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Condover Hall 2018: Day 2

Posted on 13th Sep 2018 by Chris Barnes

Click here to see the pictures from today!

I wonder what your child will remember most fondly about their time here at Condover Hall?  As we listen to them talking during, between and after activities there are a wide range of aspects of the trip that they are enjoying:

  • being away together as a class and with their friends;
  • new activities or variations on activities that they have tried previously;
  • challenging themselves to be better than before;
  • the food - always a winner here!;
  • conquering fears - beforehand it was too high, too frightening or not something that they would have done before: now it is achievable.

The leadership skills and appreciation of how to work better as a team are almost incidental…whilst it’s the main point that we hope they pick up, there are a lot of other benefits to a residential.  Of which, more in another blog...

For me and Mrs. Heyhoe, our day has certainly gone quickly!  As the children now settle into their evening routine, pack their bags (really!) and get ready for bed, the day has flown over - mainly because we’re having such a good time.  The children were all up early: a sound night’s sleep for the boys and some literally had to be woken up; the girls needed to be reminded at 5:00am that sleep was very much on the menu and that they still needed to get some sleep before the day’s activities!

Everyone has enjoyed the canteen-style cafeteria here at Condover.  Taking a tray and selecting what is on offer has been a novelty, whilst the quality has been extremely high.  Cereal, fruit, eggs, bacon, toast, juice, water, tea and coffee were all available and enjoyed, setting us up ready for our day.  A bit of free time meant that we were all ready for our first activity at 0900: Buggy Building

Working in two sub-teams, the children had to use barrels, poles and rope in order to design and construct buggies that they could then ride.  They were shown how to tie square lashings so that they could affix the poles together.  Excellent teamwork meant that they were able to fix everything together in a short space of time.  Then, it was time for the races - riding their buggies across the field, turning them around, swapping the people sitting on the buggies and pulling them back to the other side.  Great fun and much enjoyed by all!

After a quick break, it was time to meet up again with Sarah (our instructor) for a session of Rocket Launching.  This was a new one for us and one that proved to be immensely popular.  Two teams of ‘apprentice scientists’ were appointed to ‘Professors' Barnes and Heyhoe.  Each team was equipped with a pump, a tube and connector, a pop bottle, and a screw-in valve with fins.  Once the connector and tube were connected to the valve and bottle, air could be pumped in; when it reached a certain pressure it would ‘fire’ up the ramp and take off!  Much excitement ensued.  The teams were set different challenges, including seeing how high they could fire their rockets, how far they could fire them, and aiming to get the rockets into a target area. The teamwork and thinking behind this was outstanding.

It’s been noticeable how good the communication has been between the children.  They have been great at encouraging each other: saying where they could improve or what needed doing in a particular situation, but without being confrontational.  They’ve helped to push each other on to the next level of achievement, praising their peers for what they’ve done well rather than putting them down or belittling them for not getting up to a similar standard.  No-one has been left out of groupings or activities: they’ve been very good at keeping each other involved.  Getting outside of a classroom environment - for many, the only place where they would usually see each other - allows each to form a different or new appreciation of each other.

As their form teacher, this is very promising for the year ahead.  It sets up the possibility of doing more with them, if this is how they respond to this sort of scenario.

After lunch, it was off to learn about how to survive a la Bear Grylls.  The children were split into different teams and having learned that the first order of survival is shelter, warmth and food, had to build a shelter using what was around them.  They constructed some phenomenal shelters…which were, of course, properly tested to see if they were waterproof!  The pictures and videos tell their own story, as do the expressions on the surprised children’s faces…. After we’d finished building shelters, we then learned about how to light a fire using a flint and striker, with kindling and a different form of aid (not paper! - as a Scout this was one I hadn’t seen before but was very impressed with!).  Even surrounded by all of our technology, skills such as tying knots and lighting fires remain important as they are skills for life.

Our final activity before dinner was a trip up the climbing wall.  Unlike the Gladiator Wall, which could move and unnerved a few children, this was static and therefore felt more ‘friendly’. Everyone had a go and we saw real growth mindsets up there: trying out different routes if their first choice didn’t work; getting back onto the wall if they came off; going further up than the previous time they had climbed; and just persevering to get to the top!  They also enjoyed using the bouldering wall (climbing horizontally at low level) and it was interesting to hear one or two saying to themselves ‘I can do this’ as they were traversing the wall.

It was lovely to have Mr. Hibbert join us for dinner and spend a couple of hours with us this evening.  He was extremely impressed with Condover Hall and what it offers to everyone.

As part of his visit, Mr. Hibbert stayed and watched our last session of the day: the quiz game, ‘Busted’.  The children were split into four teams, with each child taking several sessions in the hot seat.  They were given two questions in different categories including General Knowledge, Music, Travel and Sport, with ten seconds to answer each question.  Just in case…there were the options of going 50:50, asking a teacher or asking an instructor if they got stuck!  Much merriment was had by all.

So a fun day all round!  We hope you’re enjoying our updates on Twitter: please like, retweet and/or comment on anything that catches your eye - it’s all good feedback for us.

More news tomorrow!  Thanks for following and reading.  Click here to view the @EPSResidentials Twitter Feed and see the pictures from today.


Chris Barnes