed to meet the required range of disciplines and levels of expertise of our students. All grades of ballet instruction and different levels of tap and jazz dance are currently on offer to the studentss, in which they can be prepared for the appropriate examinations. The students are given the opportunity to perform in shows and there is a wealth of volunteers and expertise readily available to choreograph routines for the annual School musical production. Such is the passion and commitment of the dancers that they are able to transfer their skills and choreograph routines, which are a much appreciated part of the student-led yearly Inter-House Performing Arts Competition.
The first time my daughter and I visited the school she said to me “that is a happy school no question.” The scholastic achievements of the school are evident and an easy measure for a school to demonstrate. What is hard to quantify is the holistic development of a pupil at which, in my experience, Windermere School excels.
Windermere School is such a unique community to be a part of. Not only is it based in a truly beautiful and inspiring national park, but the environment created by staff and students alike makes for an incredibly supportive, proactive, exciting and international place of learning in which everyone can thrive and be the best they can be.