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High Achievers at Slimbridge

On Friday 14 October thirty four ‘High Achieving’ Year 7 pupils (based on attainment prior to joining Deer Park) embarked on a weekend away.

It was clear, as pupils boarded the coach after school, that there was an assortment of emotions: many were excited, but some were apprehensive and others were concerned that they didn’t know many of the other pupils. Any concerns quickly dissipated as we weaved our way through the Cotswold sunshine towards Slimbridge and the ‘Wild Goose Lodge’ – our home for the weekend.

Once we had arrived, unpacked and had some food, we quickly got to work. Pupils were involved in team building activities requiring different team skills and, by the end of the weekend, every pupil had worked with each other.

Much of Saturday was planned around Slimbridge Wetland Centre, where pupils conducted enquiries into the cleanliness of water at different locations across the site, in addition to being set several challenges.

Y7 Slimbridge October 2016

Y7 Slimbridge October 2016

Mrs Davies, Head of English, explains: “As part of their English work pupils were given the task of working in small groups to create a persuasive report encouraging readers to visit WWT Slimbridge. During the day they collected information, obtaining quotes from both visitors and members of staff. I was delighted by the impressive quality of their written reports. Pupils showed they were confident using sophisticated vocabulary as well as a range of persuasive techniques.”

Read some of their reports...

The winning report was produced by Floss, Charlotte, Anya and Alex.  Here is an extract:

 Wetlands is when land meets water. There is more wildlife at Slimbridge than in any other place in the United Kingdom. All animals are protected, well cared for and free-roaming. Wetlands can supply drinking water, protect us from flooding, produce stunning landscapes and lastly provide us with raw materials and food. This makes them vitally important.

During your visit you can feed the friendly birds and find out about new or rare species (such as the Nene, the world’s rarest goose) and visit the eco-friendly ponds and lakes. If you’re lucky enough you may have the opportunity to go pond dipping and visit the exotic tropical house!...

Just launched recently are the epic, life-sized Lego-mSave ade models that are scattered around the birds’ habitats. They took 80 hours to build but are worth the effort!...

Overall, this is a gorgeous location to visit. It is interesting, fun and educational for all – an extravagant trip that you will regret missing out on.


Another group - Ole, Will, Oli and Scott - wrote:

Are you tired of watching birds fly away? Yes? Then come to Slimbridge and make your dreams come true: feed the birds with your very own hand.

At Slimbridge you will have an exclusive chance to see many wetland creatures that you never feasted your eyes on in the wild before. This great place is not only fun for families, but also senior citizens. An elderly couple, who have been members for forty years said ‘There are lots of amazing and different things to see and do here’.

Peter, Tom, Thomas and Josh engaged their readers by beginning with a series of questions:

Have you seen otters show off underwater? Have you even heard of a barnacle goose? Do you know how many different breeds of duck there are? Have you ever fed nenes? Do you want to do any of these? Well, here is the answer – Slimbridge is packed full of wetland creatures from pond snails to red-crowned cranes in an exciting bird safari. So what are you waiting for? Grab your wellies, head outdoors and explore the adventure at WWT Slimbridge!


After a focus on Science and English, in addition to the development of team and leadership skills, during our time at the Slimbridge Wetland Centre, we returned to our weekend lodgings and embarked on some outdoor Maths!

Mrs Pennington, Head of Maths, said: ‘The Year 7 pupils enjoyed working in small teams together and were tasked with putting their mathematical skills into practice by creating leaf logic loops, calculating the height of trees and working out an estimate for the amount of carbon they stored. The beautiful surroundings really brought the tasks alive and it was fun to be outside together problem solving.’  Pupils really grasped how important maths is in everyday life as a result of some of the team tasks undertaken.

Y7 Slimbridge October 2016

​  Y7 Slimbridge October 2016

After completing the day's tasks, pupils put their heads together in the evening for Quiz Time. Teams battled it out with rounds on General Knowledge, Celebrities, Geography and Brands - we certainly had a competitive bunch of pupils staying at the Wild Goose Lodge!

​  Y7 Slimbridge October 2016

​  Y7 Slimbridge October 2016

On Sunday morning pupils showed their creativity, completing a series of imaginative writing tasks, led by Mrs Davies. The tasks were based on a collection of objects in bags hidden in Rosie’s Wood, just over a mile’s walk from the Wild Goose Lodge, and  included imagining what the person who had owned the objects looked like and what had happened to them before they abandoned the bag in the wood. Staff enjoyed hearing the pupils explaining their dramatic and exciting stories.

The return coach journey, weaving through the Cotswold Hills, was filled with conversations with newly-made friends, laughter (and a bit of sleep for those completely worn out!).  We had a fantastic, enriching time.

Mrs Lang, Deputy Head

Thank you to you and your colleagues for this weekend's trip.  My son thoroughly enjoyed himself and is very enthusiastic about the whole weekend's experience. A very positive response to the start of his Secondary School education! 

Year 7 Parent

Have you heard about the Flight of the Swans project connecting wildlife, wetlands and people – from the wilderness of the arctic tundra all the way to Slimbridge? Read more...