Adventure at Colfe’s Outdoor Education

Outdoor Education

Combined Cadet Force Squadron

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

We educate and develop the whole child – and not just academically. Surprisingly, for a suburban school in south east London, one of the main ways we do this is to take our pupils away from the classroom and into the great outdoors.

And the pupils love it, which is why so many volunteer later on for our Combined Cadet Force. They gain con dence by facing and overcoming challenges, they learn skills, they improve their teamwork – and they understand that this bene ts them not just at school but for the rest of their lives.

Our dedicated Outdoor Education Department, led by a quali ed and experienced practitioner, runs courses inside the school day (up to Year 9) and outside. They are carefully graded, from

a gentle introduction to the outdoors in Year 3 to mountain expeditions in the Senior School.

Junior School Courses

Year 3

Year 3 pupils spend two days near Cranbrook, Kent, being introduced gently to challenges in the outdoor environment; they learn that it can all be done safely. They take a closer look at the natural world and the many plants and creatures that surround, and they come to understand the need to care for this natural playground. Activities include a zip wire, low ropes course, shelter building, pond dipping, nature trail and raft building; they make for a varied, fun and informative couple of days.

Year 4

Building on the experiences gained in Year 3 this two-day course in Thurrock, Essex, pushes the boundaries a little further. On the large boating lake pupils receive introductory sessions in both sailing and canoeing. A large climbing tower provides a rst chance to climb and abseil. Other sessions include archery and a high ropes course. With the emphasis always on safety, pupils are guaranteed an adrenalin- lled time whilst learning about themselves and others and embracing challenge. They are encouraged to support and encourage one another

Year 5

Now older and with two successful experiences in the outdoors behind them, pupils are ready for their residential course. They spend four days in a newly refurbished and superbly equipped centre. There are a multitude of activities on o er from high ropes courses and the 3G swing to singing round a roaring camp re. It is a good mix of challenging activities guaranteed to raise the pulse and skills-based sessions such as a rst chance to ride a quad bike.

Year 6

In the summer term of their nal year in the Junior School pupils nd out what a full-blown pursuits week is like. It is a great way to spend time with friends whilst learning new skills. This ve-day course is accommodated in a tented camp on the Dorset coast. Pupils get the chance to kayak in the sea, sh for crabs o the pier and for mackerel from a boat. They also spend a day coasteering, being washed into sea caves with the waves in the beautiful clear blue sea. The week ends with a beach BBQ – this is the stu memories are made of!

The Gambia

In the summer term of their nal year in the Junior School pupils nd out what a full-blown pursuits week is like. It is a great way to spend time with friends whilst learning new skills. This ve-day course is accommodated in a tented camp on the Dorset coast. Pupils get the chance to kayak in the sea, sh for crabs o the pier and for mackerel from a boat. They also spend a day coasteering, being washed into sea caves with the waves in the beautiful clear blue sea. The week ends with a beach BBQ – this is the stu memories are made of!

Every year a working party of students and teachers spends a week in the Gambia, experiencing the challenges of life in a developing country that lacks many of the basic facilities we take for granted.

Experiencing at rst hand a country and a way of life that are very di erent from their own makes our students view their own lives from a fresh and sharper perspective: perhaps the tribulations that exercise them in the UK are not so arduous after all. We also take time to visit historical sites in The Gambia, such as the old slave market, to learn about Britain’s 200-year involvement in its former colony.

But we are not just passive outside observers.

Not only do we visit classrooms, we put on our hard hats and working gloves and help out with a long-term building project to improve Kotu School.

Over the last decade Colfe’s has been responsible for a library, playground surface, toilet blocks, an assembly hall and several new and refurbished classrooms.

Our students appreciate the value of their work at Kotu when they see how we are welcomed back each year with big smiles and warm hearts: the ongoing relationship with Kotu School and our friends in The Gambia is important to both sides.

For our students this can be a ful lling and moving experience, and it opens their understanding of the world they live in.

“I can quite easily say this has been an experience like no other. Words cannot do the trip justice. The culture, more than anything, struck me the most. It was fantastic to be granted the opportunity to be part of it.”

Headmaster: Richard Russell MA (Cantab.)

Horn Park Lane

London SE12 8AW

T: 020 8852 2283

www.colfes.com

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