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Last week, Form 4 enjoyed a couple of nights away on their residential at Brenscombe Outdoor Centre, near Swanage. We all certainly had an action-packed time! As we hadn’t been able to have our residential last year in Form 3, due to COVID-19, this was our first residential, and what an amazing time we had!

We stopped on our way at Moreton Ford and went for a lovely walk over the ford, played pooh sticks and then arrived at Brenscombe in time for lunch.

First we met Jen, who was our main instructor throughout our stay and after we had had a tour of the site and practised the fire drill, we sat down in the glorious sunshine to enjoy our packed lunches. Our first challenge was then to organise our bedrooms, make our beds and un-pack. Some of us seemed to disappear into our duvet covers and walk around like ghosts, but we all got there in the end! Our first activity was Bush Craft. We learnt how to make our own fires and then we had a den building competition. After dinner (which was delicious!) we went on our ‘dusk walk’, along the high mountain ridge towards Corfe Castle. Then, after changing into our pyjamas and having hot chocolate, we settled down for our bedtime story and then headed off to bed.

We were all very excited, so Tuesday morning started quite early for all of us! Once we were dressed, we enjoyed a full English cooked breakfast before heading off to Poole Harbour for our first activity of the day- Canoeing and Raft building. The tide was out, so a lot of the squelchy mud was exposed when we arrived and we had to work hard in our teams to get our boats in the water. Then, after racing each other back to shore, we had to work together again to build our rafts. Mr Stazicker enjoyed testing our rafts, by jumping aboard and seeing if they would stay afloat! By the end of the activities, most of us enjoyed leaving the raft and jumping and splashing in the water. By the time we had changed out of our wet gear, we were starving!

After we had refuelled, it was on to our next adventure- the Low and High Ropes Course. This was amazing- even if a little scary! We tried really hard to challenge ourselves and it certainly helped cheering each other on. Before we knew it, we were heading back to the centre and having dinner. Our final night’s activity was the camp fire. We headed back into the woods to find our own perfect sticks for roasting marshmallows and then we sat around the camp fire together, telling stories and making s’mores. After the camp fire, we headed off to the showers, got changed into our pyjamas before having our hot chocolates and a bedtime story. I think a lot of us were asleep before our heads even touched the pillows!

It was amazing how quickly the time flew by, and before we knew it, we were packing up to leave after breakfast on the Wednesday. However, we still had a day of adventure ahead of us before heading home. In the morning, we walked to Dancing Ledge for abseiling and rock climbing and then after our picnic lunch, we drove to Knoll beach, in Studland for an ice-cream. Sadly, our adventure had then come to an end and it was time to return back to school.

At school, we often think carefully about our Personal, Learning and Thinking Skills (PLTS) and when we came back into school on Thursday and Friday after our residential, we became excellent reflective learners. Our residential hadn’t just been amazing- we had also learnt so much about ourselves and each other too. In groups, we wrote acrostic poems….

Best residential ever
Rafting in sticky clay
Exciting adrenaline activities
No dry days
Scary fifteen metres high ropes course
Cooked, hot fresh breakfasts
Oh no! We are going back to school
Morning orange sun
Brilliant bedtime stories
Energetic warm-ups

Brilliant instructors to help us with our activities- thank you!
Raft building in the hungry quick mud
Expedition of a life time
No fears on the high ropes
Super team-working helped us through
Cooked breakfast everyday- my favourite!
Oh no! Look how high the ropes are!
Marvellous days and sleepy nights
Beautiful views from the dorm window
Energy in high supply!

We also each wrote letters from the future to the past, imagining what advice we would have given ourselves about the upcoming residential. Here is Ren’s letter:

Dear Past Ren,
I know you are nervous, but it will be fun and you won’t be homesick. You will feel tired though- but I promise, you will have fun.
It’s completely normal to be scared and to worry about not being good at some of the activities. Your friends will support you and help you through the journey.
My advice is to go to sleep early and try to wake up late. Be careful not to bump your head on the slab above your bed! You will find some of the activities hard, so sleep well!
The food is great at Brenscombe. There are hot, cooked breakfasts every day and also a hot tasty dinner. For lunch, you’ll have great tasting sandwiches, so you won’t go hungry.
Remember to take lots of sweets and don’t mix up your shoes in raft building!
Make the most of it!
I hope this helps,
From your Future Ren

Thank you to Mr Stazicker for organising this brilliant residential! We all can’t wait until next year!

Mrs Lecca Moss – Form 4 Teacher

Lecca Moss

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