Over and above the various outdoor pursuits, sports, music and drama activities that are detailed elsewhere on this website, Shrewsbury also has a whole range of thriving clubs and societies, giving pupils the opportunity to further their interests or to discover completely new ones. Additionally, most academic faculties run their own societies, and their meetings often welcome distinguished academics who are leaders in their field and are happy to come to Shrewsbury - The Geographical Association is one such example.
The Societies Fair is held at the beginning of each academic year, and gives new pupils the opportunity to find out for themselves all that is on offer.
As you can see from this list we have a comprehensive range of societies on offer. These range from the academic to the more hobby-based options but all are designed to interest, challenge and engage pupils. The vast majority of these meet weekly and a schedule of times is made available to boys and girls at the outset of any term. In addition a Societies Fair is held at the start of term to allow societies to showcase themselves and to assist in choices. Most societies take place after lunch on a Monday (known as Societies Hour) but equally might take place elsewhere in the week.
Pupils in the Third and Fourth Forms are expected to sign up for at least ONE activity – though of course they can do more. Tutors will monitor involvement via the Burney Diary (our calendar and pupil planner) and will play a role in encouraging the continued membership of societies by all year groups. For younger pupils wishing to transfer to a different society there will be an expectation that they will remain with that society for at least one term and transfers to another must be by mutual agreement between the staff concerned.
The Bastille Society meets regularly throughout the year for discussion groups, presentations and day visits. In addition, there are regular outside speakers. Recent speakers include Major General Sir Robert Corbett (OS), who was the British Commandant in Berlin in 1989, and Professor Michael Broers of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. The Bastille Society is loosely connected to the Shropshire Historical Association (which holds its meetings at Shrewsbury School).
The Beekeeping Society is in its 40th year at Shrewsbury School. Meetings of the society have been open to all year groups, with training on offer each year for beginners. Many pupils have chosen beekeeping as their skill for the Duke of Edinburgh's Award. The meetings have traditionally been held outdoors from April to October and in the biology labs during the rest of the year. The Society has an apiary near Ridgemount and rooms next to the School laundry for storing equipment and extracting honey. Protective clothing is provided. Members share some of the honey produced by the society's hives but much is also sold to raise funds for school charities.
The Building Society meets fortnightly, when one of the members or an outside speaker gives a short paper on some aspect of architecture. From time to time the Society also visits houses and other sites of architectural interest. Membership is for Sixth Formers and is by invitation only, but students who are considering the study of Architecture at university are strongly encouraged to join.
Canoe and Kayak Club
The Canoe and Kayak Club meets every Monday in the pool for some indoor training allowing us to continue throughout the year. The aim is to teach pupils to roll and carry out basic safety and rescue skills in both a canoe and a kayak. Once rolling has been mastered pupils can then learn the art of cart-wheeling and other impressive acrobatic skills in a boat. When a very keen group of pupils come together, there is the option to undertake a few river trips on Wednesday afternoons for those not involved in playing sport.
These are open meetings for all those who wish to get involved. Volunteers help with new fund-raising ideas, decide which charities to support and rehearse Assembly presentations. The elected Chair, Secretary, Graphic Designer and the all-important ‘House Reps’ are key players, and House-run Charity Committees are developing on the same model. The most successful events are those run entirely by students, including the annual Sixth Form Fashion Shows, and a Variety Show.
The Chess Club has traditionally met in the Library in Societies Hour. This gives keen players a chance to play against pupils from other Houses.
The Chinese Society is open to all non-native as well as native Chinese pupils. Activities for non-native Chinese pupils typically include Chinese conversation at beginners’ level led by both staff and native Chinese pupils and cultural exploration by means of multi-media, artefacts and literature. For our native Chinese pupils, the Society provides an excellent opportunity to keep up with the four language skills in their mother tongue with a particular emphasis on reading.
Christian Forum provides an opportunity every week for interested pupils, whatever their beliefs, to examine some aspect of Christianity. Aa passage from the Bible is taken as the starting point for our discussions, often by hearing a short talk from a visiting speaker.
Creative Writing Society
Craft and Textiles Club
This club aims to dip into a miscellany of craft activities, to accommodate the interests of those attending regularly. Textile activities could include stitching, fabric painting, knitting, crochet, spinning and weaving. Paper-craft activities could include origami, card-making, scrap-booking, constructions with card and calligraphy. Other activities may include making items such as lip balm, bath bombs, soap and candles.
The Dance Club meets every Monday to dance and experience different dance genres. The aim is to teach pupils a greater understanding of dance as well as building confidence, co-ordination and social skills. Dance allows you to express emotion in so many different ways. The workshop will allow the pupils to be able to create their own dance pieces. As well as all this the weekly workshops will work towards a short performance where they can perform the pieces which they have been working on throughout the term.
