At Grammar we believe that a good education consists in more than simply attending to one’s studies.
There is a huge range of co-curricular activities on offer and taking part in them will help make the boys well-rounded and the School the lively and creative place it is. It is not unusual for boys to participate in two or three activities (in addition to sport) and these offer balance to their studies as well as providing them with some of their richest experiences of school life.
A brief overview of our main co-curricular activities is set out below.
Sport at Grammar is structured so as to support the School's liberal academic focus and not drive or influence it. Boys involved in the sports programme are generally expected to play a summer and a winter sport. Year-round organised team coaching for one particular sport is not permitted, and the School strictly enforces limits on the amount of time allocated to training.
The School has excellent facilities for sport. Most cricket, rugby, football and tennis games are played at Weigall, Grammar’s sportsground at Rushcutters Bay which is about two kilometres east of College Street. Swimming takes place at Cook and Phillip Park adjacent to the School. The boatshed, with full rowing facilities, is located at Gladesville. At College Street there is a large gymnasium and facilities for basketball, volleyball, rifle shooting and fencing.
Boys must take part in a School sport at least until the end of Term I in Form V. The sports programme includes football, rugby, cross-country running, rowing, cricket, tennis, fencing, volleyball, basketball, athletics, rifle shooting, swimming, cross-fit and taekwondo. Many of these are pursued as GPS activities and involve a game each Saturday and two practices after school each week during the season.
The School requires boys in Forms I-IV and in the first term of Form V to attend training and/or selection practices and to play in games if selected. Boys who are not selected for teams may be invited to try for selection in another sport.
When it comes to considering involvement with sport outside school, in clubs for example, we expect all boys, whatever their talents, to treat their School team obligations as the priority. If there is a clash between School and club commitments, the School must come first.
For more details about Sport please click here.
Music has had a central place at Grammar for many years. Boys learn one, and often two instruments, and have many opportunities to perform both in small ensembles and larger groups. The Music Department is very strong, both in terms of the quality of its teaching staff, the standard of performance and the quality of its facilities. We offer a number of music scholarships for outstanding performers.
The School offers a broad programme in academic musical studies along with individual instrumental tuition, musicianship classes. Around fifty professional musicians in Sydney visit the School each week and offer tuition in every orchestral instrument and vocal studies. Over 500 individual lessons take place each week. There are currently around fifty different ensembles in the School including a number of orchestras, bands and choirs and numerous smaller ensembles including string quartets, guitar and jazz groups. Selection is by audition. As part of their musical education, boys who learn an instrument at the School are required to take part in a School ensemble in Forms I to IV.
The Sydney Grammar School Music Association supports the School’s Music programme, raising funds for the purchase of instruments, for tours and for scholarships. Parents are welcome to join in this important work. The Committee of the Association helps in the running of the programme of concerts.
For more information about Music, please click here.
A challenging and varied theatre repertoire is performed to a high standard at the School. Recent graduates from NIDA often work in collaboration with School staff as designers or choreographers.
There is usually a drama performance each term in either the large Alastair Mackerras Theatre or the more intimate Palladium Theatre, and boys from all Forms are invited to get involved. Recent successful productions, which reflect the range of styles and subjects undertaken, include Henry (based on Shakespeare's Henry IV/V trilogy), Alan Bennett’s The History Boys, John Mortimer’s A Voyage Round My Father, the classic Australian drama Away and the raucous comedy The Popular Mechanicals. Every two years the School mounts a musical, and these are always a highlight of the Grammar calendar. Sweeney Todd in 2008, The Producers in 2010 and Spamalot in 2012 were extraordinary achievements.
Through reciprocal arrangements with nearby girls' schools, boys also have the opportunity to work with a range of directors, actors and designers and embrace the diversity and creativity of the experience drama offers.
As well as the productions, the School runs an after-school Drama Club for junior boys, usually in two terms per year. There is also the invaluable tech crew, encompassing boys from all Forms, who help get our shows on the road while learning a challenging and rewarding skill-set.
