The River Wye Sept 2012
Group were all students from the Wirral Hospitals’ School. The school provides education for pupils who are unable to attend mainstream school for a variety of health reasons. They may have a particular medical condition, have an autistic spectrum condition or social/emotional difficulties.
General description of group
There were 8 pupils in the group with a variety of medical and social /emotional needs such as aspergers, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity (ADHD), chronic fatigue syndrome, depression and anxiety. There were 4 female and 4 male pupils supported by 2 School staff and a Youth Worker. 1 member of the School staff was a volunteer. 7 of the pupils were Year eleven and 1 Year nine who as a particularly vulnerable pupil it was felt would benefit greatly from the experience.
The aim of the trip was to provide a valuable, challenging and enjoyable experience for the pupils before they settled to their GCSEs’ and went on to leave the Hospital School for Further Education. In addition to this another aim was to provide some social time as the pupils often do not socialise with their peers outside of school. It was also hoped that the experience would increase the pupil’s confidence and social skills in view of their often complex needs.
Description of expedition
The pupils put in a bid to the Youth Opportunity Fund after researching various adventurous activities.
This involved having to make a presentation to a grant panel of young people and youth workers, which was a very difficult task for the group given their confidence issues. This was successful and so the trip was planned with the support of the Oaklands staff.
The preparation included spending a weekend at Oaklands where the group were shown the skills needed for a 4 day river trip which included 3 nights camping.
After a successful weekend the group were ready to take part in the activity. 1 member dropped out as he felt it would be to stressful being away from home for 4 days.
The trip started on the Thursday morning, with a 4 hour journey in the mini bus to the starting point on the River Wye, involved 3 overnight camps and then a 4 hour journey back home on the Sunday evening.
From the very start the group worked as a team packing barrels, moving canoes and listening to safety instructions.
As the trip progressed the group bonded well, with each student offering support to each other, especially whilst loading and unloading canoes, setting up and unpacking the camps, which was logistically a difficult task.
During meal times the students spent time socialising with each other. This is a target that the students all have whilst in school.
Each student during the trip took part in activities that challenged their mental and physical strengths.
The team work and support for each other, carried on throughout the entire trip including the unpacking of the minibus back at school on Sunday evening.
Outcomes – summary of evaluations, student and staff
Quotes – One from a leader, a student, a school staff comment (someone who did not come on exped but who did see results)