So another Kingswood trip is over. Clothes have been washed, sleep recovered (just) and we are back into the routine of school life.
At the Federation, we consider school residentials like this an important part of any child’s development. The opportunity to mix socially, in often challenging situations, with their peers, teachers and other schools and adults can often have quite a profound impact on a pupil’s maturity, cooperation, communication and resilience. For some pupils this was an opportunity to try activities they might never have the chance to do again.
This year was no different, and all the group leaders were sharing stories of how the pupils impressed us every day. As always, the pupils as whole were a credit to the school with how they behaved and interacted with the instructors and other school pupils, but this year we also experienced some great camaraderie between the year groups and friendship groups. The level of mutual support had never been better. We think this directly influenced the numbers of pupils who wanted to push their own personal limits, whether climbing a 30ft Abseiling wall, crawling through a tiny tunnel in a cave, driving a Quad bike or even, simply, sleeping in a dark room with a lot of other children.
The Kingswood structure allows the Federation staff to discuss growth goals for their groups and for the schools as a whole, which can then be included into the various activities being run. This year our main focus was Communication which, we feel, was improved across all the pupils. In addition we saw pupils demonstrating resilience, maturity and cooperation, which we felt was improved on what we had witnessed in the school previously.
All this development should not detract from one of the main benefits for the pupils. It was a fantastically fun week! At every activity the vast majority of pupils felt enthused to have a go almost immediately and very rarely did we have a pupil sit out. Pupils were working so hard at every activity that when it came to bed time, they were asleep almost immediately. By the next morning they were up and ready to go again.
These residentials take a lot of work to organise and run, and we are always extremely grateful for the support of the Kingswood staff, the school staff and especially the parents and families of the children who go. It is very hard work to get the pupils ready, but we think it’s worth it every time.