Mrs Julie King, the new Head of Elleray Campus, the Preparatory division of Windermere School, says she will…
As a British Canoeing 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 Elleray Campus, 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. Elleray pupils work through the British Conoeing power 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 British Canoeing 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 British Canoeing 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 British Canoeing 3 Star Awards in Sea Kayaking, Open Canoeing or White Water Kayaking. Some students then progress onto their British Canoeing 4 Star Leadership Awards. Every two years we aim to run a British Canoeing 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.
The first time my daughter and I visited the school she said to me “that is a happy school no question.” The scholastic achievements of the school are evident and an easy measure for a school to demonstrate. What is hard to quantify is the holistic development of a pupil at which, in my experience, Windermere School excels.
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.