The UCS co-curriculum is pivotal to preparing young people for the world beyond UCS. It enables and encourages them to discover and develop attitudes, attributes, skills as well as broader knowledge.

It entails a plethora of clubs and societies which are pupil led, especially by Sixth Formers, in addition to the many opportunities available within the traditional out-of-class pursuits in Sport, Music and Drama – the athletic and expressive arts. Approximately 80 lunchtime clubs and societies are open to pupils.

This co-curricular life of the school complements the academic and affords further avenues for exploration and investigation to a pupil body that is always interested, articulate, loyal and clever. There is often an interdisciplinary aspect to these societies – spanning multiple subjects – which means they stretch and challenge UCS’s bright young minds.

If our academic education stimulates, enriches and informs, then so too does the co-curriculum, which comes with the added benefit of showcasing pupil leadership.

Pupils take the lead

The idea of leadership gains particular traction during the Sixth Form years when pupils run clubs and societies for peers and younger age groups alike. Sixth Formers also take ownership of roles and responsibilities such as House Captain and Head/Deputy Head Pupil of the school, as well as driving the annual Community Action fundraiser.

It is between ages 16 and 18 that our young people reach the top echelons in terms of their enjoyment of and participation in Drama, Music and Sport, with one standout example being the Senior School’s high-profile dramatic production and the biannual musical.

Strong social awareness

Moving up the school, the co-curricular provision increasingly bears witness to the concepts of equity, wellbeing and sustainability.

Our cultural awareness societies, faith-based societies, medical ethics society and gender politics society indicate a school community that is conscious of equity. We are proud that our pupils have a well-developed social awareness and a strong moral sense. They are passionate about defending what they regard as right; they believe strongly in equality of treatment for all and behave accordingly. A natural corollary is our Inclusion and Representation Committee composed of students and teachers, with an agenda informed and directed by the pupils themselves.

Reflecting the times

Sustainability is another priority, as steered by the school’s Green Impact Society in which pupils look for – and lobby successfully for – more sustainable ways of operating. Meanwhile, amid generational concerns and phenomena such as Black Lives Matter and Everyone’s Invited, we take wellbeing extremely seriously. We aim to give our young people spaces within the school day in which to learn to look after themselves and take a break from academic or social pressures.

Our intention is that the co-curricular provision reflects a kind and respectful school environment that values diversity, promotes self-awareness and respects every individual.

Voices and Views

“The co-curricular provision is a rich and inspiring part of UCS life. Its breadth is a wonderful testimony to the varied interests of our community, as pupils and staff freely commit to running an exciting and unique programme.”

Rebecca Baxter Assistant Head (Head of Sixth Form)

“The teachers are clear about what co-curricular activities will benefit you, and Form Tutors always make individual recommendations. We are encouraged to push ourselves outside the classroom which helps us become more independent learners.”

Hugo Kinder UCS pupil, 2016–2023

“We want our pupils to know what it means to look after yourself, after your community, and after your planet. As a school we can facilitate that a little in terms of what they do with their time.”

Jessica Lewis Assistant Head (Pupils)

“This school isn't liberal in the sense that you can do anything; it is liberal in the sense that you can do everything.”

Ellie Afek UCS pupil, 2021–2023

“I was recently doing PSHE and mental health learning with Sixth Formers and it was a chance to speak to somebody other than a teacher and a chance to experience a different kind of mentoring.”

Freddie Chubb UCS pupil, 2021–