Events

Adventure School gets a make over

All hands to the pump (or to the nettles in reality)

Ever since a neighbour backing onto the school expressed a lack of enthusiasm towards our outdoor endeavours  – I think the sound of happy and enthusiastic students got a bit too much for him – we started considering our options and eventually we decided to move our Adventure School HQ a number metres along our boundary fence.

Now, this wouldn’t have been such a big deal if it hadn’t been for the fact that the 100m we had to move was home to: nettles, brambles and years of uncontrolled natural growth (no, I’m not talking about Andrew’s beard here).

But rather than seeing this as a problem, we saw this as an opportunity to get the students practically immersed in a hands-on get-stuck-in project that would benefit them and the school in general (for years to come). We set to work removing branches, sticks, nettles, brambles and much more and using freshly cut (and kindly donated) tree chippings.

The result: a safe and usable area… check out the last photo below.

Great job everyone!

The job isn’t finished though (we have big ideas), but as you can see, things are looking a lot better and we’re back to normal with the bushcraft and outdoor hands-on activities which we all enjoy. There’s even a hammock or two for those that just need to lay back, look at the canopy and chill.

DMS Duke of Edinburgh programme

Andrew and I are really pleased that that a number of students have persevered in a determined way towards achieving the DofE Bronze Award – which is no mean feat! Actually, at the time of writing, our first practice expedition is only a few days away and the first batch of DMS participants students will hopefully graduate in time before they leave.

Our second group will take their practice in July and final expedition in September, with a view of graduating before the end of this year’s DofE season.

We’re really proud of all of the students that have taken part this year and really hope to take more students through their Bronze and a group of 2nd year AS/DofE students through the Silver Award during our next academic year.

With the above in mind, we must say a massive THANK YOU to Jackie Bull at DofE Central for helping us secure some important funds to help us get our DofE (and Adventure School) programme up and running. Not only have we been able to purchase the kit we need to run the DofE programme, we have also been able to develop our Adventure School into a key part of DMS; DofE and AS provide valuable opportunities for our young people to get outside, get active and see and reach the potential that is within them (which is sometimes buried and needs uncovering).

Below are a few images of the students organising our kit, and wrestling with one of our expedition shelters when 8 of them were trying to get inside 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks again to everyone involved with this term’s Adventure School, particularly Go Outdoors and DofE Central for helping with kit.

The DofE future at DMS is up, but shhhhh… not too much rejoicing – it might upset the neighbour.

EHC plans: Getting the Content Right workshop, Nottingham

On the 30th Jan 2018 Contact are having a free workshop titled EHC plans: Getting the Content Right

The workshop will be held at the Shoosmiths office in Nottingham (Waterfront House, Station Street, Nottingham, NG2 3DQ) on Tuesday, January 30, between 10.15am and 12.30pm. If you would like to book a free place, please email westmids.office@contact.org.uk or call us on 0121 274 0437.


Flyer East Midlands Getting The Content Right

Adventure School Sleep Out for the Homeless

There has been quite a lot going on in Adventure School over the last week or so as we work hard to carry on clearing brambles, dead wood and general mess from the area we are hoping to move into over the next few weeks.

But one special event worthy of a mention was our ‘sleep out’ event which took place last Thursday.

The Big Sleep Out

Each year Framework (a housing charity looking to raise money for local homeless and vulnerable people) holds a Big Sleep Out event which gives people the chance to give up their warm beds for the night and sleep outside and be encouraged to reflect on what it is like for homeless people to sleep rough each night – and at the same time, raising money for the Framework charity.

As quite a few of the Adventure School Students had asked to camp out this term, we thought a Derrymount Big Sleep Out was the perfect solution. So, here was the plan:

  • At the end of school head down to the Adventure School area
  • Cook some food on the camp fire
  • Sleep around the fire, in a hammock or on flattened cardboard boxes inside a communal tent
  • Raise sponsor money for Framework from friends and family
  • Wake and enjoy breakfast in school before the start of the next school day
  • Try not to annoy the neighbours (we had pre-warned them via hand-delivered letters)

The best way to describe how things went, is through a few photographs:

It was  a very chilly night, and very little in the way of sleeping actually took place. Why? Well, it’s hard to say which factor was responsible for keeping everyone awake: the cold autumnal temperature, or Mr Tuckwood’s very loud snoring! Hmmm, there may be strong views on this. To be fair though, anyone disgruntled with Mr T’s snoring was probably being so out of envy of the fact he actually got some sleep more than anything else.

But more seriously, one thing that is clear from this experience is that everyone (students and staff) managed to see the night out and in doing so had a lot of fun and food for thought for the lives and conditions that other people have to endure.

The morning after

When the morning came and everyone headed inside school for a nice cooked breakfast, Mr Tuckwood and I had the unenviable task of breaking camp and getting tidied up (before a full day’s teaching ahead).

But as we took the camp down we were thankful that all of the students had managed to stick it out for the night and in doing so, raised a fair bit of cash for Framework.

We were also grateful that the new Adventure School ‘uniforms’ Mr Tuckwood and I wore  – kindly provided by Dickies – had kept us nice and warm. OK, so we may get teased a bit from the students for looking a bit like Arnie and Danny DeVito (in the film Twins), but we love our work trousers, softshell jackets and gilets – maybe one day all of our Adventure School students will look equally well dressed.

Comments from the students about the Big Sleep Out experience:

Outside it was pretty damn cold, so I was in me sleeping bag for most of it. When I actually went to bed, MY GOD, my back was stinging, so of course I got back up and went to the fire to chop some wood. Later I went to sit in my sleeping bag, then accidentally fell asleep. Long story short: It was cold and hurt a lot. It made me realise that homeless people are in a much worse condition than I am, so I’m pretty thankful for not being them. I joined on a whim, having no reason to join, other than just feeling like it. I was sort of glad that I joined it, despite the back pain I experienced the next day.

 

At the end of the night my eyes felt like I came back from a war zone, and my face felt like I just tore it away from the back of an active rocket booster. However, it was mostly fine due to the fact I was able to just sit around all night next to the fire and stuff my face with biscuits and other sweets, but yet, I went home smelling like ash and smoke

 

The was fire hot and my goggles were not that useful in what i got them for. I got them for protecting my eyes from the smoke but it did not keep all the smoke out.

 

For more information on Dickies work gear, see their website