The Darwin Society is the School's Scientific Society. Meetings are held several times per term during the Michaelmas and Lent Terms, usually on Friday evenings. Lectures are given either by external speakers or current staff on a variety of scientific topics. Most lectures are aimed at a Sixth Form audience but are open to all. After the lecture some Sixth Formers will join teachers and the lecturer for a dinner and a continuing discussion of ideas.
da Vinci Society (Arts)
The da Vinci Society regularly hosts visiting speakers from all walks of the visual arts - architects, artists, photographers, art historians, museum curators, advertising executives, gallery owners - all successful practicioners in their fields and oftern representing the best in contemporary visual culture. All these talks are held in the Art School lecture room and two boys/girls from the Upper Sixth each year are appointed as Presidents of the Society, and their role is to introduce and thank our speakers and help entertain them over dinner afterwards. At each dinner a different group of Sixth Formers are invited to enjoy a convivial meal and an opportunity to discuss the arts further.
The Debating Society meets weekly, running parallel sessions for junior and senior pupils. Each week, pupils will have an opportunity to participate in debates and gain advice on improving their debating skills. Those interested might also have the opportunity to participate in national debating competitions as well as friendly contests with other schools.
Design & Technology Club
This Club is available to all students. Design & Technology studios are open to those looking to practise and explore all things design and technological here at Shrewsbury and beyond. The sessions are designed to support those in examination groups challenging themselves with more complex projects, or for those simply wishing to practise and develop specific skills; including sketching and visualising, CAD modelling or support their practical workshop manufacturing skills. Equally, it would be very useful for those wishing to move into design related higher education and employment; it is a fabulous opportunity to hone graphic design skills and discuss and create portfolios of work in readiness for interview.
The Drama Society meets weekly and is open to all pupils in the Third, Fourth and Fifth Forms. It offers the opportunity for students to hone their performance skills through improvisation and script work and provides an introduction to mask, stage combat, clowning and mime. Depending on interest and ability, we could have regular termly showcases of whatever the pupils produce – maybe a short selection of monologues or duologues or a short devised piece.
The Economics Society meets in the Economics Faculty where one of the members gives a short presentation on an area of Economics that they find particularly interesting. There then follows a discussion or debate on issues raised by the presentation. Membership is restricted to Sixth Form students who study Economics or by invitation.
The Film Society meets fortnightly in the Moser Library and is open to all pupils and staff. Every fortnight we watch a film (selected by members of the group) together in the Library. Students are encouraged to find out more about the stars, directors and techniques involved in the films and discuss and review them. The group may have the opportunity to meet representatives from the film industry and attend film screenings with other schools and colleges.
The French Society meets on an ad hoc basis, when the President or one of the members of the council is keen on organising a wine and cheese tasting or a meal. From time to time the Society also goes to the cinema to watch a French film or to the theatre to watch a play by a French writer. We also organise Movie Nights in Quod from time to time with refreshments offered. We are planning to launch a French magazine as well. Membership is for all Sixth Formers doing French and we also open it to Lower School pupils interested in taking part in some of our activities, especially if they want to carry on with French in the Sixth Form.
The Heseltine Society meets in Quod on Tuesday evenings at 8.00pm. We discuss current affairs and political issues most weeks. Occasionally we also discuss wider philosophical and aesthetic issues, depending on the interests of the students present. The Society also acts as a forum for Oxbridge applicants to make presentations in their chosen field. We occasionally host visiting speakers. The Society welcomes any pupils in the school and is mainly attended by Sixth Formers. Students from local schools and Old Salopians also sometimes attend.
Junior French Society
The junior section of the French Society meets every Monday. We aim to have a lot of fun, with tastings, films etc.
Junior History Society
The Junior History Society is open to anyone in the Third, Fourth and Fifth Forms interested in expanding their understanding of topics that would not necessarily appear on the curriculum. Students experience a wide range of subjects from a number of different time periods, whilst enjoying the opportunity for discussion, stimulating lectures, interactive activities and the development of presentation skills. There is also the opportunity for Sixth Formers to take a leadership role within the Society.
Junior Science Society
The Junior Science Society meets every Monday. A variety of scientific activities and events take place, including lectures and discussions about cutting edge scientific ideas, topical science videos, science and science fiction, science in the news and projects and competitions.
An extra opportunity for those who wish to boost their French, German and Spanish language skills to meet with the Bordeaux Fellow, Frau Wordie or the Hispanic Fellow.
Languages Newspaper (Editorial Committee)
Any pupil is welcome to join this activity, taking a leading role if wished. Staff from the Modern Languages Faculty meet with the Editorial Committee weekly to prepare and publish an international newspaper that includes articles in any language, plus cultural items in English on international themes, and crosswords, poems, cartoons, etc.
