Ever since the school was founded, the Outdoor Education Department at St David’s has ensured that all pupils have had the opportunity to take part in a range of outdoor and adventurous activities. From tentative paddle strokes on the school moat to trans-Atlantic sailing expeditions, pupils have been encouraged to get involved, try their best and challenge their comfort zones.
Over the years this gentle introduction has been the spark of imagination that has propelled countless pupils on a lifelong journey to become regular or elite performers in their chosen recreation. Among the past and current pupils, we recognise and celebrate those who have excelled in the field of outdoor activities. For example, within our alumni we have the first ever world cup climbing champion; sailors who have circumnavigated the world; kayakers who compete in slalom events, Olympic GB team members, skiers and sailors who have represented their county at overseas competitions.
More that this, we have helped to encourage and inspire a lifelong passion for the outdoors and the healthy lifestyle that this both promotes and requires. Generally, the Outdoor Education groups at St David’s are not divided in terms of ability. It is therefore the task of the highly skilled and experienced staff team, to maximise the differentiation between pupils and ensure that all pupils are challenged to their maximum potential. By having dedicated outdoor education staff, this allows us to develop a relationship with each child, so that they can be known and challenged at a level that is most effective for them.
To help us promote and focus on this, we are part of the National Association for Able Children in Education (NACE). This organisation works with member schools, education leaders and practitioners to improve provision for more able learners, driving whole-school improvement and raising achievement for all.
Not everyone can become an Olympic athlete, but NACE believes that all able children and young people, regardless of background, should be recognised and have the opportunity to realise their potential. An ethos that is echoed in the Outdoor Education Department.