School Activity Day Trips are back

"It was so much fun going down the River Nene in my own kayak and I loved playing the mini games on the water." Willow, Year 6

After such a challenging 2020 and a second lockdown, it’s wonderful to have our centres back open and able to welcome groups again to our four centres. As restrictions eased and guidance allowed, we started to welcome school groups back for day trips in April.

We spoke to Jo Meekings, Deputy Headteacher at Irthlingborough Junior School, about their recent day trips to Frontier Centre.

With school closures due to Covid-19 it has been a challenging year for children across the country.  What was the rationale for the day visits?

As a school we have always been impressed with the organisation of visits to the Frontier Centre, both in terms of pre-visit support and the professionalism and enthusiasm of the staff working with our children on the day.

Because of the restrictions on school trips/activities over the past 12 months, we decided to book Frontier Centre day visits for 12 classes (Years 4-6) during April and May 2021 as soon as the DfE guidance allowed educational visits again. Our rationale for this decision was that the outside sessions and activities would give our children the chance to enjoy time together as a class on activities that developed co-operation skills in a safe environment.  

Did you feel that your visit was safe and risk assessed?

From the initial contact onwards, we as staff, and therefore parents and children were reassured that, as well as all previous health and safety risk assessments and training being in place, the management of the centre had worked hard to ensure that visits were ‘Covid safe.’ We were sent copies of their Covid risk assessment and Frontier staff were able to answer our queries to ensure that all measures were in place.

During your trip, did you see the additional safety procedures in practice?

We were impressed to see the risk assessment in action:

  • Additional cleaning of equipment and touch points
  • Allocation of a large indoor area for our group to use between activities that had its own toilet facilities so that we were not sharing spaces with other schools and were able to keep to our class ‘bubble’
  • All instructors had hand gel in order for children to use as part of enhanced hand hygiene
  • Instructors wore face coverings when social distancing was not possible
  • Instructors talked to staff about our procedures – e.g. asking if all of the children were from the same bubble and what level of contact was allowed between them

All of these measures meant that children were able to enjoy sessions with measures in place (that they are used to as part of their school day) and staff felt reassured that the measures complied with our risk assessments without spoiling the experience for the children.

What were the benefit/s of the day visits?

On reflection we are really pleased that we made the decision to book these activity days because the children benefited greatly from them.

Children who were initially hesitant about activities such as climbing or canoeing overcame their fears and were encouraged to push themselves out of their comfort zone in a supportive environment. Many of the activities developed team work and we were able to discuss this with children on their return to school in terms of life skills.

What activities did your pupils enjoy?

Thank you for giving the children so many positive experiences:

“I liked making a fire. We had to use flint and steel to light it. I also enjoyed building a den with my friends – when the instructor tested it we found out that it wasn’t very waterproof though!” Richard, Year 4

“In ‘Mission Impossible’ you have to work together to solve challenges and the instructors marked us on if we were a good team. I liked the bottle rocket challenge – our teams didn’t go very far but we still won!” Carys, Year 4

“I enjoyed canoeing because it was good for team work. Lots of people were nervous so Dennis and I had to be in charge – not being bossy, just making sure that they all paddled in the same direction.” Sophia, Year 5

“I liked archery when we aimed at the targets; I hit the yellow twice.” Archie, Year 5

“We played fun games in the canoe. No-one fell in but we got to jump in at the end – the water was very cold!” Sara, Year 5  

“It was so much fun going down the River Nene in my own kayak and I loved playing the mini games on the water.” Willow, Year 6

“It was great fun going to Rock UK.  All of the activities were awesome! I enjoyed kayaking. Mountain biking and abseiling.” Kymberley, Year 6

Find out more about our school trips.