A Belvoir Theatre group enables senior boys to experience more live theatre on a regular basis.
For more information about Drama, please click here.
Army Cadet Corps
The Sydney Grammar School Cadet Corps was established by Headmaster AB Weigall in 1870 and is therefore one of the very oldest school units in Australia.
Cadet training aims at the development of self-reliance and personal discipline, with an emphasis on learning how to survive in the field, navigate, climb, and perform simple first aid. It introduces boys to living in the field and orienteering, roping, navigation and first aid skills. It also provides older boys with the opportunity to learn and practise leadership as Cadet Under Officers, Sergeants and Corporals through taking on the responsibility for younger boys and the day to day operation of the Corps.
Cadet training is every Friday afternoon, during Terms I-III, from 3:30pm to 5:30pm.
There is a two night camp during the last three days of Term I and a week-long camp in the first week of the School Holidays at the end of Term III. The Cadet training year concludes after the Ceremonial Parade on the second day of Term IV.
A Promotions Course, for boys in Forms III-V, is conducted during Term IV for those who wish to continue with Cadets. For more details about Army Cadets please click here.
Australian Air Force Cadets
306 Squadron (Australian Air Force Cadets) was established at the School in 1942 and is the only school-based unit in NSW.
The AAFC aims to promote an interest in aviation and the development of leadership through involvement in courses and activities in aircraft recognition, aviation, radio communications, fieldcraft, navigational orienteering and survival. Optional activities include air familiarisation flights (with instructor) and parachuting.
The Squadron consists of boys in Forms II - VI and girls from SCEGGS Darlinghurst.
306 Squadron runs after school each Friday during term. The training programme begins at 1530hrs, and final parade ends at around 1800hrs. Some optional activities are conducted on nominated weekends through the year and the compulsory camps are held at the end of Terms I and III including on Defence Force bases. Familiarity with the RAAF and its role is an important part of AAFC training.
For more details about Air Force cadets please click here.
Debating and Public Speaking
The School has a long history of debating and in recent years has established a reputation for consistent competitive success. The debating programme involves boys taking part in the ISDA, Eastside and GPS competitions, and includes weekly training sessions.
The Independent Schools Debating Association (ISDA) competition involves thirty-two schools divided into four zones. A set of seven preliminary rounds is followed by three semi-finals and a grand final round.
The Eastside Debating Competition involves schools from Sydney’s Eastern suburbs.
For more details about Debating please click here.
The School’s Public Speaking Programme aims to develop confidence and fluency in speaking, and to foster analytical thinking and a broader awareness of public events and issues. It is open to boys from Forms II to VI. Speakers participate in a number of competitions (such as the Lawrence Campbell Oratory Competition and Rostrum ‘Voice of Youth’), some of which offer opportunities to progress to a national or even an international level. At training sessions boys present prepared and impromptu speeches and are instructed in aspects of speaking that include how to structure and characterise the material in a speech, and how best to use gesture, projection and variety of expression.
Chess has a long and proud history at Grammar. The School has been Australian Schools' Champions three times, and runners-up three times since the inaugural tournament in 1998.
The main event on our chess calendar is the NSW Junior Chess League's Secondary Schools Teams Competition, which is staged in three levels: Junior (Years 7 and 8), Intermediate (Years 9 and 10) and Senior (Years 11 and 12). In addition, there are a number of one-day tournaments which vary from year to year.
Boys are welcome to play on a social basis or for competition.
Other Clubs and Activities
The list of other activities in the School changes as new boys arrive and new ideas and interests emerge.
Here is a list of current clubs and activities in the School.
- Anime Club
- Audio-Visual Team
- Ceteris Paribus
- Computer Club
- Creative Writing Group
- Drama - Impro Club
- Doctor Who Club
- Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award
- Fly-fishing Club
- Grammar Boardgamers
- Junior Science Club
- Maths Society
- Music Composition Club
- Photography Club
- Poetry Club
- Politics Club
- Public Speaking
- The Sydneian
- Science Beyond the Curriculum
- Tiger magazine
For other clubs and activities in the School please click here.