It would be impossible to list every club or activity on offer at the College in print, for the simple reason that the list evolves constantly.
We are proud of the specialist sports coaching we offer as well as the fact we have a dedicated Head of Outdoor Pursuits who runs a range of expeditions for pupils. These include activities such as camping, climbing and canoeing. Linked to this is the Duke of Edinburgh Award that is also runs for many students and is hugely popular.
Sports range from rugby, hockey, netball and cricket to judo, golf, lacrosse and rock climbing. Our 100 acres offers plenty of space for athletics, cross-country and our CCF, who also use our indoor shooting range.
For pupils who love more creative adventures, we have an incredible drama studio with theatre seating, and a music department made up of many orchestras and ensembles that regularly put on concerts and go on tours. Instrumental and vocal lessons can always be heard in the College and many pupils work towards music examinations.
The music and drama departments work together to produce regular musical and stage shows which students love to take part in.
Other facilities include kilns, a printing press, a dark room and milling machines to enable art and design clubs to meet for everything from photography to model making.
Finally, innovative clubs that are aligned to academic subjects or are more specialised or hobby-based are also plentiful. From astronomy club to politics club, French conversation to the College magazine club, the hardest part is fitting it all
Duke of Edinburgh’s Award
Very popular with pupils is The Duke of Edinburgh's Award, which is offered to all pupils, starting in the Third Form with the Bronze Award leading up to the Gold Award in the Lower Sixth Form.
At the Bronze Award level the participants are required to commit to six months’ volunteering, a physical activity and a skill. They are also required to undertake a further three months in one of these activities. In addition they will plan, train and complete a two day, one night expedition in the nearby Peak District. The Silver Award is offered to the Fourth Form. Participants are also required to commit to six months’ volunteering, physical and skills sections of the award with a three day, two night expedition for which they have planned and trained.
The Fifth Form are given a year off to study for GCSE’s and if needed, to finish off their Silver Award The prestigious Gold Award begins in the Sixth Form, where the commitment is twelve months and a four day, three night expedition in wild country. This would normally be in Snowdonia or North Yorkshire. Along with the three sections covered by the Bronze and Silver Awards, Gold Award candidates have to complete a five day, four nights residential camp.
A direct entrant for either the Silver or Gold award will need to do an additional six months in one of the sections to complete their award.
Denstone College employs a full time dedicated Outdoor Pursuits Instructor (OPI) who is responsible for the management of all outdoor programmes and who is assisted by a number of enthusiastic and committed staff. Our OPI, Mrs Linnell, is a qualified Duke of Edinburgh Assessor who has taken over 20 expeditions, including both World Challenge and True Adventure. She has many skills and qualifications in her field, ranging from shooting, canoeing and climbing to mountain biking and leading mountaineering expeditions.
First and Second Formers enjoy adventurous outdoor weekends which enable them to experience the basics of navigation whilst walking in the Peak and Lake Districts, learn outdoor catering skills and improve self-sufficiency in general. These are a great preparation for the Third Form when many pupils embark upon the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme.
There is a regular Sunday morning climbing club which climbs on the school wall as well as other local indoor climbing facilities during the winter. There is an annual trip to Tenerife to transfer skills taught onto a variety of rock types.
Day trips are organised to take groups mountain biking on Cannock Chase. Small 3 day canoeing expeditions have been arranged paddling on the River Wye and caving in Brecon.
Senior school pupils have the option to travel oversees for a month with STC where they live alongside a local community; assist with building or self-sufficiency gardening project. This will invariably rounded off with some R&R such as scuba diving or white water rafting. In the last few years we have travelled to Bolivia, Tanzania and Zanzibar.
Combined Cadet Force (CCF)
Another popular option from Fourth Form upwards is the Combined Cadet Force (CCF). This is part of the national cadet organisation sponsored by the Ministry of Defence, and is very much a part of the wider military family. The CCF aims are to assist personal development through a wide range of activities that are not readily available outside the military context. It also aims to give cadets some insight into, and sympathy with, military matters. There is no specific recruiting objective.
On entry as Fourth Formers, cadets choose either the Army or RAF Sections, however, this choice precludes very little other than organised flying. Weekly training in the first year aims to give cadets a firm military foundation based mainly on weapon training, shooting, field-craft, shelter construction, navigation skills, first aid and drill. Fifth Form cadets specialise in more advanced specialist training, and may choose to participate in the Non Commissioned Officer Training Cadre. On successful completion of the Cadre, cadets are qualified to become NCOs. As much training as possible is conducted by cadet NCOs, under the supervision of Denstone staff, several of whom have previous military experience and hold the Queen’s Commission as CCF Officers. We are fortunate in having a wide range of training facilities including both indoor and outdoor ranges. Training is as comprehensive, testing and fun as possible, but it is necessarily limited by time and space. Training away from school provides the opportunity for more demanding and realistic activity. At the close of the year both RAF and Army camps are held at varying locations, details of which are published six months in advance. There are also numerous opportunities for cadets to participate in competitions, flying and gliding (RAF cadets only), and a myriad of courses. These range from leadership and military courses, through adventurous training to overseas trips. Many CCF cadets also participate in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, being able to use some aspects of their CCF service to satisfy certain award requirements.