Armed with their suitcases and plenty of excitement, our children set off by coach to Grosvenor Hall, set in the grounds of a former manor house in Ashford. Upon their arrival, our children united with pupils from other schools in our Trust: Cedar Children’s Academy, The Gordon Children’s Academy and New Horizons Children’s Academy. It certainly was the more the merrier, and the children really embraced mixing with other schools and making the most of their time together.
There were a variety of fantastic activities on offer at Kingswood, which gave children the opportunity to develop new skills and try new experiences. A definite highlight of our action-packed schedule was abseiling: many of our children stepped outside of their comfort zones and tackled the huge abseiling wall with bravery and determination. It was excellent to see everybody giving it a go and encouraging each other. The children also completed an obstacle course where they had to navigate a range of apparatus, including a zipwire and a rock-climbing wall – considering this was a first-time experience for many of our pupils, our staff were so impressed by how quickly and confidently they worked through the obstacle course.
As part of a Thinking School, our children are taught a set of ‘Habits of Mind’ designed to train their brains and equip them with transferrable skills which can be applied in any situation. The children certainly exercised these Habits on their trip, particularly in their ‘Persistence’, even when the activities were tricky or seemed daunting, and in ‘Taking Responsible Risks’ and giving everything a go. The support and encouragement that our pupils gave each other was incredible, and they displayed their teamwork and communication skills in everything they did. For many children on the trip, this was also the first time they had ever stayed away from home, and it was fantastic to see them developing their independence and thinking for themselves.
After a very busy, action-packed few days, the children settled down for an Encanto singalong on their final night, singing with such enthusiasm that ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ could probably be heard right the way back in Medway. This group activity was an excellent way to bring children across our schools together in true #WeAreOne spirit.
Thank you to our teachers – Mrs Wilkinson-Cox, Mrs Turner, Mrs Thompson and Ms Bish – for attending the trip, looking after the children and supporting them to be their best selves.