From 26 to 27 September our Year 7 (I Group) pupils headed out on a two day bonding trip with overnight stay.

The trip started with beautiful sunshine despite the dreadful weather forecast and the torrential rain the day before! 61 very excited students boarded the coach with the equipment and all-important picnic travelling separately by minibus.

We stayed in the YMCA in Lee Valley – the grounds are absolutely beautiful and once the students were clear of the coach, with all luggage and mobile phones safely stored away, they were able to enjoy them. The students were split into their Companies (Form Groups) and took part in 30 minute activities in rotation: One Company practised learning circus skills, another practised throwing skills with the third group devising and performing drama games. The remaining Company decorated T-shirts before all groups swapped so every group got to try each activity.

We set up the picnic on a table outside the lodges and the students helped themselves, making their own sandwiches and then finding a bench or just sitting on the ground to eat it. This is always a keenly anticipated and key part of day 1!

The team from the Young Mariners next door to the YMCA organised some team building activities in the afternoon which were keenly participated in whilst staff sorted the YHA for the evening activities and rooming.

Once the afternoon activities were over the students spent time finishing their T-shirts, sorting their rooms and relaxing in the grounds of the youth hostel playing card games, ball games and badminton.

The evening meal was bangers and mash (veggie and pork) plus salad with treacle sponge for desert. Pupils then took part in an evening show which mainly featured karaoke!

Hot chocolate back at the lodges finished off the evening and all the students were in their rooms by 10pm.

Friday was again glorious sunshine and, after a fantastic cooked breakfast (some students had seconds!), the students headed off to the Young Mariners for raft building and paddle boarding sessions.

We returned home with a coach full of very tired but happy pupils!

Thanks to the staff on the trip: Emma Bennett Jones, Mike Li, Simon Cockle and Ros Black as well as the amazing Year 12 Peer Mentor James Godley.

Maria Walker, Head of Year 7 (I Group)