There is an important distinction to be made between academic ‘acceleration’ and ‘extension’.
The academic extension programme allows boys to pursue special interests beyond syllabuses in many subjects. At Grammar we take the view that broadening and deepening a boy’s understanding of a subject, through personal contact with a teacher who is an authority in the field, is preferable to acceleration through the curriculum.
Several Senior Masters are responsible for Academic Extension for boys in senior years. Boys may elect to pursue extension work, sometimes during class time, and sometimes outside normal hours. The formality of arrangements depends on the number of boys involved at a given time. The School also invites distinguished scholars and artists to teach the boys in small groups from time to time.
Art too occupies a position of great importance.
Art History is an increasingly popular discipline here and, at the level of practical studies, we take seriously the idea that boys must acquire a technical competence in skills such as drawing, perspective and composition if they seek to progress in this subject. Photography and ceramics are popular and each year we sponsor a professional Artist in Residence, who sets up a studio in the School and works alongside the boys.
Music has long had a central place at Grammar.
Many boys learn one, and often two instruments, and have opportunities to perform both in small ensembles and larger orchestras. The Music Department is very strong, both in terms of the quality of its teaching staff, and the quality of its facilities. We offer a number of music scholarships for outstanding performers.
Sport at Grammar is structured so as to support the School’s liberal academic focus and not drive or influence it.
Boys are expected to play a summer and winter sport and to treat their School team obligations as the priority. 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 grounds at Rushcutters Bay, which are about two kilometres east of the School. 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. Buses are provided to take boys to and from training venues on weekdays.
Many boys choose to join the School’s Army Cadet Corps, or the Air Force Cadets.
Debating attracts a number of boys each year. Boys can join many special interest clubs including (and this is just a sample) chess, philosophy, creative writing, ceramics, drama, fly-fishing, film and the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award.