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St Mary's Catholic High School

Year 11's residential weekend at Hindleap Warren

Year 11 is a really important year for students as they prepare for their public examinations as well as looking forward to their post-16 choices, and we at St Mary’s Catholic High School are committed to putting as much support in place for them as possible. Once again, we took Year 11 on a residential weekend trip to an outdoor pursuits centre, Hindleap Warren, where they participate in a variety of team building games led by the centre staff, and specialist subject lessons delivered by our teachers who will accompany them. The purpose of the weekend is partly to help students gain a deeper understanding of the significance of revision and also to build relationships and a team ethos in the year group as they go into the most important year of their education so far.

The event took place from Friday 11th November to Sunday 13th November 2022. Hindleap Warren Outdoor Centre, located near East Grinstead, East Sussex, in the heart of Ashdown Forest, and proves 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.

Many students will have long-lasting memories of the many physical activities that they completed, including: the ‘Leap of Faith’ from a platform the size of a pizza box on the top of a 30ft telegraph pole;  scaling the rock wall; or perhaps completing one of the many team-building exercises set across the stunning autumn woodland setting of Hindleap Warren. All these activities were carefully supervised by the centre staff who, while impressing upon the students the importance of following instructions, encouraged them to be creative in finding solutions to the various challenges.

As important as the physical challenges, the timetable for the weekend included revision workshops in English and mathematics led by staff from St Mary’s who gave up their weekend to support our students at this important time. For the staff it was an opportunity to really get to know their students better – working with them in unfamiliar surroundings and even taking on many of the challenges. Accompanying the students on a night orienteering exercise through woodland, muddy paths and steams, or toasting marshmallows around a campfire while watching stars in a night sky not visible from the centre of Croydon, is a memory that few will forget easily.

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. Also, a special thank you to all the staff from St Mary’s who were involved in the weekend, reminding us that the comment made of St Mary’s staff by Ofsted in a previous inspection still holds true:

'Staff often go the extra mile to show that they really value the pupils and that they truly seek to understand their needs and personalities, well beyond a set of data.'   Ofsted 2017