You-Time activities are offered for students from Year 1 to Year 13 that allow them to explore different interests and socialise with friends in other year groups and classes. You-Time sits alongside Additional Activities offered by external providers and our Excellence Programme which gives a platform to students who show aptitude in areas including Music, Drama and Sport to take their talents further and to represent the school.
"We have such an amazing programme for all ages that there is no reason to not partake in extracurricular activities via You-Time."
This is according to Shrewsbury's new Head of You-Time, Mr Jason Bilinkewycz, who is the first staff member to hold the position. We asked him what his plans were in his first year and how he plans on making sure Shrewsbury is the best school in the country when it comes to after school activities.
This is quite a different role for you, are you excited about the new challenge?
In some ways, it is different, but in my seven years at Shrewsbury so far, I have picked up a lot of leadership experience and feel I am very suited to the role. I have been both head of Year 3 and Year 6, as well as leading Under 11 and Under 9 football. I have always been involved in both teaching and sports coaching, so I understand the expectations of each. I think I have the necessary skills to be a conduit between external and internal You-Time providers, teachers and parents.
The role of 'Head of You-Time' itself is entirely new - what are the expectations and challenges you face?
Yes, this is the first year that a Head of You-Time has been appointed and quite frankly, it is needed. With over 370+ different activities across the year groups, it is quite a task to avoid clashes and ensure everyone involved is routinely informed. Making sure all of our students are engaged in co-curricular activities is essential to fulfilling our promise of academic enrichment. Both Principal Mr Seal and I agree that You-Time is not an 'added extra', but that it sits alongside the day-to-day curriculum in an effort to focus on the 'whole student'.
We are also working out the areas of jurisdiction between sport, external providers, internal providers and what constitutes co-curricular activities. The school is growing, and we have so much to offer - I want students to be able to participate in whatever activities that take their fancy.
Has it been hard to give up the full-time teaching role for something with a lot more administration?
I miss the students in a classroom environment, but this was a good step for my career, and I am embracing the challenge. There is a lot involved in the role, from risk assessments, child safeguarding training and scheduling to logistics, communication with parents and site visits. I want all students to have a great experience in You-Time because this is a period where students can be involved in something they are genuinely passionate about. Ideally, I want parents to see the value of getting their children involved in multiple different activities that will broaden the horizons and enrich their school lives. My challenge is to make You-Time appealing in both presentation and execution.
What is your message to parents who are unsure about what You-Time best fits their child?
Firstly, I would ask parents to talk to their child! The great thing about You-Time is that you can choose activities that play to their strengths, whether that be music, sport or something creative. Conversely, you can encourage them to try something entirely new. There is no shortage of fantastic options that will develop students in many ways. I have the opportunity to go into classrooms at You-Time and witness fantastic art being created, sample items that students have baked, sit in on digital music lessons and participate in awesome science experiments - all on the same day! Before each block, parents should check the descriptions of different activities on SOCS and if they need more information, email the provider or the activities team. We are happy to help out. Soon, we will have a more comprehensive You-Time that will be able to show parents and students all of the categories in a more digestible way.
For more information on You-Time and other extracurricular activities, visit this page.