Lessons in fun at Giggleswick School near Settle

Giggleswick pupils showcase what’s on offer this summer

Giggleswick pupils showcase what’s on offer this summer - Credit: Archant

Cookery, drama, sport and art – school is the place to be this summer.

The school concert band hits the right note on prize-giving day

The school concert band hits the right note on prize-giving day - Credit: Archant

School might be out for summer, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a whole heap of fun going on behind the gates.

Giggleswick School near Settle in North Yorkshire is one of a growing number of forward-thinking independents offering a range of summer courses to keep youngsters engaged and inspired during the holidays.

‘The atmosphere on the school’s campus over summer is buzzing and what makes me really proud is the variety on offer,’ said summer courses director James Wright. ‘Whether accustomed to a sport at a high level or trying it for the first time, our coaches take pleasure in working with all abilities and the same can be said of all the activities across the season.’

The extra-curricular summertime courses have been running for more than six years and have proved popular amongst children and their parents.

Bank CEO Alex Thursby, whose four children have all boarded at Giggleswick, joins headmaster Mark Tu

Bank CEO Alex Thursby, whose four children have all boarded at Giggleswick, joins headmaster Mark Turnbull on prize-giving day - Credit: Archant

This year, the programme includes a week-long cookery option for the first time, and an acclaimed drama tutor taking over the performing arts workshops.

Natalie Quatermass, who previously worked at Freedom Theatre in Palestine and as York Theatre Royal’s youth theatre director, trained in applied theatre at the renowned Central School of Speech and Drama after earning a distinction in the subject from York St John University.

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She’s taught more than 500 children and is looking forward to running drama courses at Giggleswick for 7-15 year olds this summer.

She’ll be joined by tutors in a range of other activities, including outdoor pursuits, tennis, hockey, cricket, golf, cookery and creative art.

The exciting summer programme is a key part of what Giggleswick headmaster Mark Turnbull described in his annual prize-giving day speech as ‘the importance of a well-rounded education that stretches beyond the classroom’.

‘Exams are significant, and we must do our very best to support children to achieve the best they can in these,’ he said. ‘But they actually just take you to the next step in life. Surely education in not just about this. As American psychologist BF Skinner suggests, ‘education is what remains after what you have learned has been forgotten’.

‘It’s the responsibility of schools to prepare all children to lead happy and fulfilling lives. Understanding that some of the most important parts of our education take place beyond the classroom not only starts to recognise what a good education should include but it also clearly shows how independent education is so well equipped to achieve this.’

More than 270 pupils were awarded prizes and honours in both academic and co-curricular subjects like sport, music and performing arts by guest speaker Alex Thursby, group chief executive officer of the National Bank of Abu Dhabi.

He lives with his family in Appleby, Cumbria, and has established a strong, 19-year connection with Giggleswick as four of his children have boarded there.

This particular prize-giving proved more emotional than most for Mr Thursby and his family as it also featured youngest daughter Georgina making a closing speech as deputy head of school.

After the prize-giving, parents, alumni and friends took the opportunity to enjoy a tour of the school to view pupils’ work, including impressive A-level art exam pieces, a kit car project, performances from the school band, design technology projects, science experiments, language displays and rehearsals for the school’s next production, Honk! w

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