Over the past 2 weeks I have had the very great privilege to get to know the new Year 7 students and walk with them across Dartmoor. Each year we take each of the Houses to Dartmoor as part of our transition programme and this year proved to be exciting, challenging and rewarding for all the students and staff involved. We had unseasonably hot weather for the first week and then unprecedented rainfall the next which just added to the adventure.
Our students were most certainly up for the challenge of the walk, working effectively in teams to set up a Tyrolean traverse and get their team across the river Dart. I witnessed first-hand the joy and pride of students on crossing the river or getting back to the centre after a tiring 9 mile walk. Those who had been dreading it or worried wanted to do it again once they had crossed the river.
On the final day students received certificates and some earnt a precious House badge as reward for their resilience, support of others, willingness to try new things and challenging themselves. Some of the personal stories and reflections of the students were really moving. If students take these learning behaviours and positive attitudes forward into their learning and life then they will do brilliantly.
I am extremely proud of the students for their willingness to get involved and overcome fears. Students are now firmly part of their House and know the staff linked to their House far better. The House Captains went above and beyond supporting students and working hard to ensure they had everything they needed to be successful.
We really believe in the importance of the residential but understand that after only a few weeks at College this can be a tall order for some students and their parents. Thank you for all the emails we have received from parents; the supportive comments and belief in what we are trying to do is really appreciated. The following email has been anonymised but came from the parent of a Year 7 girl. I think her words reflect the journey of both her and her daughter since coming to College. I am sure that something of what she says will resonate with you.
Good evening Mrs Rash
I just wanted to say thank you for giving my daughter the opportunity to have the experience she has had over the past few days. I fully admit that since hearing about the residential when she was in year 5, I have had my doubts and numerous concerns about the trip. Although your talks reassured me that she would be safe, I was convinced that my daughter would not enjoy it one bit! If I had felt it was optional, I would have chosen for her not to go. However… when I picked up my little super star from school today I was greeted by a massive grin and the news that she has earned her house team colours – I could not have been prouder! That moment will stay with me forever, and I know that her achievements (from eating curry for the first time, getting up early to make breakfast, walking NINE MILES, not to mention being away from home – and all just a few weeks after starting secondary school) will stay with her throughout her time at college, and beyond. You have given her the opportunity to do things that she didn’t think were possible, and she is so happy. Please pass on my heartfelt thanks to her awesome tutor as well as the lovely House Captain (who I haven’t met but all accounts is thought of very highly by my daughter).
We are really pleased with the start that Year 7 have made. Thank you for your support and I hope you and your family have a good half-term.
Please follow the link below to complete a short survey about the residential.