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16th March 2022

Spring Term Service Weekend a Success

Pupils across Oakham School have enjoyed a successful Service Weekend – where they took part in a variety of challenges and activities off timetable and, for many, off-campus too.

Busy pupils were able to take part in activities relating to their Voluntary Action (VA) programme and their Bronze or Gold Duke of Edinburgh (D of E) Awards. The weekend provides an opportunity for students to get out of their comfort zone, discovering more about themselves and the world around them.

Mr Adam Petit, Director of Activities said, “We continue to provide amazing experiences beyond the classroom despite the challenges of Covid which can still impact all of us. Thanks, as usual to all the staff who supported the students.”

Pupils working towards their D of E Awards prepared for the expeditions themselves and had to carry all their equipment and supplies with them over the course of the challenge.

Bronze D of E Walking

In two separate sections around 70 students set off either around Rutland or through the valleys of the Peak District.  The Friday taught everybody the value of proper kit as it rained up to early evening.  The mornings however were fresh and sunny giving the students the motivation over three days and the 40 to 50km to move from navigating with accompaniment to solo journeys.  The students managed to succeed even when mistakes were made.  Persevering when the weather is variable and the nights cold are the experiences, whilst not always appreciated immediately, generally become part each students folklore.

Bronze D of E Canoeing

D of E pupils enjoyed a great weekend of canoeing along the River Soar. Bronze canoeists completed capsize drills and paddle training on Friday in preparation for a 15km paddle on the Saturday and 10km on the Sunday. Pupils worked well as teams and really developed their paddling skills, as well as their understanding of how to navigate a river.

Bronze D of E Cycling

Students departed Oakham School on Friday in challenging cycling conditions. As they cycled around Rutland Water they were faced with driving rain, which hampered their progress. However, all of the pupils showed great perseverance and made it to Wing Hall campsite to set up their tents.

On Saturday the students woke up to sun, which put everyone in better spirits. They then completed a 40km loop through South Rutland taking in Eyebrook Reservoir and the Welland Valley. Everyone arrived back in camp tired but proud of their efforts. After a good night’s sleep, students returned to School via the east and north of Rutland. The weekend was certainly challenging, but all students demonstrated resilience and certainly improved their cycling skills and fitness.

Gold D of E Sailing

The gold D of E sailors endured some wet and windy conditions over Service Weekend crossing the Solent to the Isle of Wight. The following morning, the team had an earlier start and a 2-hour sail around to Cowes for breakfast and then went on to practice various methods of mooring the yachts up the river. By the end of the activity everyone could comfortably come to and leave to pontoons without aid.

The sailors then went back out into the Solent for more sail training, finishing the day with a glorious downwind evening sail across the Solent up into Southampton. Everyone successfully completed their RYA Start yachting course in some strong conditions.

Voluntary Action

Form 4 Voluntary Action pupils worked on helping the Oakham Canal Project. As part of their activity, they built a pathway, catalogued fauna and flora and built hibernacula for the Canal reptile wildlife.

Other voluntary activities were unfortunately postponed or cancelled due to Covid-19 safety measures.

Form 6 pupils who didn’t partake in an activity were able to attend a Leadership Conference at the School.

Held twice a year, Service Weekend is a key fixture in the Oakham School calendar, with pupils taking part in a series of challenges and activities for their Service Options: Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE), Combined Cadet Force (CCF) and Voluntary Action (VA). Find out more about Activities at Oakham School. 

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