The value of placing children in unfamiliar and sometimes challenging situations…
I am sometimes asked about the value of taking girls out of school in order to partake in school trips. My answer is that I believe there is a huge value in placing children in unfamiliar and sometimes challenging situations.
It is all part of the wider education that is the hallmark of the route through Portsmouth High School. Academic learning is important, but of equal prominence are skills and competencies that go far beyond the classroom and allow the girls to thrive in the wider world. Core principles of the GDST always come to mind when considering this topic: confident, composed, committed and courageous. It would be difficult to fulfil these purely within a classroom based curriculum.
Residential and week-long courses are an essential part of the build towards independence for which we strive. In Year 3 the girls go on a confidence enhancing trip to Marwell Activity Centre, where they concentrate on teamwork and leadership skills. This is sometimes the first time they have been away from family for an extended period and the two night trip is a lovely way of easing them into it. Year 4 travel to Hooke Court and re-enact a historical time period; gaining all the value of being away from home and seeing history from a practical perspective.
A week spent sailing by Year 5 pushes many girls to do something new and experienced hands a skill to develop further. Year 6 have the opportunity to travel to Calvados in France and immerse themselves in French which is the best way to learn a language.
On Saturday I left with sixteen girls from Year 5 and Year 6 on the GDST junior ski trip to Alpe D’Huez. We will accompany girls from Ipswich, Northampton and South Hampstead; one hundred in all. Our girls will have the opportunity not only to rise to all the challenges that skiing brings, but also to meet with children from across the country in similar schools to our own. It is hard to express just how valuable this experience is for the girls.
I still remember the excursions I joined at school. I was reminiscing with one of my old teachers last week about sports tours in Holland and he could still remember a spectacular goal I scored in one of the football matches. It is not just the pupils that form good memories of these special trips; pride in our school is something that we keep with us forever.