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“The Extended Day” – essential additional hours for life-long success – the UK independent school model

“Spending one and a half hours longer than in other schools can enhance all students’ skills! Learning through co-curricular activities is hugely important for the acquisition of life skills.”

Mr Mark McVeigh, Principal at Denla British School (DBS), who has extensive experience from leading schools in the UK and SE Asia, says that the UK’s independent school model is the best in the world. A very high proportion of students who graduate from the UK’s independent schools such as Marlborough or Eton can gain access to the world’s top universities, and go on to have distinguished careers as doctors, engineers, analysts, innovators, scientists, artists, entrepreneurs, politicians, and even Michelin-star chefs! The key to this success originates from their UK independent school education, which inspires students to find their destiny. In the UK curriculum, students discover their skills, interests, and talents, and once they find their own mix of specialisms, they are encouraged to excel. One of the keys to success is the extended school day in many UK independent schools.

The UK curriculum focuses on the skills-based nature of learning that requires children to think and question at a deeper level, often lending itself to the pursuit of individual enquiry and global contexts. It prepares them for a future where education is more than the sum of examination results. However, the UK curriculum is delivered by two sectors in the UK: independent (also called public or private) schools, and state schools. The UK independent school curriculum is very intense and considered to be the strongest in the UK. DBS implements an enhanced UK curriculum from the best practice of independent schools in the UK. All teachers are native English-speakers (apart from Thai and Mandarin teachers), and they are very experienced. The uniqueness of DBS’s enhanced UK curriculum includes its approach to Personalised Learning. Personalised Learning is about focusing and concentrating on each student according to their skills and preferences. It can range from individual to small group teaching under the supervision of teachers and learning assistants. Not only does DBS focus on academic excellence, it also promotes an all-round education, so children can find their talents and aquire vital life skills.

Another characteristic of DBS is the additional learning period in the Extended Day system. DBS students will have 1.5 hours per day more school time than students in other schools, adding up to nearly 8 hours per week. The subjects taught are called Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs), for which parents don’t have to pay an extra fee. CCAs are specially provided in the UK’s independent schools. At DBS, we offer intense CCAs aiming to give our students the opportunities to try new experiences, to develop excellence, to foster fantastic relationships, and to develop the whole child; academically, physically and mentally.

“At DBS, we believe that the longer learning period is very important. Students will be encouraged to choose from over 61 courses and activities per week, including English language, literature, art, music, dance, sport, robotics, cooking and leadership activities. They can focus on what they like, they can join clubs and also use this period for homework groups to prepare themselves for the next school day. All students will be looked after by expert teachers and without an extra fee. This is enormously worthwhile and hugely beneficial to students’ development,” Mr McVeigh says.

Challenges and talents in CCAs

“Challenging and difficult subjects and activities can also be fun! When students study in a UK independent school model, they will enjoy subjects that are difficult, and sport and arts will encourage acquisition of new skills and talents.” DBS’s native and expert teachers will teach CCA subjects themselves so students can smoothly develop their skills during the extended one and a half hours a day. Students will be better in English language and discover their talents.