Aligned to these aspirations, and recognising that funding for WEC would not be guaranteed long-term, Headteachers and governors wanted to ensure sustainability of activities in South Reading for our children and the wider community. The Asprire2 charity was therefore established and registered in 2007.
Trustees and partners for Aspire2 are drawn from key services and organisations in Reading, led by the Chair, Martin Salter, ex-MP for Reading West who played a key role in our securing EiC status in 2003. Trustees include members from the University of Reading, Earley Charity, former editor of the Reading Evening Standard and RBC senior staff, as well as representation from each of the cluster schools.
The charity has been very successful in securing funds, most notably in fundraising for the development of Ufton Adventure as a local, residential site, which, because of our relationship, now offers free trips to the children in our schools.
Please have a look at the Ufton Court website. As you are probably aware WEC run a number of holiday trips to Ufton Court and have raised lots of funds to build outdoor huts and toilet blocks so that the WEC schools can use these facilities throughout the year.
At Geoffrey Field Juniors we offer pupils the opportunity to participate in residential outdoor adventure experiences both to Rhos Y Gwaliau (RYG) and Ufton Court.
RYG is situated in stunning open countryside on the eastern side of the Snowdonia National Park. We have access to scenic mountains, tranquil lakes, awe-inspiring coastlines and breath-taking rivers. This trip traditionally takes places during the first week of the Easter holidays and is open to our Year 5 and 6 pupils.
Ufton Court is set within the beautiful grounds of a Tudor House in Berkshire. We are able to offer day trips and family day outings during the holidays. Through the school term, we are able to take advantage of whole class residentials for all pupils in year four. In addition to these we hold three carefully planned ‘immersion’ experience for a number of pupils across the WEC primary schools. These consist of three day (two night) residentials repeated four times for each of three differently focused groups-those who are vulnerable, those who are more suited to learn through academic challenge outside and those for whom behaviour is an issue.
Outdoor adventure and residential experiences enable pupils to enjoy challenging and unfamiliar experiences that test and develop their physical, social and personal skills. They can be the most memorable experiences for pupils of their school days.
Outdoor education compliments the school curriculum; PE, environmental education and personal and social education,
Outcomes for pupils include:
Enjoyment: Young people enjoy participating in outdoor activities and adopt a positive attitude to challenge and adventure.
Confidence: Young people gain personal confidence and self-esteem through taking on challenges and achieving success.
Social awareness: Young people develop their self-awareness and social skills, and their appreciation of the contributions and achievements of themselves and of others.
Environmental awareness: Young people become alive to the natural environment and understand the importance of conservation and sustainable development.
Skills: Young people acquire and develop a range of skills in outdoor activities, expeditions and exploration.
Personal qualities: Young people demonstrate increased initiative, self-reliance, responsibility, perseverance and commitment.
Key skills: Young people develop and extend their key skills of communication, problem solving, leadership and teamwork.
Health and fitness: Young people learn to appreciate the benefits of physical fitness and the lifelong value of participation in healthy leisure activities.
Increased motivation and appetite for learning: Young people display an increased motivation and appetite for learning that contributes to raised levels of attainment in other aspects of their education.
Broadened horizons: Young people broaden their horizons and become open to a wider range of employment opportunities and life chances.
Time spent reviewing the activities ensures that learning outcomes are emphasised, reinforced and applied in the future.
At Geoffrey Field, we value the experiences that the pupils gain at both RYG and Ufton Court and regularly see the benefits transferred back into the classroom; socially, emotionally and academically. An increase in confidence and the spirit of adventure is reflected in the significant increase in the number of pupils who go on the RYG week in years five and six following their two night residential at nearby Ufton Adventure in year four. Over fifty attended RYG in 2017 compared with thirty in the years before Ufton Adventure.