On Friday 17th May Beckfoot Upper Heaton’s REAL group of students piled into a minibus and headed to Buckden House to scramble up some ghylls and face some fears. The weather was beautiful and all of the students arrived enthusiastic and raring to go. This particular group of students are part of a focused programme and have spent a year undertaking a variety of projects designed to develop soft skills whilst also raising self-esteem.
The day got off to an interesting start when we were met by a flock of sheep on their way to their shed – a proper introduction to country life! After a relatively short walk we reached the waterfall that we were planning to climb, helmets and harnesses went on and we were ready for action. Buckden House is the perfect facility for students of this age – the activity was challenging, required teamwork and pushed students out of their comfort zones making it perfect for the REAL group. After a pretty gruelling climb, including some parts that required ‘clipping in’ on climbing ropes, some amazing parkour from a couple of students (and one student falling in a pool up to his knees) we reached as far as we could go in the time we had. The Buckden instructors were amazed by the student’s attitudes, teamworking skills and stamina – “we need to get them back to go caving! They’ll love it!” was the lead instructor’s request.
This type of outdoor education with a certain level of physical challenge could not have suited this group better and it’s something that we would certainly suggest as a reward or intervention for students that may not be engaging in the classroom or who aren’t finding school a positive experience. This provided the REAL group with the opportunity to develop valuable transferable skills whilst also drawing on their own reserves of resilience, teamwork and courage. Such an inspiring day with a great group of students!