The last weekend of term was exceptionally busy with Oakham School pupils embarking on their Duke of Edinburgh (DofE), Combined Cadet Force (CCF) and Voluntary Action (VA) challenges for Service weekend.
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, “The expeditions and activities were a huge success even with the ongoing difficulties of Covid 19. There was a special buzz in the air as over 500 students went off on outward bound adventures whilst many of the remainder restarted their educational visits off-site. “
Pupils working towards their Bronze, Silver and Gold DofE Awards prepared for the expeditions themselves and had to carry all their equipment and supplies with them over the course of the challenge.
Gold sailors in the Solent practised boat manoeuvres and mooring under sail as well as handled a night sail. Silver qualifying cyclists enjoyed beautiful scenery and faced arduous climbs in the Welsh hills. Silver walkers navigated their way around the glorious Swaledale countryside. Silver canoeists showed excellent independence and teamwork, regularly finishing ahead of schedule. They also passed their British Canoeing Discover ‘badge’!
A variety of different Voluntary Action activities took place throughout the weekend, from painting fences and tidying the pond at English Martyrs Primary School, completing a First Aid Course, litter picking around Oakham and working with the local Foodbank. They also had a ‘Phab’ day with a national charity, after inviting local young people with disabilities to the campus for a day of activities. Kelly Gibbons, who oversaw this Phab event, said “It was great to see our Form 6 and 7 pupils showing leadership….whilst also creating a warm and welcoming environment for our guests. Our pupils showed kindness whilst connecting with the guests from our local Rutland community at the same time.” An Oakham pupil said: “It was a really mind-opening experience that gave me the opportunity to meet amazing and fun people. I loved it!”
Meanwhile, CCF recruits from Forms 4 to 7 ventured to STANTA in Norfolk and Cumbria for an action-packed weekend of military activities. They tried out all kinds of activities and learnt new skills including canoeing, climbing, caving. They also learnt how to build improvised shelters or bashes as well as handle weapons and fire them safely.
Adam concludes, “I am proud of the pupils who showed gritty determination and resilience alongside laughter and good humour. They represented the school brilliantly and made the most of the adventure and opportunity. Thank you also to all the staff who gave up their time and weekend to support the pupils in their self-development and achievements.”