Every year we take our Year 4 pupils on a residential trip to Hilltop. Here are some pictures from an earlier visit so you can see what this years group have to look forward to.
On arrival, Amy, our personal tutor, was there to greet us. She soon asked the children to take all their bags and coats off the bus and they then congregated on the patio area outside Seaview House. This was the first time that they had had an opportunity to carry their own luggage and, given some of the bags that had been brought into school, this was a very funny sight indeed. Amy then asked them to take everything into their bedrooms and begin to unpack. Staff expectations were low but in fairness, they did well. Surprisingly, the boys managed to sort out their duvets, bottom sheets, pillows and clothing. Some particularly good teamwork was in evidence from Connor and Coby, which is exactly what we want to see.
Orientation then followed with Amy helping the children to understand how Hilltop worked. They listened carefully and asked some good questions. She then walked them around the site and showed them some of the activities they would be doing later in the week. It was lovely to see their reactions to some of the more challenging tasks, especially the Power Fan, Super Slide and zip-wire.
After a quick fire-drill, the children were faced with their first choice of the week – whether or not to have their lunch outside or inside. The outsiders won the vote 9-8 and this was a good thing because the weather was absolutely glorious. This also provided the children with the first opportunity to really take in the breath-taking scenery, including the views out across Sheringham and the North Sea.
I was pleased to see that the children had brought in so much food because the afternoon was likely to be physically and emotionally demanding. They were split into 2 groups with my children mastering the small zip wire while Mr. Bland’s group worked their way around the low ropes course. Amy, who led the zip-wire group, was on the look-out for a volunteer to go first. Elizabeth was the first to step forward and this took real courage. She was then taken to the top of the course and clipped onto the swing. Down below, two groups had been assigned to support her with the first collecting the rope and the second positioning the dismounting ladder. On Amy’s mark, she stepped off the tower and hurtled down the full length of the course. It was lovely to see a moment of such unbridled joy and this then inspired the other children to follow in her confident footsteps. Every child in the group managed two turns, the second with a blindfold, which is even scarier. Maximum credit to them all but with a special additional mention to Matthew, who accepted the bean-bag challenge instead of the blindfold with great enthusiasm. This consisted of him dropping a bean-bag onto a target at very high-speed and he was very close to the mark indeed!
Meanwhile, on the low ropes, Mr. Bland’s group were having much fun with confidence and teambuilding activities. This was not easy because the physical challenge of some of the tasks was quite high but supporting each other helped them all to go further and it was perhaps not surprising that they all managed to work their way around the course. The group particularly enjoyed the rubber chicken challenge that consisted of them all rescuing a rubber chicken from the low-rope course, taking care of it as they traversed around, and then returning it to its coop, which was located at the end of the course. They did manage to come up with some ingenious ways of carrying the chickens, including in their hoods, up their jumpers, in their pockets and under their arms! I’ve got some pretty amazing photographs that I know will make you laugh and hopefully some of these will be posted onto the respective school websites tomorrow.
After a long afternoon, the children were most certainly ready for their evening meal which was roast chicken with all the trimmings followed by apple crumble and custard. On residential, the children really enjoy their food and this evening was no exception. The staff were also struck by the very good table manners that the children had. Meals are always social times but good manners help to ensure that these sessions are very enjoyable. At Hilltop, the children are also expected to clear the tables and they did well with this. Lucy managed to get the job for her table with Elizabeth, Emily and Isabelle doing the same for their table. Owen and Coby took responsibility for Table 3 and not a drop of food or drink was spilled on the floor. Tomorrow, Rosie will lead for her table with Ben and Dylan on Table 2. Finally, Table 3 will be led by Jensen and Alex.
The evening activity was very enjoyable and this was the first time that some of the children really started to excel. Amy taught them how to play the game of Owls and Mice. Essentially the owls eat mice therefore the mice must hide from the owls. The only challenge is that owls are nocturnal therefore the game can only be played in the dark. Couple this to the fact that we are playing in an unfamiliar part of the wood and I am sure you will be able to see just how demanding this game actually is. Anyhow, during the first game, the owls quickly found all of the mice but when we did a roll call, we discovered that one of the mice was still at large. The owls searched again but drew a blank. Who was this clever mouse that had evaded capture, I hear you ask. Well, it was Emily, who had the presence of mind to hide under the tree-house as opposed to inside. The owls never thought to look there and this showed just how carefully she had been thinking.
In the next game, the owls were a little bit better but again, one mouse had not been caught at the end. This time it was Mia, who had the really cunning idea of hiding right in front of the owls’ nest. She was right to think that they would not look nearby and it was also funny because when the staff did a roll-call at the end of the game, she did not say her number, preferring to stay hidden for just a little while longer! Her prize was to be the owl in the last game and this time, the mice had wised up and 5 remained hidden at the end. Well done to Connor, Noah, Ford, Elizabeth and Dylan for evading capture.
On our return to the Seaview House, we finished the day with hot chocolate and a look back on the day’s events. The question I like to ask at this time is who has impressed them and why. I say to the children that throughout their time at Hilltop, they should be noticed for making clever, thoughtful, ambitious and challenging choices. Each child only gets to nominate one child and Mia was amazed to have been noticed 6 times with Coby, 5. The looks of surprise and joy on their faces will stay with me for some time.
So now, all is quiet on the landing. I can hear the sound of gentle snoring from one of the boys’ rooms and the girls are fast asleep. They’re going to need this because we’ll be up again at 7.00 for what promises to be another amazing day ahead.
Look out for the next edition of the Hilltop Newsletter tomorrow evening….