Rise in pupils attending after-school clubs thanks to innovative new learning programme

THE number of pupils attending extra-curricular activities designed to support their health and wellbeing has surged in past months.

Ysgol Eirias has introduced designated weeks where Areas of Learning and Experience can host innovative activities and events to encourage learning and mindfulness outside of school hours.

Led by Assistant Headteacher Alex Metcalfe, the sessions are held on-site in Colwyn Bay, but wellbeing trips and educational overseas visits are also in the pipeline to build a stronger culture of togetherness post-pandemic.

As well as sporting activities and fixtures utilising their outstanding facilities, there will be cooking and nutrition lessons that will see pupils take the food they prepare home, ensuring vulnerable children from challenging backgrounds are guaranteed a warm, cooked meal.

“The pandemic had a huge impact on extra-curricular numbers as we were all in lockdown and self-isolation, so of course it’s understandable given the last few years that building those numbers up again was going to take time,” he said.

“But since the start of this academic year we have had a phenomenal response from pupils and parents, which has been really heartening.”

Mr Metcalfe added: “Having six weeks of the year dedicated to additional extra-curricular activities – with a set area responsible for each of those weeks – gives us a focus and foundation on which to build.

“The recent health and wellbeing week was very well-received, with more than 175 students from years seven, eight and nine attending – an incredible result.

“There is an appetite for out-of-school clubs and activities and given the unprecedented period we’ve all experienced and the pressures facing families in the region right now, it’s important we continue our work at the heart of the community, supporting them and vulnerable pupils when they need it most.”

Mr Metcalfe is proud their vision has been embraced, and hopes others follow suit in the future, as they also look to build on partnerships with the DofE and Careers Wales.

“We have reinvented what we do, reimagined the offering, and so far, it’s been a success,” he said.

“I must thank our amazing staff because many have organised fun and educational sessions, including photography and nutrition, using their expertise and interests.

“We are proud to be thinking outside the box and offering a greater range of activities alongside celebrating the new curriculum, engaging with our learners and improving their wellbeing, which is a top priority for us.”

Meanwhile, Ysgol Eirias has again been named among the Top 10 Sunday Times ‘Parent Power’ high-performing schools in Wales.

For more information on extra-curricular activities at Ysgol Eirias, visit www.eirias.co.uk and follow the new social media channel at @experienceeirias for a chance to win a £20 Adventure Parc Snowdonia voucher.