Standard 1 – Residential

It is coming to the end of a rather eventful week on my first residential school trip. We tripped to White Hall in Derbyshire with year six for three days of outdoor activities, character building and team-based activities. For many of the students it was their first time being away from parents, being in a self-managed environment and even partaking in outdoor activities.

On the final day we experienced heavy snowfall and my group were scheduled to partake in a downhill ‘wet-scramble’ which involved trekking down a hillside, through a forest, down a stream and over/under both branches and rocks.

The instructor went ahead with the activity, a decision which I deemed questionable however put my faith in the instructor at the time.

During the activity one of the year six girls became stricken with nerves, she suddenly seized up. A combination of the freezing temperatures; cold and wet overalls alongside fright led the girl to stumble many times upon the icy path. She reached a point when she was tearful and refused to continue.

Maintaining professionalism I took it upon myself as the mentor of the group and responsible member of staff to ensure the wellbeing of the girl by supporting her one on one to complete the walk. Each time I encouraged her to walk alone she would fall with weakness or freeze with fear.

At this point I felt anxious; many issues were arising, the wellbeing of the child was at the centre of this, alongside no doubt obvious safeguarding issues of a male member of staff supporting a female student. I ensured multiple male and female students were surrounding us as I helped her to complete the task to an easier, more comfortable stage of the activity.

It was crucial that she understood just how difficult the environment was; I shared my experiences in the mountains and this prompted other pupils to share theirs and relate to attain morale.

Many of the pupils trusted in me and sought my assistance after witnessing this as they began to realise just how difficult the task was, no doubt they also felt not dissimilar to the student.

The experience was good as a trainee; it led me to make many quick decisions surrounding wellbeing and safeguarding in order to attain a professional and safe outcome.

Had the experience involved a trainee who was not confident in the outdoors this would’ve led to an extra challenge. After the activity had completed it made me realise that despite the instructors leading activities portraying the year sixes as young adults, they are still vulnerable young children who need guidance, particular within difficult situations.

I also believe that this situation; something which was outside of the classroom and had multiple external factors was a good experience of leading small groups and managing behaviours.

Looking back at the situation; the instructor should’ve been more considerate to the pupils prior to the activity. I should’ve also stepped forward and refused to allow the children to partake, but being a trainee and this being my first residential, I had to do nothing but trust the instructors. I also believe that the pupils will look upon this experience; maybe not for many years, but will eventually feel pride upon their achievements, as I did during the trip.

In order to further improve I have already followed the situation up with my peers and colleagues and I will be sure to question the risk assessments of such instructors in order to attain the safety and wellbeing of the students involved in activities.

I have referenced Standard 1 within this journal due to the enthusiasm I showed to motivate the students to continue within the activity.

S1‘They are able to develop a rapport with a range of individuals and
groups. As a consequence of this, most pupils are engaged in their learning.’

S1: ‘They generate high levels of enthusiasm, participation and
people and for teaching and learning.