Barely a fortnight into the new term, Year 5 hopped aboard a coach with Mr Jeens, Mr Cody, Mr Ayling and Mrs Miles to seek out adventure, learning, challenge and fun. Breaking the journey north with a stop at Warwick Castle was a delight for the children as they soaked up facts about the castle’s rich history as well as immersing themselves in castle life in the Kingmaker exhibit. A particular favourite was The Falconer’s Quest bird show where we were closely overflown by hawks and eagles and even a condor. Fortunately no children were carried away by peckish birds and we were able to make good time up to Condover Hall to get stuck into our adventures there.
The Condover Hall staff were brilliantly welcoming and we quickly transitioned into our first activities with groups tackling the brilliant laser maze or showing their dare on the zip wire. After a quick turnaround into the rooms, the appetite the children had been building all day was sated by a great dinner served to us by very friendly and helpful staff. Mr Ayling devoured a large plate of curry, rice and naan while others tackled the burgers and chips. Several children noted that the canteen had the same serving bowls in the salad bar as at school (so I was reassured that at least some ate a balanced meal!) Before bed, there was time for a campfire, where the children were led in songs and games by the abundantly enthusiastic Condover Hall team. As the clouds cleared to reveal the twinkling of stars, the group all shuffled back to our rooms tired and ready to sleep.
Wednesday was a day focusing just on activity, challenge and getting stuck in to a little adventure. We split into our groups to complete a carousel of activities including a brilliant Conquest laser tag game, archery tag, climbing, buggy building, and more. Despite the seasonal rain, the children managed to bring their best to each session and it was great to hear children sharing “I set a new record for me” when they climbed that little bit further up a wet climbing wall. The day ended with a silent disco – the teachers did consider bringing their own music for this to break out some 90s classics but didn’t want to scare Mr Cody with too much of a history lesson.
Thursday saw the clouds part and we were bathed in glorious sunshine. This created a great view of Ironbridge on the way to Blists Hill (“it looks so majestic” according to one child). If you haven’t been to Blists Hill before, it is worth every minute of the drive up. So immersive and so brilliantly staffed, the children were absolutely transported to Victorian life. In depth chats in the chemist’s, print shop, carpenter’s, fairground, sweet shop and photographer’s poured yet more great information into their young minds. Mr Ayling was in his element as we had a really enjoyable session doing Intaglio printing after lunch and the children enjoyed the lovely gift shop afterwards. A short coach ride back to Condover for our last activity session was filled with chatter about the things they had each seen.
It was sad to say goodbye to Condover Hall on Friday as the children had had such fun and the staff been so good for us. After a lovely send off, we were soon at RAF Cosford for our STEM workshop and to explore of their impressive collection of exhibits. The staff leading the Pulleys and Levers session did a great job and soon the children were hands on and fabricating a crane to lift a Chinook helicopter smoothly up and down. We had a ‘very British’ picnic lunch where a very sharp shower had us taking shelter among some trees but we were soon back in the sunshine and then back among the aircraft. Then followed the usual end of trip drive home with occasional refrains of campfire and disco songs, chatter about their shop purchases and nodding heads as tiredness caught up with them. Many thanks to the parents for sending their children on this trip, to the children for making it such a fun trip to take and to Mr Ayling, Mr Cody, Mrs Miles and Mr Jeens for taking the children.