Published on: Sunday, September 24, 2023

Our Third Form pupils recently visited Hooke Court in West Dorset, an outdoor education centre about an hour's drive from the school.

Taking place in the third week of the new academic year, this Third Form trip was developed further following the success of our inaugural trip to South Wales last year. Joining a new school is a daunting experience for many, and we have found that bringing the whole year group together off-site for a few days outside the classroom is an invaluable opportunity to encourage cross-house friendships and year-group bonding. 

Located in a Grade II listed building, Hooke Court has a long and fascinating history, going back to the time of William the Conqueror, enduring two fires and several changes in ownership only added a sense of depth to our pupils' experience. The centre is well-equipped and offers scope for various team-building type activities.

The trip started with teamwork challenges to bring the year group closer together. Skills such as communication, tolerance, and perseverance were critical for success during these activities. As darkness fell, our pupils were split into small groups and sent into nearby woods to find clues, adding an adventurous twist to their first day.

For their second day of activities, 'bridge the moat' saw them working together to build pulley systems to move cargo across a makeshift moat. Bushcraft was another highlight, where they learned survival skills such as fire making, bread baking, and even trout cooking. The raft-building exercise focused on knot-tying techniques and constructing rafts that could float, although not everyone managed to stay aboard!

Throughout the trip, staff and pupils enjoyed a selection of delicious food, including a very popular tuck shop visit and some hearty breakfasts. On the last day, Mr. Belfield delivered a brief yet informative lesson on building survival shelters using only natural materials.

Despite some inclement weather throughout the trip, it provided some valuable life lessons: to be resilient, to persevere, and to be prepared for ever-changing weather conditions! The trip was a huge success, helping our pupils to bond and learn a number of practical life skills for their future at King's. Thank you to our Houseparents and Deputies for their time and enthusiasm, guiding our new Third Form throughout this memorable experience.

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