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September 2017: Woodlands Residential
Thursday 7th September 10.30pm
Well, by this time tomorrow you'll have heard all our exciting stories from your children, so I'll try not to ramble on for too long!
It was hash browns and spaghetti hoops for breakfast today (a big hit on the teachers' table). Miss Norman and I were then back on room inspection duty. We handed out our first 5 pointer of the week to Katherine, Holly and Emma (the song and dance routine may have swayed us!) and there would have been a second top score if Emily Atkins hadn't accidentally confessed to the large bag of dirty washing hidden behind the door!
It was a bright start to the day as we set off on activities, although the rain did arrive later in the day.
Group 1 and Jack were canoeing on the River Wye. It was probably their toughest day so far as they found it tricky to keep their raft moving in the right direction. However, they did enjoy a swim in the rapids.
Group 2 and Mrs Meaney caved at Porth Yr Ogof. Despite some nerves at the beginning, they took on all the challenges. It was particularly impressive to see some of the least confident children taking the lead. Jess Cresswell showed great determination and gamely agreed to be the first to flush herself down the 'toilet'.
Group 3 had the pleasure of my company again! They had another cracking day surpassing expectations; this time in the cave. There were a few tears when we all turned our lights off at the beginning which didn't seem to bode well for the rest of our expedition. However, from then on, every member of the group completed every challenge that Mark set for them. Definitely one of the most challenging and successful caving days that I've been on. A special mention to Charlie Reeve, who's been enthusiastic while remembering to help his team mates.
Group 4 paddled down the Wye with Miss Norman and Dylan. They had yet another successful day, with effort and teamwork all round. After starting in rafts, they proved that they had the skills to divide into individual boats and made serene progress to their final destination.
This evening, we have begun to scale the mountain of packing! Tomorrow, we'll be climbing the real thing.
We are aiming to depart the centre at 3.00pm. Keep a look out for any update e-mails if we hit any traffic.
See you back at school!
Chesterton CE Primary SchoolChesterton CE Primary School
Chesterton CE Primary School
Chesterton CE Primary School

Wednesday 6th September 11.00pm
It's been and exciting (but long!) day in the Brecon Beacons.
After a delicious bacon sarnie to start the day and a (slightly) more impressive room inspection, we rejoined our groups ready for activities. It was slightly cooler than the first two days, but it still looked like we were again going to see our fair share of sunshine.
Group 1's caving expedition with Miss Norman (see group pic outside the cave) went well and all the children did well at taking on the headline challenges. A number of them reported that it wasn't anywhere near as scary as they thought. Kyle Kernan, who wasn't looking forward to it at all, decided that it was easily his favourite day so far! Rumour has it that Miss Norman was posted second class through the letterbox too.
Group 2 began their jungle gym day with Mrs Meaney on the high ropes course. After working their way through the platforms, they abseiled down for lunch before moving onto the zip wire and climbing wall in the afternoon. They certainly improved as they day went on and every member of the team made it to the very top of the climbing wall! Mrs Meaney gave Bobbie Brelsford a special mention after she showed why she is house captain material with a determined showing all day.
Group 3 started their jungle gym day with me on the climbing wall. The children showed admirable teamwork as they belayed for each other to beat their own personal targets. A special mention to Emma Flintham who showed plenty of courage and determination to overcome jitters at the lower level to reach the very top via a difficult route. We then aced the high ropes course and zip wire with all children completing every challenge!
Group 4 and Jack excelled themselves in the cave. Despite plenty of nerves in advance, they all posted themselves through the 'letter box', flushed themselves down the 'toilet' and wiggled through the 'wormhole'. Courtney Matthews was one of the stars of the day and she exceeded her expectations and set the tone for the group.
This evening's activity was 'proper' orienteering. The children progressed through the increasingly difficult courses, with points hidden all over the site. Tom Blakey followed up yesterday's win in the photo orienteering by teaming up with Ollie Horwood and Zac Powell to come out on top. Connor Reeve (the other half of yesterday's winning pair) teamed up with James Mackay for an impressive second place.
Tomorrow, Group 1 and 4 are canoeing and Groups 2 and 3 are off to the caves. More news soon.
Au revoir.
Chesterton CE Primary School
Chesterton CE Primary SchoolChesterton CE Primary School
Chesterton CE Primary School

Tuesday 5th September 10.30pm
We have had a great first full day at Woodlands.
After a hearty breakfast, including scrambled egg on toast, we held our first room inspection of the week! Miss Norman and I were checking for emptied bins, hoovered floors, made beds, tidied cupboards and folded clothes. There were some admirable efforts (Top Score 4.5/5 from three rooms) and some with room for improvement (pun intended!).
Then, we headed out for activities. Despite the unfavourable forecast, my shorts and flip flops kept the rain away as Groups 1 and 4 hit the heights of the jungle gym and Groups 2/3 made the short trip to the River Wye for canoeing.
Jack and Group 1 started on the climbing wall, before whizzing down the zip wire and finishing with the high ropes course. Lisa, their instructor, was impressed with their confidence and effort.
Group 2 and I had a great day on the river. We started in rafts (two boats joined together) to pick up some paddling and steering skills, before going it alone after lunch and finishing with an entertaining swim in the rapids.
Mrs Meaney and Group 3 also enjoyed the beautiful scenery and better than expected weather as they paddled down the River Wye for approximately 6 miles. They also graduated from rafts to individual boats and joined Group 2 for a swim just before the end. Both groups did a great job of carrying their canoes up the bank and loading the trailer, despite being tired at the end of the day.
Group 4's day on the jungle gym with Miss Norman started on the high ropes course, where some fears were conquered and determination shown. All the group then braved the zip wire, before finishing on the climbing wall.
This evening, the children did fantastically well at photo orienteering around the grounds. Everyone was enthusiastic throughout and persevered to find as many markers as possible. Lots of pairs completed the first sheet and moved on to extra challenges. A special mention to Connor Reeve and Tom Blakey who emerged as overall winners with 28!
The forecast is set fair for tomorrow as Groups 2 and 3 head for the Jungle Gym. Groups 1 and 4 won't be worrying too much about the weather though, as they are disappearing underground into the caves with Miss Norman and Jack.
More next time... See you tomorrow.
Chesterton CE Primary School
Chesterton CE Primary SchoolChesterton CE Primary School
Chesterton CE Primary School

Monday 4th September 10pm
We are currently 'relaxing' in the staff room having sent the children up to bed (hopefully tired enough to get to sleep...).
The coach journey went well and we arrived at the centre in good time. The children had a quick tour of the grounds before heading up to their rooms to make their beds and unpack. Then they divided into their four activity groups (one picture from each), had some lunch and then got cracking with the afternoon challenges. Each group had to co-operate and persevere to succeed at their chosen tasks, scoring points for their team as they went.
After a quick bit of free time and then fish and chips for dinner, we set out on a two-mile night walk up to the common near Woodlands. It was pleasantly warm and there were impressive views over the Black Mountains on the way up. As the darkness closed in, we made our way back down to the centre through the bracken and trees - accompanied by a few bats!
Tomorrow, Groups 1 and 4 are on the high ropes course and climbing wall and Groups 2 and 3 are canoeing. Fingers crossed that it doesn't rain too much!
Chesterton CE Primary School
Chesterton CE Primary SchoolChesterton CE Primary School
Chesterton CE Primary School
Chesterton CE Primary School              Alchester Road, Chesterton, Bicester              Oxon OX26 1UN
Tel: 01869 252498              Fax: 01869 244012