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Through mud and high water

4 March 2020

Last week, almost 100 Year 7 pupils and eight members of Westminster City School staff undertook a rewarding, yet muddy, residential trip in East Sussex.

Spending two nights and three days at Hindleap Warren, a fantastic outdoor education centre, in the Ashdown Forest, our intrepid pupils took part in a range of activities designed to build relationships across the year group, increase resilience and confidence, and teach new skills.

Ms Davies, Head of Year 7, explains: “Hindleap Warren provided expert instructors to support our pupils. For example, at the indoor archery range, our pupils were taught to use a bow and arrow safely, and given time to practice and improve their skills. We then held an archery competition to test who had become the most accurate archer.

“For our pioneering activity, an instructor taught basic knot skills, then provided guidance as pupils were challenged to build a giant catapult, using only wooden logs and ropes, to propel tennis balls toward a target in the woods. Whilst learning new skills was at the centre of this activity, other outcomes were improved team skills and a sense of achievement.”

The muddy and wet conditions did not dampen spirits, with pupils, Westminster City School staff and centre instructors enthusiastically exploring Hindleap Warren’s 300 acres of private woodland. By the end of this forest adventure, all had walked across streams, waded in deep mud and scrambled through thick undergrowth!

As one Year 7 said: “Thank you to Westminster City School staff and Hindleap Warren instructors for all the help and encouragement given. I’m very grateful because you made me consider all the activities at Hindleap Warren, some of which I didn’t want do, and I came out of my comfort zone, which felt really good. I left Hindleap Warren with no regrets because, in the end and with your encouragement, I tried everything!”

During the annual residential trip, our pupils stayed in rooms of six. They had to make their own beds on arrival, and strip bedding before leaving. A delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner was provided by the dedicated Hindleap Warren staff and, at each sitting, a ‘duty’ group of pupils also served drinks, then cleared plates.

Ms Davies added: “Our Headteacher visited Hindleap Warren during the middle of our stay. He was impressed with how well our pupils were persevering, despite the weather conditions! I’m proud to say that all our pupils were a credit to themselves, and their families, when away from London.”

In addition, while our Year 7 pupils were at Hindleap Warren, the remaining 35 stayed at our School, following a bespoke three-day timetable that delved deeper into aspects of their subjects. In art, pupils explored the work of the artist Alexander Calder while, in science, pupils watched a documentary about the food chain and produced their own cartoon strips.


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