Although I have been away all week with the Year 6s, it is Friday and therefore I must post a new blog. Apologies to the other parents but most of it will reflect upon the week away with this cohort but I hope you will still find it of interest. After all, it is highly likely at some point in the future, we will be returning with our younger pupils when they get into Year 6.
I have run many school residentials in my time and therefore it has been lovely to attend this one not as the organiser but as a group leader (and at times, holder of the school credit card). Mrs Bryan took up the role this year and once again the week has been incredible.
An early start on Monday saw us depart in very nice weather for Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, our first port of call on our trip. Unlike last year, where the first (of many) sick bags were in use by Stevenage, we got all the way to Portsmouth without a single incident. No vomit and not a hint of an ‘are we nearly there yet?’ I knew then it was going to be a great week.
We visited the Mary Rose exhibition during our stop as well as HMS Victory. I remember the former being raised in 1982 and watching it on Blue Peter and so it is always lovely to see it in person. HMS Victory is a splendid vessel although when chatting to one of the guides, it appears a more appropriate name moving forward might be HMS Trigger’s Broom as it embarks upon a 12-year restoration project. I don’t suppose they would consider raising the height of the decks whilst they carry out this project to prevent me and many of our taller pupils bumping our heads every five minutes?
After a spot of lunch – only two hours after a spot of mid-morning ‘lunch’ – we headed onto the ferry to take us a across to our destination, Little Canada. There was much excitement as the pupils found their homes for the week and with whom they would be sharing. I think they were all pleased. It is a big site and this week, a busy site, but it is a safe site and one which gives the pupils space to play and enjoy their free time as well as engage them in so many amazing activities.
Over the course of the five days away, the pupils have taken part in kayaking, archery, problem solving and sensory trails. They have climbed up things; they have abseiled down things. They have also had the chance to enjoyed a giant swing. I say ‘enjoy’, as I assumed the screams were screams of delight!
Despite coming away thinking I was going to be a ‘floater’ (not a pleasant title), I did end up working with a group, the amazing Group E. They were exceptional company for our activities and I was so proud of the way they overcome some personal fears to conquer new challenges.
Luca was my partner in a kayak, for example, and from being a complete novice as we started, he soon became very competent and even allowed me to take a breather from time to time and contemplate how to improve my core strength. Kayaking really takes it out of you – well me, anyway!
The dedicated twitter feed for our Year 6 residential and also our Year 4 residential which ran from Wednesday to Friday this week were filled with photos of all the activities. This is a change from residentials when I started teaching which didn’t allow for any communication back to home but I think it is a lovely touch to allow parents to see just how much fun their children are having. They will hopefully act as conversation starters when pupils return and talk about the different things they have been doing. I am sure it is appreciated.
I have been on many, many school residentials – well over 30 – and I can honestly say this has been one of the best, if not the best. It was so easy and the pupils were just incredible.
It is appropriate at this time to thank my staff who have given up their families this week to allow these trips to happen. I will never take this for granted and I know you don’t either.
I have been keeping in contact with school throughout the week and trying to keep up to date with my email inbox. Not always easy but I think I’ve managed it. Wednesday was particularly busy and I think Mrs Lanni was sick to death of me by lunchtime. 110 miles may as well have been 1010 miles when you just want a quick chat or check on something that needs doing; if there is a problem that needs addressing or an email that someone wants an immediate answer to (that is a subject for a blog in its own right). It did make me reflect on whether or not the headteacher should or could take this much time away from the office. We shall see.
The Year 3s and Year 5s back at base, together with the pupils who didn’t go on our residentials where engaged in a week of equally as exciting activities. This was my turn to use twitter – our regular feed – to see everything they were getting up to. There really can’t be many schools who offer the range of experiences and opportunities we do week after week. That is definitely not me being self-congratulatory; it is me reflecting again, on what a great team we have and how they work tirelessly for the benefit of the pupils. They certainly deserve the half tern break (even if many will be writing school reports).
We return to school on Tuesday 6th June after an INSET day on the Monday. The diary, as my last paragraph would suggest is full.
There is a potions roadshow at Hitchin Girls’ School for our Year 6s and after lunch, they have a Caribbean tasting session. That is quite an eclectic mix. Year 3s have their activity afternoon ‘reward’ sessions and the transition meetings between the local secondary schools and the Year 6 team begin.
We have a cricket match against Purwell on Thursday after school and an Olympic Legacy Day at Knights Templar school on Friday.
I am also having coffee with the CEO of Herts for Learning on Friday afternoon. There is plenty I would like to talk to her about.
So that is it for the week and another half term. When we come back to school we have 34 days left until the end of this academic year. That is all. How are we going to fit everything in?
Not sure how long we have left on our journey home and I am keeping my fingers crossed the M25 is kind to us.
Have a great break.