The annual residential trips took place this week and this time the entire school went to residential centers at the same time. IB and A Level students went to Appledore on the beautiful North Devon Coast while the IGCSE and IAP students went to PGL Liddington in Wiltshire.
North Devon is a stunning area about 2 hours drive from school with great coastline and traditional Devon towns like Bideford, Barnstable and small fishing towns like Appledore which has a great arts and music scene. Skern Lodge which is on a very attractive estuary and is a great outdoor center with amazing staff and great facilities that make you feel almost at home straight away.
The idea behind these trips is to get students out of school into a completely different environment and mixing outside obvious groups of friends which is why this year we decided to take A Level and IB together. They are also about challenging students and encouraging them to work together to achieve aims.
When we arrived at Skern Lodge we settled into our rooms and got together in our activities groups ready to start our first set of activities. Because we had 170 students on the trip we divided into two large groups. Some of us went down to the local beach and went surfing while others kayaked up the river to the town of Bideford. For many of us this type of activity is something we have never done before and for many this would likely be the only chance they would have to try this sort of thing and clearly this is what the school wants for us. For a student who has never kayaked it’s a real challenge to gain the confidence and the skills to do this but the sense of achievement from having tried it is amazing. Not only that we were in such an amazing setting and really experiencing a very different part of the UK and this really adds to the value of this kind of trip.
Clearly the other objective of the trip is to make us very tiered because this kind of activity really does this to you and we all got back ready for food. After dinner we went for a walk on the beach and visited an RNLI lifeboat station and were lucky enough to see them lifeboat go out for a practice. As the sun set we all stopped to take in the amazing view over the bay and out to sea.
After the walk we sat around a campfire with guitars and marshmallows and had a singsong which was so funny and a great way to spend the last of the day with teachers and activities staff. The teachers gave us some free time at the end of the night and it was so nice to mix with such a lot of students from across the school and a perfect end to the day.
On day two we swapped groups and stayed on site to do problem solving activities and the assault course. The objective with both was to work in groups to problem solve, and we really learnt a lot about ourselves and our fellow students. These experiences are a great lesson to take away and important in a range of other areas of our lives and I am sure it will invaluable in our futures.
We all had such a great time and I think we all saw the value in the school doing this because it’s so different to being in school you could only gain this experience in this kind of place. I never thought when I came to study here in Torbay that I would be challenged in such a way and that I would learn so much about myself.