Aim for the Stars
Enrichment Week 2023: Aim for the Stars
Our (new) Year 8 pupils were amazing during Enrichment Week 2023 and rose to the challenges of the activities. The weather improved over the course of the week and even the wet weather on Monday and Tuesday couldn’t dampen their spirits.
Pupils demonstrated our school values of trust, determination and kindness over the whole week. Miss Charlesworth, Deputy Head, commented ‘I am really proud of all the pupils, they have been positive and engaged with all the activities all week. The coach drivers have commented on how polite our pupils are too. It’s been a real pleasure visiting pupils each day and seeing the smiles on their faces. There are some very tired pupils now!’
On Monday the whole year group went to St Fagans Natural History Museum near Cardiff. The pupils followed different routes around the site in their tutor groups, giving them the chance to explore. There are over forty (mostly original) buildings from different periods of history, from iron age onwards, including a church, the original castle, houses, farms and a school. A terrace of six mine workers' cottages was particularly interesting, the same shell displaying interiors from 1805, 1855, 1895, 1925, 1955 and 1985.
From Tuesday to Friday each tutor group completed four different activities, accompanied by a tutor and other Deer Park staff . In many cases the pupils achieved more than they thought possible. It was lovely to hear them encouraging and supporting each other.
As in previous years, the Survival Skills on the Bathurst Estate proved to be very popular, you could certainly smell the pupils on their return! Pupils were shown how to create and light a fire safely and used their whittled sticks to cook their sausages, before enjoying a dessert cooked on their fire. Harley said “I enjoyed everyone cooking on the campfire”. No pupils found the bear they had been told to look out for but on Friday some pupils apparently saw a lion, which may have been a member of staff in disguise!
The day at Lake 32 involved pupils choosing three different activities to do over the course of the day, from a list including stand-up paddle boarding, giant SUP, kayaking, canoeing, raft building, archery and bushcraft. In many cases they had to use their communication skills and teamwork to complete tasks successfully. For a lot of pupils this was their favourite day. Louis said ‘kayaking on Lake 32 was brilliant, and the lake was warmer than being on dry land.' Sophia said ‘I have had fun all week, I really enjoyed Lake 32 and doing paddle boarding’.
The pupils also spent a day at Cotswold Country Park, where half the day was on AquaVenture (a wipe-out style assault course) and mini golf and the other half was enjoying the sunshine (when it came out) at the beach and swimming in the lake. This was another popular day, with Naomi saying 'My highlight of the week was AquaVenture, because it was great fun!' Daniel said ‘AquaVenture was awesome, especially the 5-metre drop!’ Staff supported from the land although Mrs Ireland did offer to get in to help support some pupils on AquaVenture - luckily one of the Cotswold Country Park staff stepped in first, much to the disappointment of staff and pupils alike.
The final activity was run by STEMworks. Pupils were challenged to create an invention or product to help their local community become more sustainable in the future. In teams they came up with ideas, created prototypes and presented these to the other teams in a Dragons' Den style. Each team member had specific responsibility for Production, ICT, Marketing or Buying, led by a Managing Director. The pupils were incredibly creative, there are definitely some budding entrepreneurs in the making.
Daisy said “I loved learning new things and having so much fun.”
Mr Ferne summed up the week by saying, ‘All week new Year 8 have shown incredible resilience to overcome a range of challenges, and the variable weather. What a brilliant bunch!’
Miss Hope commented, ‘A fantastic week spent with my tutor group. The highlight of my week was survival skills in the woods. Always great to see the pupils having fun creating dens, and devouring their freshly barbecued sausages.'