Outdoor programme to prepare Clayesmore pupils for modern world

Clayesmore is dispensing with Saturday academic lessons in favour of al fresco fun on the LEX programme, to give students a broader set of life skills

Clayesmore School is set to supersede its Saturday academic lessons with a new outdoor programme of activities.

Being rolled out in September, the Dorset day and boarding school’s ‘LEX’ initiative will comprise a mixture of trips, experiences and events, all with the intention of offering pupils a broader set of life skills.

The catalyst, explained the school, was the pandemic: “The last year has been a year of change, and a year of reflection on how we live our lives, run our businesses and teach our children.”

Thus, the new-look routine for every term-time weekend, with activities including kitesurfing, filmmaking, bush craft, cipher challenges, horse riding and exploring the Jurassic coast. These might be single taster sessions, three or four consecutive sessions, or something longer.

“It has become abundantly clear that, alongside a strong core academic curriculum, young people need more than ever to be outdoors; developing an appreciation and a passion for the environment with all the opportunities for physical fitness, exhilaration, adventure and sheer good fun that includes,” said head of Clayesmore, Jo Thomson.

Aiming to kindle new interests in participants and help them in the modern world, LEX will be built on five pillars “remaining true to the learnings of lockdown”:

  • The great outdoors
  • Arts, creativity and culture
  • Enterprise and employability
  • Service and leadership
  • Academic extension


The “bridge to adulthood” is open to all pupils, from prep to sixth form, with everyone encouraged to ‘own’ the experience by choosing which activities they would like to undertake.

Other than occasional ‘Super Saturdays’, when all pupils will be expected to attend, Clayesmore said that attendance on LEX is optional: “[We] recognise that kids sometimes just want to go home, see their parents and recharge; and that’s OK too.

“It’s a family affair at this school, where fluidity and compromise are used in generous measure to balance school and family life… but the expectation is that LEX will be so rewarding and exhilarating that pupils will always want to participate.”

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