Hathershaw Technology College, Oldham
Every year approximately 120 pupils from Year 7 from Hathershaw Technology College, Oldham, enjoy a residential trip to the Anderton Centre.
The activities they experience help break the ice with the pupils who do not already know each other, as well as boosting confidence and developing social skills with team building activities. The school also uses the centre for Year 9 pupils to complete their Duke of Edinburgh expeditions.
Lorna Philip, Assistant Principal, said the group love the residential aspect away from their homes but are aware they are safe and do not have to do any of the activities that they do not wish to do.
“They are gently encouraged to push themselves out of their comfort zones and the favourite activities are usually in the water, with canoeing being particularly popular.
“The surroundings at the centre are beautiful and the variety of activities available to the group are fantastic. The pupils are kept busy with a packed schedule of orienteering, archery, crate stacking and camp fires.”
Not all the pupils stay at the centre. Some who for religious or maybe a little timid, can just join their friends for the day to enjoy the centre’s activities.
Lorna said: “As staff at the school, you find out who are natural born organisers. You get to see those who empathise with people who are nervous. It’s a good leveller when they are put into difficult situations. It’s great to see them thriving and being proud of themselves.”
The pupils also appreciate the delicious hearty meals on offer, especially after being outdoors all day. All bedrooms are en-suite and having boys and girls in separate rooms on the same corridor helps with staff ratios.
Lorna said: “We have a lot of children who require halal food and the Anderton Centre always accommodates for any dietary requirements. The facilities are to a high standard, in fact better than other centres we have visited. The students sit down at tables with table cloths and cutlery and feel like they are being made a fuss of!”
Before the school visits, staff at the Anderton Centre contact the school with the activity plans to allow for any changes and to accommodate any particular requests.
Lorna said the staff and facilities available are perfect for the school’s needs.
“There’s not many centres that offer land and water activities at the same site. It takes us about 45 minutes to get to the centre, and we can easily get back to Oldham if we have forgotten anything or have an issue. The students thank you and tell you that they had a fantastic time. We are far enough away for them to think it’s a great adventure.”
Kirkham Grammar School
A Kirkham-based school has forged better relationships between form groups after a team-building day at the Anderton Centre in Chorley.
Kirkham Grammar School brought 95 pupils – the whole of year 10 – along to the activity centre after a shake-up of forms.
Simon Duncan, Head of Year 10 at Kirkham Grammar, said: “The pupils have been in the school for three years, but they are changing into smaller form groups. We wanted them to work together as a form, but also encourage a bit of friendly competition between the groups on the day. It worked really well.”
During the team building day, the six groups each took part in six land-based activities at the centre, ranging from the towering crate stack, climbing walls, archery and problem-solving activities, with scores allocated to each team.
Simon said: “The staff were all very friendly and approachable. Rather than a new staff member for each activity, we had a dedicated instructor who moved activities with us – and that worked really well.
“It was great to see the youngsters that you didn’t expect to get involved throw themselves into the activities, and to see the ones who were nervous beforehand flourish. The biggest positive from the day though was the relationship between the Anderton Centre staff and the pupils. They had a great manner with them.
“The teams have really gelled together and are working as much more of a team since the visit. Some have made new friends as a result of the day.”
Simon said the centre was less than an hour away from the school and the pricing was also competitive.
He added: “The centre sent us regular emails and details in the lead up to the day so we knew what to expect when we arrived.
“The whole day was really positive and very worthwhile. We have already booked again for next year.”
Castle Hill St Philip’s Primary School
A five-night residential trip to an activity centre has helped to build relationships and trust between pupils and staff at Castle Hill St Philip’s Primary School in Wigan.
For the last eight years pupils at the school have attended the Anderton Centre in Chorley at the start of Year 6 as an icebreaker and team building opportunity
Catherine Wilcock, Year 6 Class Teacher, said: “It’s a great opportunity to get to know each other and to bond. Year 6 has many challenges and the challenges they face at the activity centre really set them up for year 6.
“During the visit, you get to see how children cope when they are faced with challenges and learn how to support each individual.”
Each year between 20-30 pupils attend and the days are packed with activities such as orienteering, abseiling, canoeing, raft building, low ropes obstacle, crate stack, archery, leap of faith and team outdoor games.
Catherine said: “The programme is flexible and the range of activities is excellent. It develops lots of different skills.
“The best bit is watching the children overcome their fears and achieve goals they didn’t think were possible. They are like one big happy family by the end of the stay and they had amazing experience.
“The children also see the staff as ‘humans’ rather than just their scary teachers and this breaks down barriers and builds trust.”
The Anderton Centre’s staff were commended for the rapport they built with the pupils.
“The instructors are good at controlling groups of children. Their behaviour management is impeccable and they have a great sense of humour.
“The way they handle the children is incredible and nothing is a problem for them. They are excellent role models.”
Catherine added: “The Anderton Centre is wonderful value for money in terms of the choice of activities, and the fantastic food. The whole experience is fantastic.
“The rooms are spotless, the beds are warm and comfortable and it has everything you need.
“The centre has everything we need and the staff are amazing. We can’t fault them. They go above and beyond. There’s no other centre we would consider.