There is more to school life than just studying

Ewan McGregor  as Renton in Trainspotting - the gender neutral toilets Zella has visited are almost as grubby

ZELLA COMPTON: Men – just aim it in the right direction and we’ll all be happy!

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Schools are very good at making sure their pupils are not only well-educated but that they are given the chance to become balanced well-rounded individuals too. But does everyone realise the importance of what happens outside the classroom?

My own school’s ethos is very much about giving opportunities to girls so they do more than just study hard.

It was therefore reassuring to receive a note from a former pupil who said that her experience at Portsmouth High had given her the best start at university by preparing her to do more than just study.

She went on to say that skills she acquired as one of the head girl team means that she really can multi-task and most importantly keep a level head – important attributes for a soon-to-be doctor.

It is always a fine balancing act between having time to study, engage in interests, perhaps have a weekend job and have time for a social life when you are at school.

Sometimes something has to go and all too often it is those hobbies or pursuits that require a regular commitment that are the first to be jettisoned. But before hockey sticks are put away or paints packed up remember the old adage “if you want something done ask a busy person” and you will find there is time to do it all.

Encouraging children to have hobbies and interests is so important because it means they are much more likely to mature into successful adults with a balanced view of life.

When our junior choir sang on national radio just before Christmas and our senior ukulele band also performed at a radio station I was reminded about how much the girls enjoy their music at school. Equally their successes at debating, sport and raising money for charity mean I need not worry about them becoming well-adjusted individuals.

Local trips to the theatre and residential opportunities further away in Barbados, New York, Iceland and Pompeii mean that they know more than that needed to just pass examinations.

The girls at Portsmouth High use their experiences to form insightful and perceptive opinions which they are not afraid to voice! As one girl said to me the other day “we are intrepid”. And so they are.