Beyond The Curriculum

Exeter School believes that education in the widest sense stretches way beyond the constraints of classrooms, timetables and prescribed examination specifications. Sport, music, art and drama play a considerable part in the lives of very many pupils. Outside of the 40-period academic week, opportunities abound for curriculum enrichment, including a wide range of thriving clubs.

Please take a look at the Senior School Clubs and Activities Booklet for a flavour of the range of activities on offer all year round. A typical term might include clubs in art, chess, coding, Christian Union, dance, drama, debating, design, electronics, lifesaving, Medical Society, Model United Nations, photography, reading groups, sewing, science and Warhammer in addition to all the sporting clubs, musical ensembles and dramatic rehearsals, which are embedded in the programme.

The senior school structure of clubs, rehearsals and practices allows pupils greater independence to follow their own interests and, with our older pupils, to participate in running clubs for our younger pupils.

In addition to extra-curricular activities the school offers a special ‘Friday 8’ programme for pupils in Middle Fifth (Year 10) and above. This provides pupils the opportunity to join either the Combined Cadet Force (CCF), comprising a Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Army Section, or the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme (DofE).


As part of the Friday 8 programme, the school has a thriving Combined Cadet Force contingent comprising around 250 pupils from Middle Fifth to Upper Sixth (Years 10 – 13). Pupils enter the CCF in Middle Fifth (Year 10) where they undergo a term of common training and get the chance to experience each of the three sections before selecting which of the three Services – Royal Navy, Army or Royal Air Force – they wish to join.

Whichever section they choose, the activities they undertake are designed to develop powers of leadership, initiative and self-reliance as well as providing a knowledge of the services. Pupils undergo structured training with the expectation that, by the final year of the sixth form, they will be delivering the training and leading the junior cadets.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme

The school runs the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme with 36 dedicated places available to Middle Fifth (Year 10) pupils or, alternatively, they may choose to do the award as part of the other activities on offer to them.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is recognised by university entrance boards and businesses as the best programme for the personal development of young people. The school is determined to make DofE enjoyable, challenging and of the highest quality across all three levels: bronze, silver and gold.

The school is ideally located to take advantage of the beautiful Devon countryside for expeditions including both Dartmoor and Exmoor, as well as frequent trips abroad. In the last five years, Exeter School pupils have completed a grand total of 1,690 hours of volunteering, 1,430 hours of physical activity and 1,456 hours of learning a new skill as part of the scheme.

For many pupils their gold expedition is one of the highlights of their school career. In recent years, expeditions have taken place in Morroco, Spain, and the Brecon Beacons in Wales. In 2018 in partnership with Haven Banks, gold DofE participants were offered the opportunity to complete a sea kayaking expedition around Scotland. This was hugely popular and highly successful.

Along with CCF, DofE forms part of the school’s Friday 8 programme.


Exeter School has a long and distinguished tradition of taking part in the Abbots’ Way Walk, which is held in early October, and the Ten Tors Expedition, which runs in May of each year. The former is open to all comers, and covers about twenty-three miles across the southern Moor from Buckfast Abbey to Tavistock College. It is run by the Friends of Tavistock and District Youth Network, with assistance from sections of the Dartmoor Rescue Group, and our younger pupils are accompanied by members of staff or experienced Sixth Form pupils.

The Ten Tors Expedition, which is administered by the Army, starts and finishes at Okehampton Camp, and teams of six complete either thirty-five, forty-five or fifty-five miles in two days, depending on age. The expedition is entirely unaccompanied, and all participants are given a thorough grounding in map and compass work, safety procedures, teamwork, camp craft, country code and first aid before being let loose onto the moors. Teams are selected on merit, and there are usually more than thirty pupils vying for a thirty-five mile place.

Training for Ten Tors occurs over weekends in the spring term each year, culminating in the school’s own “1633 Challenge”, which is run on similar lines to Ten Tors and enables all those who have undertaken the training to demonstrate their abilities and receive a certificate upon completion.