Posted on: June 16, 2017

“Students rose brilliantly to challenge.” Rockley cultural and activity residential

Students at Ormiston Denes Academy had an unforgettable experience during a week-long residential to South West France.

25 students and three staff took the 18-hour coach and ferry trip to participate in a variety of outdoor and adventurous activities. For many, it was their first time away from home and for more, their first time abroad.

The trip was organised by Head of PE Stuart Aldous through the experienced sailing and adventure company Rockley.

The group camped out each evening and ate meals together outside in high temperatures. But the main focus was participating in three sessions a day of outdoor and adventurous activities such as sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, windsurfing, mountain biking, team building and a visit to the largest sand dune in Europe, which stood like a mountain on the horizon, with the Pyrenees in full view.

The project was self-funded by the students. A group of 25, from years 8 and 9, attended with the Head of Department and two other staff, Shelly Halsey and community sports coach Jim Keeble who had previous experience of the trip with another school in Lowestoft.

Ben Driver, the academy’s Principal, is a huge advocate of such trips, with a firm belief that students should have the opportunity to travel abroad and experience different cultures.

Students ate frogs’ legs and snails during a themed French evening, and got to exercise their language skills on trips to the local beach and nearby town.

“It was fantastic, please let us go again next year” – Fran  (Year 9)

“It’s a trip I will remember for a very long time” – Josh (Year 8)

“Such a brilliant week I’ll never forget” – Joel (Year 9)

What parents/carers told us:

Anne G: “Thank u to all staff. Abbey had an amazing week and even asked if she could go back next year.”

Debbie A: “Thank you to all the teachers and instructors at Rockley for an amazing week for the kids …. one they will never forget.”

Marcus B: “Thank you to all the teacher team and school friends, for ensuring all the kids have had an adventure they will remember for the rest of their lives.”

Heather J: “Thanks so much staff for keeping the Facebook page updated every day. So nice for parents. Well done for surviving!!”

Tracy S: “Joshua had a brilliant time and was nonstop chattering about his experiences. He was totally shattered but didn’t give in and go to bed til just after 8 this evening (which is early for him). He has already asked if he can go again if it happens, he enjoyed it that much. Thank you to all of you for looking after them all week and keeping them safe, and giving them an opportunity to experience everything they have over the week; something they will remember for a long time. I would say the worst part was unpacking his bag and ending up with half the beach on my kitchen floor!”

“The students rose brilliantly to the challenge of the watersports and mountain biking, and had an amazing time. They experienced a foreign culture, language and currency whilst developing their personal and social skills through adventurous activities. The main benefits to the students were experiencing culture from another country, travelling abroad; many for the first time, camping and participating in water sports and outdoor adventurous activities. Students pushed themselves physically to their maximum potential and grew throughout the week. We wish to take the trip again next year.” Stuart Aldous, Head of PE.

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