A rich academic education is vital, yes, but the co-curricular exposure is important too. Independent schools should strive to achieve on both fronts.
We believe that young people need a range of varied and challenging choices at all stages of their education. The so-called ‘soft skills’ developed by our co-curricular programme are as important as the academic skills when it comes to life beyond formal education.
Pupils at Canford are fortunate to benefit from excellent sporting and arts facilities and a broad choice of activities. Learn Real Tennis on one of the few original school courts in the country, ascend Mont Blanc with the CCF Army corps, leap from great heights on the school climbing tower, take to the stage in dramatic or musical roles, or even indulge a passion for beekeeping. The lively cultural enrichment programme includes visiting lecturers and inspirational trips designed to encourage pupils to debate and challenge perceived wisdom and broaden their intellectual and cultural horizons.
There is a strong programme of community action. Each week pupils take part in a variety of projects including working in primary schools, visiting the elderly, taking groups of inner city pupils on trips to the beach and outdoor activity centres and helping maintain hedgerows and green spaces in the local area. These activities are not confined to the local area. Each year a group of Sixth Formers raise money themselves and visit orphanages and village communities in India, Tanzania and Argentina to help improve the lives of those living there - assisting with building projects, teaching and playing with the children. These experiences have such a profound effect that some pupils choose to return to further their work in the orphanages after they leave Canford.
One can not tell whether balls or greasepaint or water or bees will fire the imagination but the opportunities and encouragement are there.