In the increasingly competitive international and independent school market, a diverse range of extracurricular activities can help schools to stand out from the competition. From a student recruitment and admissions perspective, schools can attract a wider range of students with different interests, skills, and backgrounds (learn more about supercharging student recruitment and enrolment conversions in the following whitepaper, published by our friends at OpenApply). This not only promotes inclusivity but also creates a diverse student body, which can lead to a more enriching educational experience for all students.
Schools that offer a wide range of extracurricular activities demonstrate that they prioritise the overall development of their students, beyond just academic achievements. This can be particularly attractive to parents who want their children to have a well-rounded education and gain skills and experiences that can help them in their future careers and personal lives.
Undoubtedly, running after-school clubs is a terrific way to enrich the lives of students and provide them with opportunities to learn new skills, make friends, and have fun. As a teacher or community leader, there are several things to consider when setting up an after-school club. We’ve put together some tips and strategies to make your after-school club a success.
1. Identify Your Goals and Objectives
Before expanding your offering with a new club, or optimising your existing activities, you need absolute clarity on what you want to achieve. What are your goals and objectives for the club? Are you looking to provide a safe and supportive environment for students to socialise and have fun, or are you trying to create a more structured program that focuses on skill development or academic enrichment? Consider the scope, breadth and synergy within your activities offering, being mindful of your target student demographic, and the resources you will need to make the club a success. Also consider the impact of your wider community, such as prominent guest speakers (alumni or otherwise) who have had great success in a particular field.
2. Choose Your Activities
Once you have crystallised your goals, you need to ensure your chosen activities are in full alignment with them. Think about what kinds of activities would be of interest and value to your students, and what resources you have available, or need to make available. For example, if you want to start a sports club, you may have a gym or sports field, but be lacking in specialised or cutting-edge equipment. If you want to start a drama club, you may have access to an auditorium with a stage, but not the costumes and props required to really bring this activity to life.
3. Recruit Members (Existing and Prospective Students)
With the aforementioned goals and activities cemented, aligned and organised, it’s time to start recruiting members. You can advertise your club through digital channels like school newsletters, social media and mobile push notifications, as well as at physical events and exhibitions through print collateral. Make sure to provide clear information about what the club is about, who can join, and when and where meetings will be held. As mentioned earlier, the benefits of a diverse, robust and well managed activities program extend beyond enriching existing students’ school experiences; such programs also support the school’s advancement and recruitment initiatives (learn more about professionalising your school admissions in the following whitepaper, published by our friends at OpenApply).
4. Set Rules and Expectations
It is important to define clear rules and expectations for your club, event, or activity, including attendance requirements, behaviour expectations, and safety guidelines. Be sure to communicate these rules and expectations to students and enforce them consistently. This helps create a safe and respectful environment that promotes positive experiences for everyone involved. It also helps students develop self-discipline, responsibility, and leadership skills. By following rules and expectations, students can learn the importance of teamwork and collaboration, which can benefit them in all areas of their lives.
5. Establish a Schedule
Decide on an appropriate event schedule that takes into account the particular demands and nuances of each activity (e.g. recovery time, if it is a sports activity). Make sure to communicate the schedule to members in advance so that they can plan accordingly, and from an administrative perspective, focus on simplicity and convenience so that the booking process is streamlined and frictionless for parents and students.
6. Encourage Member Involvement
Encourage students to get involved in planning and leading club activities, albeit under staff supervision, with parent consent, and adherence to predefined guidelines, principles and objectives. This can help to build leadership skills and create a sense of ownership among students. For instance, consider setting up sub-committees or task forces to focus on specific aspects of the club, such as organising events or fundraising. Throughout the entire process, it is both beneficial and vital to keep parents informed with regular communication and updates.
7. Evaluate and Adjust
Regularly evaluate your club to see if it is meeting your goals and objectives. Solicit feedback from members and make adjustments as needed. This could include changing the event schedule, modifying activities, or re-evaluating membership requirements.
Running an after-school club can be a highly rewarding experience for activity and event coordinators and students alike. By following these tips and strategies, you can create a fun and engaging program that will enrich the lives of your students, empower them to pursue their passion as well as help them to develop new skills and interests.
Learn more about transforming school activities and clubs management by watching our recent webinar on the subject: