Headteacher’s blog: Reflection on the first half term

As the first holiday of the school year begins, I want to reflect on the first half term our new Year 7 students have spent with us.

At the beginning of September, 180 students from more than 55 different primary schools joined Urmston Grammar.

Changing school, moving on without old friendship groups, going from being top of the school to a very small fish in a rather large pond can have an unsettling effect on even the most level-headed 11-year-olds.

We understand it can be difficult to transition to the challenges of new and varied academic timetable at the same time.

Outdoor learning is now recognised as an essential requirement for a rounded education and improves academic attainment. Urmston Grammar has a long tradition of enriching off-site visits and trips from the Battkefields of Northern France for Year 9, CERN in Geneva for A-Level physicists to a month-long community building project in Tanzania.

.The opportunity to bond with fellow pupils in a different environment enables our new students to make friendships and develop skills that could last a lifetime.

And so, at the end of September our seven Year 7 forms spent three wonderful days at YMCA Lakeside in Ulverston, Cumbria.

You may have already seen a small selection of photographs from the residential trip on our social media channels.

If you don’t already, do follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

In the stimulating learning environment on the shores of Lake Windermere, the students took part in a range of outdoor activities; from raft building, negotiating a blind obstacle course and tackling high ropes.

They persevered and supported each other to overcome obstacles with teamwork and creative problem-solving… and a lot of laughter!

Some surprised themselves by taking on challenges with which they didn’t think they were ready to cope. They strived  and they thrived.

And as a result of pushing themselves, each and every student’s self-confidence skyrocketed in just a couple of days.

Their maturity, work ethic and enthusiasm has been impressive. If this cohort approaches its classroom-based learning in the same manner they will have a great future at Urmston Grammar and out into the wider world.

This is just the beginning of the UGS adventure for them.

As parents you should be very proud of their achievements. As representatives of the school, their behaviour was exemplary.

Thank you to the staff of UGS and YMCA National Centre, Lakeside for ensuring the students’ safety and enjoyment throughout the week.

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