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Poole High School Teachers, Lorna Good & Jess Wheadon, talk about their 2018 residential trip to France with 60 of their students and how it benefitted both their students and themselves.

Considerations when booking a school trip

Safety! One of the biggest things about taking students away is that the safety of the students is paramount. When you’re on a school trip, you never switch off, you’re always conscious of what the kids are doing and what you’ve got planned, so while it’s a holiday for the kids, for the staff its actually hard work. On this trip however, because the staff were so organised we were able to relax which is really rare. The team were there all through the day from when you got up in the morning right through to getting them to bed - there was always this deep sense of safety.  

The Instructors were so professional throughout the trip and their interaction with the students was of such a high quality - they knew how to be safe and have fun with students at the same time. It also meant that the students felt they could have fun in their interaction with us which was lovely. On other trips safety has always been a concern, but with a Rockley trip we could really trust the staff.

Teacher, student rapport

The trip really helped us to build a rapport with the children and a more positive relationship with the students seeing them outside a school context. I’ve not laughed as much that week consistently in such a long time. It was brilliant for us to have fun and to see the students so engaged. 

The benefits of an informal learning environment

The structure of the days and the activities were great for our students. Your instructors give them the time to learn a skill and really grow. It was great to see the catamarans zooming by at the end of the week. We were learning new skills alongside the students and sometimes the students were teaching us things which was amazing.

Raising aspirations

Speaking about learning new skills and going above and beyond, we had a student who couldn’t ride a bike. I didn’t mention this to the Rockley staff, however during the trail biking, one of your instructors spent the whole session teaching this lad how to ride. He was so patient with him and when the boy actually got the hang of it, it was a really lovely moment. The boy had a massive beam on his face. It was such an accomplishment for him and so amazing that your instructor took the time to teach him this new skill. This will have a massive effect on that boy. It was a really lovely moment. 

Improved engagement and confidence

You go on this trip and you think you’re going to learn and experience watersports but actually it's not just about learning to paddleboard or sail a catamaran, it’s so much more than that. The students are learning about teamwork, confidence and listening and it really brought everyone together. We were on Twitter so that the parents could see what they were doing and they were just so pleased that their son or daughter were getting this kind of experience and trying such a range of activities. A lot of our students came away inspired by the week. 

Building relationships

I think it’s the best trip I’ve ever been on. The kids were so well behaved because they were entertained and challenged. There was structure but they still had so much fun. On a selfish note, the level of how accommodating the staff were was unbelievable – even from the bottles of wine and beer in the fridge. It's such a lovely welcome and the cheese and wine night on the first night was such a lovely touch. Sitting with the staff and us all getting to know each other was a great start to the trip - I felt I could ask them anything. It was our holiday but we also happened to be on holiday with a bunch of 16 year old students!

Accessible to all

One great thing about the trip was that they could pay for it in installments over time which was brilliant.  It meant that students who had never ever set foot on a paddleboard or a catamaran or even get to go abroad are suddenly getting these opportunities. 

All the children loved their time on the water and this is a real testament to your staff. Seeing the students laugh and have such a good time – there were some great moments, it was fantastic. Other trips I’ve been on, it’s been a case of take it or leave it but a Rockley trip, I can’t wait to come back!

"All the children loved their time on the water and this is a real testament to your staff. Seeing the students laugh and have such a good time – they were some great moments - it was fantastic. Other trips I’ve been on – it’s been a case of take it or leave it but a Rockley trip – I can’t wait to come back."

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