There’s always time for an adventure

Derby High School discusses their latest school trips and why they are essential to school life

Recently, GCSE and A-level geography students visited Iceland, where they explored volcanoes, waterfalls, a glacier, a geo-thermal plant and Reykjavik. Every two years students are invited to take part in a World Challenge trip and are currently busy planning this year’s expedition to Malawi in the summer. 

Closer to home, sixth formers visited JCB, in Uttoxeter, a world leader in making construction and agricultural machinery. Students were given an insight into the processes of production, given a tour of the site and visited the company’s museum. A-level PE students took part in an Impact Day at the University of Derby, trying out specialist equipment and visiting the sports science laboratories.

Headteacher Denise Gould said: “School trips enrich learning, bring the curriculum to life and expose children and young people to different voices and different perspectives. Pupils are inspired by what they have seen or the experiences they have had, which results in deeper understanding of the topics being covered in school and inspiring, thoughtful and often more detailed written responses back in the classroom.” 

“Residential trips can be life-changing, offering pupils the opportunity to be more independent in their thinking and to build relationships with their peers in a completely different context. Everyone who has ever been on a school trip will remember how they felt, the highlights of what they saw and the relationships they had with their peers and their teachers. The memories from such experiences are precious and often shape the person we become in some way. New skills are honed almost unconsciously and brought back with greater self-confidence. Where trips have taken pupils far from home (measuring the distance in the pupils’ eyes rather than in miles), lots of growing up takes place in a short time and horizons suddenly seem widened,” said Denise. “The impact of school trips, both near and far, is invaluable for our children and young people.”

Trips are also an important part of life for pupils in Derby High School’s Primary Department. Last year, Year 6 pupils immersed themselves in French culture with a six-day trip to Warsy in northern France. The group spent time learning about World War One and visited the Lochnagar Crater, the Thiepval Memorial (Memorial of the Missing) and the Newfoundland Memorial.

Twenty-five Year 3 pupils spent two days in York learning about the Romans to tie in with their topic work while 39 Year 5 pupils took part in a range of activities during a three-day adventure break in Edale. The girls had a go at abseiling, climbing, weaseling – which involves squeezing through gaps in rocks – walking, archery and they also enjoyed a night hike. 

Michelle Hannaford, Derby High School’s Head of Primary, said: “Residential trips develop the children’s independence, as they have to organise their own belongings and take responsibility for their own decisions. There is a great sense of adventure which develops and grows from the first trips to places like Sundown when the pupils are three, to Edale and abseiling from a bridge in Year 5.

“A school trip gives a great sense of community and learning and having fun together. Pupils gain from the learning experiences which brings to life classroom learning and enhances understanding once they are back at school,” concluded Michelle. 

For more on Derby High School, go to derbyhigh.derby.sch.uk