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On Thursday 8 September 54 lower school pupils ventured to Swanage, Dorset for a three-day trip with the aim of building new friendships and developing new skills. Head of Lower School Caroline Finnegan reports:
"After disembarking their coach, pupils enjoyed a picnic lunch in the sunshine before unpacking into their tipis which were to be home for the next two nights. Pupils spent the afternoon undertaking team building challenges around the campsite, led by energetic staff from outdoor adventure centre Land and Wave.
"After a hearty lasagne supper in camp, half of the year group took part in a mini Olympics, creating their own opening ceremony performances before competing in unique events such as ‘wellie wanging’. The other half of the year group enjoyed a stunning campfire for the evening, dancing along to songs, telling stories and eating roasted marshmallows.
"On day two, pupils assembled their own packed lunches and split off into groups for morning activities. Two groups travelled a short distance to the highly popular climbing spot Dancing Ledge on the Jurassic Coast. The spot offers beautiful climbing right next to the sea and pupils thoroughly enjoyed exploring the surrounding area. The other groups spent the morning kayaking in Swanage Bay. They broke off into smaller groups and developed their paddling technique under the guidance of their group instructors. Once they had it mastered, groups competed against in other in speed relays and water obstacle courses.
"Groups either had lunch on the beach or back at camp before moving on to their next activity. Many spent the afternoon building obstacle courses on the beach using barrels, logs and rope and then teams worked together to build rafts before testing them out in the bay. Pupils finished the afternoon with some free time swimming and playing games on the beach before returning to camp for supper. Groups swapped evening activities and despite some afternoon rain, were in high spirits and enthusiastic throughout the evening. They welcomed bedtime after an exhausting day and first week at St John’s and were settled in no time.
"The final morning in camp was windy and wet! Pupil morale remained high even though they had to change into cold damp wetsuits from the previous day or head off climbing, braving the elements. The poor weather meant pupils could not go out kayaking but they made the most of the time and thoroughly enjoyed paddle and body boarding in the waves. After a quick change into dry clothes, pupils enjoyed a final packed lunch with their leaders before loading up the coach and relaxing on a warm, dry and quiet journey back to school.
"The campsite staff, Land and Wave team and the catering company all complimented our pupils on their excellent behaviour and manners. The St John’s staff thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the pupils better and are looking forward to a successful and happy first term in the Lower School."
Further photos are available in the Lower School induction photo gallery.
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