The Lower Sixth at the start of the academic year are a group made up of returning Year 11 students, new overseas boarding students and new UK day students. There is therefore an obvious need to begin to build the group into a team. This will begin from day one with a day of induction which will include getting to know all in the Lower Sixth Tutor Groups as well as the necessary administration such as confirming subject choices, finding out their timetable and gaining an understanding of the Sixth Form ethos and expectations. In addition, the Sports Department organise some team building events to bring together the Upper Sixth and the Lower Sixth. The induction process continues in the second half of the week with a two night/three day residential at Patterdale Hall near Lake Ullswater.
Patterdale Hall is an Outdoor Education Centre owned by Bolton School. The instructors are all experienced and fully qualified. Further information can be found at www.patterdalehall.org.uk
The Teambuilding and Leadership Course is designed, through various outdoor activities, to build trust and friendships, to overcome challenges and begin the process of developing a 6F team ethos and individual leadership skills.
The aims of the exercise are:
- to continue the process of bonding the Lower Sixth into a cohesive unit;
- for the students to get to know themselves better, as well as other members of the year; and
- to begin to develop leadership and interpersonal skills.
The L6 will already have spent some time in their Forms, lessons and the 6FC and so will have some knowledge of some of their peers. I will split up the forms to put the students into activity groups so they are working with different people and so will be able to get to know others.
During the course the groups will climb and abseil, canoe across the lake, gorge walk, negotiate a low ropes course and relax with some archery. In addition there are various team challenges and problem solving-exercises including a show on the final evening featuring entertainment from each of the activity groups. As with any tour “whatever happens in Patterdale stays in Patterdale” which is convenient as previous entertainment has included skits based on different aspects of school such as lessons and Assemblies!
Does it work? Yes. Based on many years of experience it is clear that the students both enjoy and learn from the activities and experiences.
Is it fun? Yes. The photographs should confirm this as do the echoing comments every year once we have returned to School such as “can we go back”.
We see this as such an important part of the induction into the Sixth Form that there is no cost to the parents. The School stands the cost and this should reflect fully how much we value it.