The Maths Club allows pupils who enjoy mathematics to develop their logical reasoning and problem-solving skills. Members have the chance to discuss and tackle a variety of mathematical puzzles, helping them to prepare for national and school competitions which run throughout the year.
Prospective medics, dentists and vets are welcome to join - though the emphasis tends to be on human medicine. Talks by visiting speakers are arranged once or twice a term while weekly seminars are held for the Upper Sixth during the Michaelmas Term. The focus is on understanding what the training and careers in medicine are really like, and how to make a successful application.
Middle Eastern Society
For everyone who is interested in learning Arabic, learning about the Middle East and gaining a clearer understanding world affairs involving this region.
Model United Nations (MUN) Club
The MUN Club meets every Wednesday evening and is open to everyone, who is interested in public speaking, politics, the UN and the international world. Every week delegates adopt the roles of the different countries of the UN and we debate a resolution on all sorts of current issues from these perspectives. Those who are up for a challenge opt to go to conferences, mainly in Manchester and London, but also in UNESCO in Paris.
Philosophy and Theology Society
Aimed at Third, Fourth and Fifth Form. Usually in the areas of Philosophy and Ethics, there will be a presentation of a topical/controversial/challenging statement, insight or problem by a speaker, with a discussion to follow. There are opportunities for Sixth Formers to take a leadership role within the activity.
Model Railway Society
The Model Railway Society meets fortnightly in the basement of Moser’s Hall where we are building a new model railway. Each year we have a trip either to the model railway national exhibition in Birmingham or to a preserved railway such as the Severn Valley Railway. No particular modelling skills are required and membership is open to all year groups.
Natural History Society
The Newman Society is a Sixth Form group which meets periodically when stimulating speakers are available to speak on topics drawn from contemporary ethics and philosophical enquiry. It is designed to serve those doing Philosophy and Theology at AS and A2 but is open to all those interested in the bigger questions such as 'Do we have a soul?' and 'Is euthanasia socially and morally acceptable?'
The Quizzing Society has two sessions in the week (Monday after lunch for Third and Fourth Form, Wednesday at 5.00pm for squad). This Society aims to help pupils foster an interest in retention and recollection of facts from a spectrum of academic (and some non-academic) disciplines. The focus of the Michaelmas Term is the Schools’ Challenge in November. In the Lent and Summer Terms, intra-mural encounters culminate in the House Quiz Finals in May.
This Society is open to pupils from all year groups. Every vacation, group members are sent away with a book to read, which we then meet to discuss early in the new term. Discussions are informal and good-natured. Recent examples of books we have read: Candide by Voltaire, Burmese Days by George Orwell and The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. Open to all, and may be of particular interest to those considering making applications to read arts/humanities subjects at university.
The Robotic Society meets on Mondays in the Design Faculty. Robotics discusses and explores technological advancements in robotics and control. Anyone in the Fifth Form and Lower Sixth Form with an interest in cutting edge technologies employed in a range of applications in society would find this of interest. Continuing this theme into Thursday afternoon activities will see the design build of a range of robotics projects that will enthuse the avid techno-bot!
The Russian Society meets weekly and is open to keen linguists of any age who wish to study Russian from scratch to GCSE level. We follow the Penguin Russian Course, which entails a certain amount of independent study between sessions. Some of our Russian native speakers are invited to make ‘guest appearances’ from time to time to help with listening and pronunciation skills, and talk about life in Russian-speaking countries.
Royal Shrewsbury School Shooting Club
The Royal Shrewsbury School Shooting Club meets every Wednesday for beginners or those interested in recreational shooting and again on a Monday and Tuesday for those more talented and in the team. We have a visiting GB coach, Tom Rylands, to assist with the team on Mondays and Tuesdays. The aim of the club is to advance the abilities of those beginners and to ensure the enjoyment of those shooting and for those wishing to take the sport further we compete in a schools postal league and meet other schools for some matches during the year. During the summer, we also visit our local full bore range, in Minsterley, to fire a higher calibre .308 on a longer range and take a small team to Bisley to compete in the coveted Ashburton Trophy.
Shrewsbury School TV
Not so much a club, but a serious venture in conjunction with the Marketing Department, providing short films and videos about life and events at the School. Recent films have included insights into Rowing, the CCF, MUN, Fives, an introduction to Shrewsbury School for new students from Hong Kong, a video about the Tucks and several concerts.
The Sidney Society is named in commemoration of the School's most famous literary figure Sir Philip Sidney (1554-86). Throughout the academic year, the Sidney Society arranges: formal lectures and competitions two or three times a term; directed talks (internal or external speakers) aimed at particular groups of either GCSE or A Level students, particularly for revision during the Summer Term; 3rd Form conversaziones once or twice a term; 6th Form soirees - poetry readings, talks, papers by students, films - anything that's not on an exam syllabus (again once or twice a term); theatre trips, reading trips etc.