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Help Topics / SOCS co-curricular: Getting Started
SOCS Co-Curricular: Best Practice

SOCS Co-Curricular

We provide a sensible Co-Curricular set up and management structure for the SOCS Co-Curricular module. This includes the Setting Up, online Sign Up, Communication, Registration and Reporting of your Co-Curricular Programme.

School's who are in the process of rolling out the SOCS Co-Curricular system often ask how other schools manage their Co-Curricular set up, sign up, communication and reporting. Whilst every school is different (and will have their own tried and tested methods), there does seem to be some homogenisation in approach, particularly as schools share best practice freely with each other.

SOCS Co-Curricular Set Up

The SOCS Co-Curricular system is typically set up before the start of the term. When you log in for the first time the system will already include the list of clubs the school offers (under the Master Activity List menu item). 

The first job is to switch on the activities that are taking place for the current term. These then appear ready for managing under the Active Activities list.

The next job is to add the rules for each club: for instance, is the club invite only? Which year groups is it open to? Is there a maximum number of pupils allowed? Is it first come first served? Is parental authorisation required and is there a cost? These rules will control the sign up process downstream.

Once the rules have been added for each club “Step Two” is to schedule the club. This can be done using a single or recurring event editor, which automatically skips half term.

Once you have added the rules for each club and scheduled them, you are ready to add staff and pupils.

The following guide walks you through this process: 

SOCS Co-Curricular - Getting Started

Sign Up: Online or allocation only?

Schools tend to use a combination of “manual club allocation” and “pupil/parent sign up” to finalise their clubs. In layman’s terms, you either ask staff to pick who they want in their clubs, or you allow the pupils/parents to select their clubs, or you do a bit of both.

Initially, the staff responsible for any “Invite Only” clubs will log into SOCS and create their lists. Examples of “Invite Only” clubs could be the cast of the school play, the members of a competitive choir, the 1st XV strength and conditioning group and so on.

Following the allocations of pupils into the “Invite Only” clubs, the Pupil Sign Up window is opened. By and large schools will communicate the clubs and activities available to pupils and parents through a combination of an activities fair, the school noticeboards, posters, mail shots, or the Co-Curricular section of their school website.

Pupils will then complete the sign up using either the SOCS online sign up feature, or by pupils sitting down with House Parents/Tutors to select their clubs. Clubs can be assigned rules that control the sign up based on parameters like the minimum or maximum numbers involved, parental authorisation required, gender, year group, invite only and cost. The pupils can complete the sign up on either a smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC.

SOCS co-curricular Activity Sign-Up

Schools can manage the sign up by setting a date range, allowing pupils to remove and/or add themselves, setting a maximum number of clubs they can sign up to and so on.

Post Pupil Sign up process

Following the closure of the sign up window, staff are able to run a variety of reports to finesse the Co-Curricular programme. SOCS can quickly produce a daily clash report and a list of over and under subscribed pupils, or a list of and over and under subscribed clubs. House parents and form tutors are also able to log in, pull together a list of their pupils and quickly identify pupils that have taken on too much (or not enough!!) the system also allows you to email any co-curricular grouping of pupils. This is useful to confirm acceptance into the club, or to send them some information they might need for the first session. As the term progresses this can be a handy way to communicate with the club, although the students will also be able to us the SOCS app to check on the club status. School’s try not to become too reliant on mass email as a rule!

Day to Day running of SOCS Co-Curricular during term time

Now we enter the day to day operation of the system. Initially the system has been used for staff to set up clubs and for pupils to sign up to them. Now that the process is complete SOCS transitions into a useful registration, reporting and communication tool. Staff now use the Web App to take their Co-Curricular registers: the web app displays the registers that a member of staff needs to take on any given day, and will display any clashes that the pupils in that session may have. It will also show staff the registration status of the clash, allowing you to identify any problems

SOCS can be used to quickly identify where any pupil might be at that moment in time, and will also show you the registration status of that event. This allows you to identify not only where a pupil is supposed to be, but whether they are actually there.

The Daily Unauthorised Absence report is an efficient way to identify where the problems are arising in attendance. This can be filtered by house, form, year group, club, member of staff and more. You can also see a detailed attendance record for each pupil. This is useful for calculating the costs of the paid for activities.

For pupils, what was initially used as their sign up App now becomes their day to day calendar. The Web App will display the weekly Co-Curricular and fixtures timetable pertinent to that child. Parents logging in will see a live Co-Curricular calendar for their child which they can now sync into their own personal calendars. Any changes you make on the system will now update parents automatically.

SOCS can connect into the Co-Curricular Big Screen module to display a live feed of clubs, activities and fixtures taking place that day. This can replace the traditional paper driven noticeboard. SOCS co-curricular Big Screen

Clashes

Nearly every school informed us that whilst clash prevention was useful, clash identification (and communication) was critical. In short, this is because the school would not (realistically) be able to organise their academic, fixtures, trips, activities and music timetables to the avoidance of any clashes.

SOCS allows staff to see a list of daily clashes that have been created, and it also flags up the potential clash on the register. Due to the ease with which the school can communicate these clashes schools have added things like Detentions, Academic Clinics, Mock Exams and more to the SOCS calendar.

Further sign up windows.

From time to time schools will open the sign up window during term time. This might be to allow students to sign up to a new set of clubs (for instance at Rugby School they hold an Arts week and a Well Being Week). Schools often invite pupils to sign up for activities for the subsequent term (or year)

Reporting.

The SOCS report section is used at the start of the term to finesse the Co-Curricular groups, during the term to check attendance and daily participation, and at the end of the term to pull together the records for that term or year.

In real terms, the process would work as follows: At the end of the sign up process you might use the “Pupils who are oversubscribed” report to identify a list of pupils who have added themselves to too many activities and are at risk of being over stretched. The “Daily Clash” report identifies any clashes that have been inadvertently created. Day to day management is helped by the “Daily Unauthorised absence report” which can be filtered by house and year group and shared internally. At the end of term the “Pupil Participation Overview” is a useful report to pull together a list of every fixture and activity a pupil has taken part in that term (or year). House parents can drill down into the details of each parent to see an accurate attendance register.