On Friday, Year 3 returned from a fantastic residential trip to the Braeside Education Centre. It was the first time away from home for a number of the children and excitement was high.
We had all discussed the 3 Heywood values and were unanimous that Determination was going to have to be at full value for everyone if we were going to complete the, as yet, unknown activities Mr Carr and Mr Ruane had planned.
Thursday morning saw the arrival of enough luggage for a 2 week stay and bags, suitcases, pillows and even a penguin bigger than some of the children in the school were loaded on to the minibus.
On arrival we were straight in to it. Climbing and Quick jump! Everyone set themselves a target and all achieved their goal. The reward for the completion of the climb was the opportunity to have a go at the “quick drop” which was pretty much as it sounds: A Jaw-dropping step in to the void before a speedy descent to the gravel 8 metres or so below.
A quick lunch and rapid re-pack saw the children heading down Devizes high street ready for some canoeing on the Kennet and Avon canal. Once again, comfort zones were tested but we all managed to spend a successful 2 hours mucking about on the water, avoiding capsize, racing, splashing, playing tag, avoiding capsize, playing canoe netball (less net more canoe!) and generally having fun.
Back to base and it was time to get to know our dormitories and get settled in to our rooms. Different approaches to unpacking then ensued: Neat placement of belongings in available space, hiding of full suitcases under beds and the style of unpacking which consists of arranging one’s items randomly around the floor.
Dinner was next, a raucous affair with hearty fare dished out in no small volume. A veritable re-fuelling for further active endeavour.
Sated and refreshed we embarked on the “night-line” a jaunt around the sloped and in places perilous environs of the centre. The terrain was difficult enough but we were then blind-folded and entrusted to our buddy who had to guide us around, over, through and under obstacles. It needed communication and team-work. No-one was found wanting and bar some slightly muddy knees we headed back to the Laurels and the Beeches for a clean-up and preparation for bed.
It would be nice to report that everyone was fast asleep mere minutes after tucking up in bed and that there was quiet until the allotted 7am start. Not quite…
Friday morning’s activities consisted of crate stacking, low ropes and problem-solving tasks. The first two proved so much fun that less time was spent on the last, although the challenge of balancing the whole team on a wobbly platform was great fun. A consistent element of all the activities was a huge reliance on team work and supporting our class-mates. Whether providing moral support for the climber, paddling in unison in a desire to splash Miss Tombling, Mr Carr or Mr Ruane or belaying our buddies on the crate stack, we proved that we were there for our friends.
And so, it was then time to return to school, back to the loving embrace of missed family. And it was unanimous: “Can we stay another day”, “I don’t want to go” and similar expressions of disappointment that the fun had to end.
We learnt much, laughed a lot, worked in teams and showed bucket loads of determination. Some of us even slept!
Huge thanks to the staff at Braeside and for the accompanying Heywood Prep staff.
Mr Thom Ruane, Year 3 Form Tutor