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As a British Canoe Union accredited watersports centre, and as part of our watersports programme, all students are given the opportunity to learn to canoe and kayak. The opportunities available depend on the different year groups.
At Windermere Preparatory School, Years 1 and 2 enjoy simple expeditions on Lake Windermere, then from Years 3 to 6 the students are involved in weekly sessions of sailing, canoeing or kayaking from September through to the end of October, and from April to July. The Preparatory School pupils work through the BCU Paddlepower Awards.
In the Senior School, Adventure! continues with fortnightly half-day sessions for students in Years 7 to 9. Students in Year 7 follow a rotation of different activities which currently involves at least two half-day sessions in the Autumn; one canoeing and one kayaking, followed by a river journey in the Summer term so that students who show commitment can complete their BCU One Star Award. Students in Years 8 and 9 can opt into half termly sessions of canoeing and kayaking, where they develop the necessary skills to achieve the BCU Two Star Award, and put more emphasis on easy white water rivers and paddling journeys.
We have a range of different canoes (suitable for both flat water and white water paddling), a collection of white water kayaks (suitable for all ages) and a fleet of sea kayaks for use on Windermere and some of our larger expeditions.
Canoeing and kayaking are popular after-school activities for all year groups. In the warmer months we run a variety of different sessions from our watersports centre, Hodge Howe, coaching complete beginners through to more experienced paddlers. During the Winter months, the more experienced students can attend the night sea kayaking activity on Windermere, and our kayak Eskimo rolling sessions take place in a local swimming pool.
Those members of staff who hold a 5 Star Award organise a variety of trips at the weekends. There are day trips on local rivers and lakes, and two-day expeditions to Scotland or Wales for larger bodies of water and expeditions on the sea.
Students in Years 12 and 13 are encouraged to enrol for the Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and paddling expeditions have become increasingly popular. Training for the Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award takes place during the Sixth Form’s weekly CAS sessions.
Expeditions are tailored to meet the needs and interests of the group and in the last few years our students have completed their qualifying expeditions by paddling the Rivers Spey, Derwent and Wye. There was a trip to Loch Lomond and Loch Long, and the students whom enjoy sea kayaking completed their expedition around Arisaig off the West Coast of Scotland.
Outdoor Btec students, and any other students who are keen, are encouraged to work through their BCU 3 Star Awards in Sea Kayaking, Open Canoeing or White Water Kayaking. Some students then progress onto their BCU 4 Star Leadership Awards. Every two years we aim to run a BCU Level 1 Coach for senior students.
Canoeing and kayaking at Hodge Howe is available for hire, with kit and our instructors, to local or visiting schools.
Three of our four daughters have been boarders at the Senior School following our unexpected move to Hong Kong in 2012. One moved back to board at Windermere following two years in Hong Kong and our youngest can't wait to follow in her footsteps and return as an overseas boarder into Year 9. We cannot fault the standard of education and care which the girls have enjoyed throughout their Windermere journeys. In particular, we love the location - and the way in which the Lake District becomes part of the curriculum - and the international flavour of the Senior School.
Windermere School is such a unique community to be a part of. Not only is it based in a truly beautiful and inspiring National Park, but the environment created by staff and students alike makes for an incredibly supportive, proactive, exciting and international place of learning in which everyone can thrive and be the best they can be.
When you live there, Windermere School becomes more than just an academic institution. Apart from academics, the School puts great emphasis on personal development. To me, this has meant that my three years in the national park were some of the most positive, enjoyable and prosperous years of my life that have put me in a convenient position in terms of university and my future adult life.
I have sent my children to Windermere at 11 years old and is easy to say how they have feel. I have had to call them as they never have time to call home. Lots of friends, lots of fun, interesting education. I would recommend this school to everybody, it is a perfect choice to ensure your children will learn a new language open their mind and increase their international relations.
Our daughter is having a marvellous time at Windermere School. She has always been well supported socially and educationally. The staff provide a wide variety of fun and interesting activities within the classroom, encouraging learning and development in a relaxed and fun environment taking them from Forest School in Pre-Prep to Adventure lessons in juniors, the outdoor space and sailing school is also a real advantage as nowhere can offer what Windermere school has! We love what the school has brought to our daughter... happiness! We can't ask for much more, as she works well and comes home with a smile.
We see our daughter growing in confidence every week - both socially and academically. After a difficult time in her previous School, she is flourishing in the caring environment where she can be herself again. The tutor system at Windermere is very special and has played a huge part in her settling in, being encouraged to make the most of exciting opportunities on offer and feeling a valued part of the school community very quickly.