Independent schools: the importance of extracurricular activities

Children in Kent College swimming pool

The extracurricular activities on offer at Kent College Junior School gives children the chance to explore new interests and expand their skills - Credit: Ady Kerry

With specialist teachers, small class sizes and a personalised learning experience, an independent school education has numerous benefits for a child’s development. But equally appealing, for both pupils and their parents, are the activities that take place outside of the classroom. 

Many progressive private schools offer an abundance of extracurricular opportunities before and after school, giving children the chance to explore new interests and expand their skills.

Children at Kent College relaxing on a sports field

Kent College has extensive sports grounds where children can take part in a variety of outdoor activities - Credit: Ady Kerry

From the start of their school journey, pupils at Kent College, Canterbury are encouraged to take part in a range of after school clubs, including sport, drama, art, dance and music. “The breadth of our extracurricular programme allows students to build their skills in areas which they already enjoy or try something new,” says Simon James, head of the Junior School. “Our philosophy of inclusivity is at the heart of our programme, with 50 different clubs for children to choose from.” 

Something for everyone

Children playing music in the orchestra

Pupils can learn performance and musical skills in the school's orchestra - Credit: Kent College

The diversity of extracurricular activities offered by independent schools gives all pupils the chance to find their passion, whether they’re a budding artist or athlete in the making. Children at Kent College can explore the arts through drawing classes and sewing, develop their IT skills with touch typing and iPad classes, perfect their performance skills by joining the pop choir and orchestra, or practice their writing skills in the young authors club.  

From an early age, children learn about health, teamwork and competition through the range of sporting opportunities available. As well as football, netball, hockey, tennis and cricket, Kent College offers a broad choice of specialist sports. “We want to encourage children to find something they are good at so we rotate different sports during the year, including fencing, swimming, cross country, basketball, dynamic dance and aerobics,” says Simon. 

The opportunity to succeed  

Extracurricular programmes at independent schools are delivered by specialist teachers who are passionate about their subjects and provide personalised support to help talented children reach their potential. “All of our clubs are run by skilled staff who know the children and ensure their subjects are presented in an engaging and fun way,” says Simon. “This allows pupils to build on their academic education and compete at a high level in their chosen activity, while also preparing them for scholarship entry to the Senior School.”  

In recent years, pupils who benefited from extracurricular sessions at Kent College have achieved success as national finalists in hockey and athletics while choristers have been part of Barnardo's Choir of the Year and BBC School Choir of the Year. 

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Excellent facilities 

Young girl holding a chicken at the school farm

At the school farm children learn how to care for various animals - Credit: Kent College

Such diverse extracurricular opportunities are made possible by the excellent facilities found at independent schools. Set in a beautiful 14-acre site, Kent College has extensive sports fields, tennis courts, a swimming pool, an outdoor amphitheatre, school farm and riding centre. Behind the school fields is an ancient woodland and stream where outdoor learning groups and science clubs can explore. 

Support for busy parents 

After school clubs give parents the advantage of an extended school day without having to travel so their child can maintain hobbies and interests. At Kent College Junior School, pupils can be on site from 7:30am to 6pm, which can be extended further by arrangement. Pupils can also complete their homework in a supervised after school club, allowing for more quality family time when they return home.

“These opportunities are not simply wrap-around-care,” says Simon. “It’s an extension of the fun and challenging education parents should expect from an independent school today.” 

If you would like to find out more about Kent College, Canterbury and its excellent extracurricular programmes, you can organise a personalised tour by contacting or calling 01227 762436. Alternatively, visit