Before October half term, The Portsmouth Academy took 20 students to the Outward Bound Aberdovey Centre in North Wales for a 5 day residential. The students were provided with this opportunity as part of a UK-wide research project looking into the benefits of outdoor learning in our young people. This is over 2-year period and funded by the Education Endowment Fund. The research is run by the Sheffield Hallam University and supported the Thinking School Academy Trust.
The students took on various challenges from the high-rope course to an overnight expedition carrying all their equipment. Each of them faced challenges at different times throughout the week and then overcoming them as both individuals and as a team. The teams used some of the thinking tools that they use at school, to help them plan and reflect on the activities that they took part in. The students were supported throughout the week by two very passionate instructors, Rikki and Boo overseen by Dave. This team of instructors gave our students a unique opportunity to what outdoor learning has to offer, whilst catering to their needs, likes, and struggles. One of our students commented that, “Even though the expedition was hard, getting to the top of the mountain was just amazing. Looking out across the valley was like looking at a postcard.”
The Portsmouth Academy is paving the way through pioneering opportunities like this residential, as we value the importance of outdoor learning and education to all of our students. These outdoor environments enable our students to develop skills such as problem-solving, negotiating risk and hazards, developing leadership qualities whilst being challenged in new environments and trying out new activities.