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From Ms Allum

Commitment to Co-curricular Activities at SCEGGS

We have been having some discussions about co-curricular activities at SCEGGS, and how better to help girls understand the importance of commitment, reliability, teamwork and dependability in activities at School, and in life generally. We have become increasingly concerned about students who feel that they can sign up to activities, but turn up to two-thirds of trainings, rehearsals and practices (and indeed sometimes only to the actual game, performance or concert).

Why is commitment important? We all want SCEGGS girls to be accomplished, confident, competent, compassionate and ready to make a difference in the world – women of strength and character! We want them to be responsible, dependable, reliable, collaborative, good team players and people who can be counted on by those around them. Even when it means going out of your way or putting the needs of your team first, we think people of strength and character are people who follow through on the commitments they have made.

In the co-curricular program, we want girls to understand that, when they sign up to a group activity or a team, it is no longer just about them as an individual! They are making a commitment to fulfil their obligation to their teammates, to the staff running the activity and to the School. We want them to understand that it is important to follow-through because others are counting on them. We want them to understand that there are obligations which flow from agreeing to participate in something because “their word” actually means something and that a sense of commitment and obligation is important. And it is important to have grit and determination to push through when something gets difficult or you are tired or distracted.

We also think it is really important for the girls to learn that you can’t do absolutely everything in life – sometimes you will have to choose between two things you’d really love to do. And this means that sometimes, you will miss out too. We all have to help kids learn to make these sorts of tricky choices – and then be OK about missing out on other things. We also have to help them learn that how you do things matters - it is better to do a few things well, than a whole lot of things badly, half-heartedly or superficially.

From now on, there will be a change of rules and expectations for all School co-curricular activities. If a girl puts her name down for some activity, she will be expected to fulfil all requirements of that activity - 100%! We expect girls not to sign up for something if they already have another conflicting commitment, unless some arrangement is agreed between the staff involved beforehand.

We will be doing our “bit” too! We are working towards a better method of scheduling activities, particularly in the Secondary School, to try to avoid some clashes. Now there is so much on at SCEGGS that we won’t be able to do this entirely. Students will regularly have to choose between two or more activities (often times when they really want to do them all!). But we will be looking for ways to reduce clashes. We are also looking at some ways that might co-ordinate and centralise student choice and the method of enrolling in all the co-curricular activities at SCEGGS, so that students can see which activities are offered at the same time and understand the choices that they are making when they sign up to something. I’ll keep you informed about this initiative.

Now, we do understand that sometimes something completely unavoidable comes up – a funeral of a close relative, or an urgent medical appointment, for example. We expect that parents will request permission for any such Leave from Liz Cumming or me, in the same way that you would ask for a period of time for Leave from the ordinary school day. There will be a range of consequences for girls who don’t fulfil their obligations unless arrangements have been negotiated beforehand. I do want to make it clear that we will not give permission for girls to miss a prior commitment for a friend’s birthday party, or to celebrate a friend’s Bat Mitzvah or to go “trick-or-treating” for Halloween.

In our co-curricular program, commitment matters. And in life and work, we know just how important it is for our girls to learn how to be a reliable, dependable member of a group or team. We do expect parents to support us in this regard and ensure that their daughters understand the importance of their commitment to any team or group or activity they sign-up for, to give it 100% and to be a person of character who can be counted on by their teammates.

Jenny Allum
Head of School