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St Mary's Catholic High School

Year 11 at Hindleap Warren

Jacob's LadderEighty-eight Year 11 students took part in the Residential Revision and Activity Weekend at Hindleap Warren outdoor centre in Ashdown Forest, from Friday, 17th to Sunday, 19th September. The staff from the centre were full of praise for their behaviour, support for one another, and explained that they were a pleasant group to host. Our students, yet again, proved to be great ambassadors for our school, and for their families.

The purpose of the weekend was partly to help students catch-up on some of their learning in English and mathematics that may have been affected by the pandemic, but also to build relationships and a team ethos in the year group as they start the most important stage of their education so far.

Students will have brought back long-lasting memories of the individual physical challenges, such as climbing the 40ft high rock wall, scaling ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ and the nerve-tingling ‘Leap of Faith’ trapeze jump from the top of a telegraph pole. As important were the team-building challenges, including a night-time forest orienteering activity, and the various plank, tyre and catapult tasks. The last evening also saw all students enjoying a sing-song around the campfire, before experiencing toasted marshmallows, many for the first time.

The staff at the centre employ a process called ‘peer belaying’ where those not climbing help the instructor pull the ropes tight for those that are climbing. This helps build trust and understanding within the group. Students understood that while as individuals they might scale the heights, there is always a team of others students below offering advice and ensuring that they were safe at all times.

Hindleap Warren English catch-upBut the weekend was not just about the various action-packed challenges. The timetable for the weekend meant that all students followed a schedule of English and mathematics catch-up lessons in the indoor facilities at the centre, with teachers from these core subjects at St Mary’s accompanying the group throughout the weekend. We are confident that the students who took part in this special weekend will have kick-started their commitment to studies on their return to school.

With beautifully fine weather over the weekend, Hindleap Warren, set in Ashdown Forest, proved to be a perfect location to allow our students leave more resilient, with stronger friendships, and with their confidence levels as high as the challenges they conquered. Thank you to all the staff at the centre for their professionalism, enthusiasm and friendship, ensuring that our students were always safe, well fed and engaged throughout.


Special thanks to Mr Owen, Deputy Headteacher, who organised and led the residential trip, and to all the staff who accompanied the students over the weekend, including: Mr Loggenburg, Head of Year 11, along with Miss Delaney, Miss Garratt, Mrs Orowale, Miss Williams, Mr Muhammad, Miss Rendall, and Mr Saint-Prix.  Mr Shields and Mrs Wheeler were also welcome visitors to Hindleap Warren over the weekend.