The Outdoor Education programme in the Senior School is designed to help you to develop confidence in yourself and in one another. With help from friends and teachers, you will achieve more than you thought possible in some of the most spectacular scenery in the United Kingdom.
In Year 7, 8 and 9 you will attend residential weeks in the Lake District, North Wales and Oxfordshire. You attend the courses during term time, accompanied by school staff, taking part in activities such as canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing, abseiling, caving, mine exploration, gorge scrambling, mountain walking, high ropes courses and bushcraft. All centres used are licensed by AALA – The Adventure Activities Licensing Authority.
After Years 7, 8 & 9 you will continue to be offered outdoor education in the form of overseas expeditions and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. The Combined Cadet Force Squadron based on the Colfe’s campus also operates the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and represents amazing opportunities for personal development. There are also outdoor education options in games lessons – for example scuba, kayaking, sailing and climbing.
Combined Cadet Force
The CCF Squadron at Colfe’s is renowned for its high standards and is the only unit in the UK to have an Army Air Corps Flight in addition to a Royal Air Force Flight. Cadets engage in a large variety of training that leads to the award of a BTEC First Diploma in Public Service which is equivalent to four GCSEs at grades A*-C. Much of the training is practical and takes place on Monday night parade evenings and during school holidays at military bases throughout the UK and overseas.
Examples of Cadet training include leadership training, first aid, fieldcraft and battlecraft, expedition training (including the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award where the Squadron has repeatedly been one of the only units in the area to achieve Gold Awards), flying in service aircraft, gliding to solo standard and shooting.
The unit is run by a highly qualified team of officers supported by a senior NCO. Most are qualified pilots with instructional experience and they hold a multitude of other qualifications such as range conducting officers, mountain leaders, signals and first aid instructors, to mention just a few.
Duke of Edinburgh’s Award
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a personal challenge from the Duke himself to today’s youth. It is concerned with personal development and aims to get young people involved in new activities or to develop others they already enjoy. Each pupil is allocated a group leader from the staff team who ensures they have advice and help on how to complete the Award. Successful candidates receive a certificate.
The award is progressive and operates at Bronze, Silver and Gold levels. It is very popular, commencing in Year 10 for Bronze and Year 11 for Silver. CCF Squadron cadets operate on a different timeline and can progress onto the Gold Award after completion of Silver.
To achieve the Award, pupils complete four sections: Skills, Volunteering, Physical Recreation and the Expedition.
These sections must be undertaken for a minimum of three months for the Bronze Award and six months for the Silver – so a great deal of personal commitment is required. This means that many employers now view the Award as an extra qualification.
Expeditions are run by the Outdoor Education Department, taking place in the summer term. The Bronze Expedition currently takes place on the North Downs in Kent. Pupils are required to cover 20 miles over two days with full packs, spending one night under canvas. The Silver Expedition takes pupils to East Sussex and the rolling landscape of the South Downs, where geographical highlights include the Seven Sisters, Cuckmere Haven and Pevensey Bay. Candidates plan their own routes covering 30 miles and two nights under canvas.
Colfe’s has authority from the DofE Award scheme to administer its own DofE activities.