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Help Topics / SOCS co-curricular: Getting Started
SOCS co-curricular: Categories and Activities Setup


This help section explains how to add categories to SOCS co-curricular.  Once categories have been setup, you are able to add activities to these categories.  More information about how to add activities can be found here. In this section the words “activity” or “activities” is used throughout, but this could be replaced by the word “club” or “clubs”.

SOCS co-curricular helps you present the School’s Co-Curricular offering to staff, parents and pupils alike in  a user friendly way, providing the advice below is taken into account.


Categories and Activities Overview

You can have as many categories as you require and you have full control over renaming, editing and adding new categories. Categories can be easily changed should the school choose to adopt a different approach to how activities are presented to pupils/parents in the future. 

Every activity added to SOCS co-curricular must be assigned to a category.  Categories can contain many activities. 

Categories are important when an online parent/pupil sign-up to particular activities is taking place as you can:

  • Limit students choices to a set number of activities within a certain category.
  • Include or exclude an entire category from sign up
  • Some reports can be filtered by category


Setting Up Your Categories

There are two approaches to setting up categories and it is important during the initial setup that you find the optimal setup for your school: You can either:

Option 1: Categorize by the “style” of activity e.g. Drama, Music, Games.


Option 2: Categorize by the “time slot” the activity takes place e.g. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Monday Lunch, Monday After School etc.


When deciding how you will approach the setup of categories the things to consider include the following for each option.

Option 1: Categorizing by style of activity e.g. Drama, Music, Games

  • This allows you to limit the pupil selections by type of activity, so they can only choose, for example, 1 music, 1 drama and 2 sports activities.
  • Schools that have a varied co-curricular timetable often use this approach e.g. activities that do not necessarily slot neatly into days/time slots across a school year and are open to multiple year groups across the school structure.
  • Schools that use “First Come, First Served” as their sign-up methodology often approach the setup of categories in this way.


Option 2: Categorizing by time slot, e.g. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Monday Lunch, Monday After School etc.

  • This allows you to limit pupils to selecting a set number of activities at a particular time.  In this scenario, clashes are more obvious when pupils are making their choices (although clash management is built in to both option 1 and option 2).
  • Schools that have defined periods for activities often use this setup. For example, they may have an activities afternoon on a Tuesday every week.
  • Schools that use “preferences” as their sign up methodology often setup their categories this way.  See more information about Preferential Sign-Up here.

Important Notes:

  1. Both category options have clash management built in.  Whilst it would appear on first glance that the best way to avoid clashes is to use option 2 (time slots), Option 1 (activity style) also has clash management built in. When a pupil adds themself to an activity that conflicts with a prior commitment SOCS alerts them to the clash and they can then take the appropriate action. If a pupil (or parent) has created a clash that is unresolved, you can create a clash report that shows all activity clashes for every pupil.  The clashes are also displayed on the activity registers. In this way Option 1 (style) is the more flexible approach.
  2. Schools that share a licensce between a Junior and a Senior school can approach categories in both the ways we outline above. For example, the Junior School could use option 2 and the senior school option 1. This is often due to the senior school being allowing more student responsibility in avoiding clashes, and often using First Come First Served rather than Preferential Sign Up.
  3. If you are planning to use Preferential Sign Up the best option is generally option 2 (time slot), as pupils can only set their preferences within one category.  This works well if pupils have to attend one activity within each time slot.
    Option 1 (activity style) could be used for preferential sign-up but this could cause issues. Often, schools that use Option 1 intend that pupils will sign-up to activities across the categories. It is important to remember that preferential sign-up means that pupils can only set their preferences for activities within one category, not across multiple categories.
  4. Regardless of which approach you select, the activities within each category are scheduled individually during the next stage of the set up. In this way, you might have two clubs in a “Monday After School” category, where each club has a slightly different start and finish time.