Year 8 students from Bradon Forest School near Swindon have been enjoying a variety of activities as part of their ‘outdoor education’ experience, or as it’s fondly referred to at school, Year 8 Camp, writes Jennifer Purcell, Arts Manager, Bradon Forest School
The long running day trip started out as an overnight camp but after many years had to switch to a day experience because of restrictions imposed by foot and mouth disease several years ago. The new format has proved successful and this year students were able to relish some nice weather for a change!
Students choose from three main activities led by the excellent staff at Waterland Park, Ashton Keynes; archery, raft building and canoeing, meaning that they could get as wet as they like, or stay dry for the day.
Each option gave students the chance to develop different skills, from team work to being able to focus independently, and they were able to push themselves out of their comfort zone under the safety of professional instruction.
Molly Nowell was an enthusiastic participant. "I really enjoyed the archery. I have done it before so it was great to have more practice. I’d love to take it up as a sport."
The day also included team building exercises to challenge the students. Groups worked on tent construction, without instructions, relay commando crawling under cargo nets, pyramid balance and blindfolded navigation. As if that wasn’t enough, the whole group finished the day with a lovely walk around the park, taking in the delights of the play park, back to base in time for a tasty BBQ.
Miss Moore, Head of Girls PE who was leading the course said, "It’s been very enjoyable spending time with our students outside of the school environment. Not only are they able to learn different skills from their activities but they have a chance to enjoy precious play time as children. It’s been lovely to see so many huge smiles."
The course ran over four days, with two year 8 tutor groups going out on each day. The students relished having their tutors join in the fun and didn’t miss an opportunity to get them wet!
Miss Hall said the event helped create a different teacher student relationship. "Not teaching my tutor group and only spending time with them during morning registration, this outdoor education day has given me the opportunity to get to know the students better. It’s been a great bonding experience for the whole tutor group."
Niki Taherian liked getting away from school routine. "It’s been great, better than school! The best bit was canoeing as we all jumped in the water at the end."