The Outdoor Education Programme at CLC aims to provide personal development for the girls through non-competitive adventurous activities. Outdoor activities encourage students to challenge themselves, develop a responsibility to others and their community and gain an appreciation and respect for their environment.
There is a wide range of outdoor activities on offer at CLC which not only provide a fun and challenging short-term experiences but also enables all girls to embark on a long term personal development programme ranging from their first year in LC1 to their final year in the Sixth Form. These activities may be just one day in the beautiful Cotswolds that surround Cheltenham, but extend to 24 days expedition of expedition in another part of the world.
LC1 Adventure Quest
All LC1 girls go out in the first term for a one day Adventure Quest.
“I was able to do things I was either too scared or frightened about.”
“I could hear them shouting for me to jump so I jumped as far as I could and reached out to grab the metal bar. Luckily I managed to get it. As soon as I let go of the bar I came down on a rope that my friends were holding onto.”
The aim of the day is to get to know others in the year group but also to learn to work as a team communicate and to challenge themselves.
LC2 Adventure Weekend
All LC2 girls go away for a residential weekend to one of three optional activities.
- Multi-activity in South Wales.
- Bushcraft in Oxfordshire.
- Sailing off the coast of Dorset and living on the boat.
These weekends allow the girls to develop skills in a wide range of outdoor activities from sailing to fire lighting and canoeing to survival. They are also an opportunity for the girls to further challenge themselves, learn to work cooperatively with others and to gain, first hand, an appreciation of the wonderful environment we live in.
LC2 Cycle Proficiency
This activity is included in the Opening Minds (Saturdays) Programme at CLC. Girls opting to do this will have one or two sessions on a Saturday morning which is based on the UK Government’s cycle proficiency award called Bikeability. It helps the girls to gain better road sense and so will make them safer pedestrians, cyclists and, one day, drivers. For some girls this has even been an opportunity to learn to ride a bike for the first time.
Outdoor Education in PE lessons
Outdoor activities focus more on the personal challenge rather than competition associated with team sports. There are opportunities for many year groups to opt for adventure activities within the curriculum such as kayaking for LC3s, mountain biking for UC4s and windsurfing and sailing for UC5 and Sixth Form.
All LC3s complete two orienteering and team building sessions with Outdoor Education staff. We emphasise the importance of learning basic navigation skills, especially in a world that is increasingly controlled by satellite navigation devices. This is put to the test when the entire year group race to complete an orienteering course on Cleeve Hill in the Summer Term. These sessions also provide an opportunity for the girls to consider effective communication and leadership through the “sheep and shepherd” activity.
LC3 Camp Week
The penultimate week of the Summer Term sees a major event in the LC3 calendar. This is run by a mixture of over 50 CLC staff as well as centre staff at Croft Farm near Tewksbury.
The week provides an ideal opportunity for the girls to experience camping in a tent and using a small stove to make hot drinks- the main source of food, however, is provided by the legendary barbecue cooked by CLC catering staff!
They camp next to a lake, near the River Avon and with Bredon Hill close by so it is an ideal opportunity for canoeing, mountain biking, sailing as well as climbing.
They are sometimes joined by visiting exchange students from Europe or even Ecuador and on occasions by young people from St Hilda’s East Community Centre in East London. Working outside normal friendship groups, personal challenges and learning to take care of the environment are all key aims of this week but it is famously described as a fun and favourite week by all the girls in LC3.
All girls in UC4 are provided with a two day, practical based first aid course. The emphasis is on solving problems and acting calmly and sensibly in an emergency situation.
All sixth form girls are given the opportunity to complete a certificated 16 hour first aid course which is valuable for all those planning to study medical courses at university, volunteer on a gap year or for those completing the Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
Adventure club offers a wide range of activities to any age group after college and at weekends. Activities include kayaking in the college pool, windsurfing and sailing club at Croft Farm, mountain biking and walking in the Cotswolds, indoor and outdoor climbing as well as the opportunity to gain a PADI Open Water diving qualification in the Scuba club.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme
The Duke of Edinburgh's Award is offered to girls in UC4 upwards at Bronze, Silver and Gold levels and, with over 250 girls participating each year, is very popular at CLC. The scheme is challenging and aims to encourage and stimulate enthusiasm and initiative. It presents a balanced non-competitive programme of voluntary activities which encourages responsibility, self-reliance, personal discovery and perseverance.
There are four sections in the scheme:
Volunteering is organised in CLC at Bronze and involves environmental awareness and recycling, this progresses to helping in departments, running clubs for younger girls or being a supportive member of the CLC “Daisy” scheme at Silver. At Gold, the girls can volunteer in the wider community as part of the community links programme.
Physical Recreation involves any new or existing sporting or physical activity, for example athletics, dance, martial arts, team or individual sports or going to the gym.
Skill involves any new or existing hobbies or pastimes, for example art, reading, debating, drama, crafts, musical and photography.
At CLC we have a comprehensive training programme allowing the girls to safely enjoy journeys by walking, canoeing or cycling. Some girls also complete horse riding expeditions with an outside provider. Girls complete their expedition section in many parts of the UK, Europe and overseas. We run expeditions to Wales, the Lake District, Scotland as well as the French Alps. The overseas expedition, which we run every two years, also provides an opportunity for the girls to complete their Gold expedition in some amazing places around the world.
At Gold level there is a fifth section called the Residential Project. Popular choices for this are cookery, conservation work or even revision courses. This is sometimes completed during a gap year but can be fit into any holiday week during the sixth form.
All sections of the Award require a regular commitment outside of normal lesson time for about one hour per week and for a number of months which gradually increases as the girls move through the levels of the Award. There are no absolute standards of ability in each activity as it is all about development of the individual.
The Overseas Expedition
The overseas expedition is the culmination of everything that the department stands for. Girls embarking on the 18-month build up to this expedition learn about a new culture, fund raise, plan and prepare their own itinerary, train and practice for their journey before heading out to their destination for nearly a month.
The expedition is organised largely by the girls and is a personal development experience similar to a gap year. We use the external company called Wilderness Expertise who have coordinated many successful expeditions for CLC in the last 10 years. In order to prepare for this trip there is an 18 month build-up and all expeditions contain three phases.
- Project Phase - Some volunteering, charity work in a school or local community in country.
- Trek Phase - This will be a trek in a wilderness area and can be used as the qualifying expedition for Gold DofE.
- Cultural Phase - This is to explore and sightsee in the country.
In July 2011, 15 girls and two staff travelled to the Himachal Pradesh, worked in a school near Shimla, trekked in the Himalayas before making several long train journeys through Rajasthan. They raised over £5,000 which funded computers, a teacher for a year and some sports equipment for the school.
In July 2009, 35 girls and six staff making three teams travelled to Ecuador. Their expedition included mountain trekking and working to build green houses in urban areas of Quito. A massive £10,000 was raised by two superb events organised by the girls. Most of this money helped fund a new Book Bus which now travels through rural areas of Ecuador.
In July 2007, 23 girls and four staff travelled to Borneo. Groups contributed to the building of a playground at an orphanage and trekked in the mountains and jungle.
In July 2005, 35 girls and staff went to North East Tanzania, with the aim to support the work of Tukae, a charity set up in 2000 to provide health care, educational provision and to initiate small-scale industries in this remote area of a developing country. The trek included some girls successfully climbing Little Mount Meru
In July 2003, a group of 30 girls and accompanying staff experienced travelled to Peru. They spent their time in the ancient Inca capital of Cuzco, teaching and working in an orphanage and completed a 5 day trek to Macchu Picchu.