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PMLD residential 2014

A select number of pupils from three specials schools within Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland enjoyed the opportunity to attend a three day residential organised by John Duggan. The trip focused on providing experience of outdoor and adventurous activities that these students may otherwise not be familiar with. In addition to this there was plenty of opportunity for social development and communication in order to learn new skills and values through the medium of physical activity.

The venue of choice was Hothorpe Hall which enjoys a picturesque backdrop of countryside and itself has stunning grounds in which students had opportunity to explore. On arrival the attendees split into two groups and took part in a number of team building exercises run by Mark Beeby and Wayne Gudgeon. This allowed students to put their communication, team work and decision making skills to the test. Leading on from this the two groups progressed onto different activities. Half the group took part in an orienteering type activity in which they had to use their problem solving skills to manoeuvre round the grounds discovering clues as they did so. The other half of the group tried their hands at archery, which enhances their hand eye co-ordination and the ability to concentrate and focus. Evening activities included singing and dancing which was thoroughly enjoyed by pupils and carers alike! ‘She’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes...YEEEHAAAA!’

Day two saw the group venture out to Rutland Water where the pupils found their inner Popeye and enjoyed a boat trip aboard the Rutland Belle around the reservoir. This was a fantastic opportunity and a first for many of the pupils! Whilst on the water they received commentary from the captain informing the group about the interesting history of the local environment. After this the group were privileged to visit the Owl and Falconry centre in which the pupils got to not only see these birds of prey up close, but to hold them too. Furthermore the pupils were taken on a private tour of the centre in which they got to see a range of other exotic animals including leopards!

The third and final day saw the two groups from the first day switch activities and have a go at either archery or orienteering before saying farewell.

Feedback from the residential was very positive. Both staff and pupils appeared to enjoy themselves and learn from the experience.

Mandy (West Gate): ‘It provides the kids with a level of independence that is great to see. It was a great combination of learning based activities such as gaining knowledge about how Rutland Water was built and also opportunities for social interaction’

Chiedza (Ashfield pupil): ‘It was fun and exciting! I enjoyed archery the most, and also enjoyed the boat trip’.

Richard (Ashmount): ‘The thing that surprised me the most was how inclusive the trip really was. For example all the wheelchair pupils were fully participating in every activity.’

Ashfield staff: ‘This has been our first trip to Hothorpe and we would definitely like the opportunity to attend again in the future. The kids thoroughly enjoyed taking part in activities they otherwise would not partake in and it was great to see them socialising and engaging with the children from other schools.’

And finally we leave you with a uncomplicated yet wonderful summary of the Hothorpe residential from pupil Oliver, who when asked to describe his experience of the trip, he simply replied... ‘magical’.

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