Head of Education Clare Hicks commented “this is the perfect way to welcome our new cohort to Rockley and allows our students to get a real feel for our values and ethos. They also get to see what their future could be like, working as one of our instructors.”

Let the adventure begin!

For both the NCFE Level 2 diploma in Sport (Outdoor Adventure) and BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Sport (Outdoor Adventure), this was only their second week at college. Students piled onto a coach and departed a very sunny Poole at 12:30pm on Sunday 8th September headed for the South West of France. Accompanied by the Rockley Education Team, the new Practical Instructor team and a group of very helpful and well qualified 2nd year students, the adventure began!

A huge thanks to Heather Piper, Levi Tarrant, Ethan Sheppard and Freya Day for taking time out of their second-year programme (with an assignment still due), to ensure the trip was a success for the new students.

The coach ride was dominated by the “The Greatest Showman” film and accompanying songs which consequently became the soundtrack to the week, being played at every opportunity. From wake-up calls to meal times and evening activities, the tune were blasted from the huge camp sound system. Coach drivers Greg and Gareth, did a great job to get our students safely to France in good time to be greeted by the Le Lac Mimizan team on Monday morning.

Sunshine and 22 degrees meant there was nothing better to do upon arrival at the campsite than to get straight out on the water! The students quickly made themselves acquainted to their new homes for the week and changed into their wetsuits for their first on the water session.

With an excellent programme of activities planned by Kate, Kim and the team and the energy they oozed, it was easy for the students to shake off their coach journey and get stuck in to the fun packed week.

Learning new skills

A crowd favourite activity for many students was the Mega SUP session. During this session, students were challenged to work in team of up to 8 on their giant SUP and take on a number of challenges on the lake. This encouraged the students to work really effectively as a team and get to know different people within their peer group. The activity also saw some of the most comical moments of the week. Notably, new Teacher Alex and Rockley Owner Peter Gordon, leading by example in the “wobble off” challenge!

The sailing sessions students took part in were a great way to be introduced to the core sailing skills in the comfort of warm waters in the event of any freak capsizes. Students demonstrated lots of progress and good comprehension of the key concepts in sailing, which will stand them in good stead for both their academic course and working toward their RYA accreditation as an Instructor. They have made a great start on their journey to becoming great watersports professionals. A special mention must go to Olivia Davis and Chelsea May Poole, who with no previous sailing experience, showed no signs of being behind the game in the sailing session, displaying excellent basic boat control and going-about skills.

Dinghy sailing was well complemented in the programme for the week with a Catamaran sailing session, this created a different environment for the students, as they sailed in teams of 3 or 4. Jobs within the boat were divided and some students even took advantage of the trapeze lines on boat the Dart 16’s to build their confidence on the water, especially well done Mia Burdon and Camryn Cox.

One shore-based session was also on offer for the students during the daytime programme, trail riding. This allowed the students to explore a bit more of the beautiful area surrounding the Rockley campsite, passing through the garden of flowers and visiting another campsite on the Eastern side of the lake. In addition to seeing the sights, students took part in some skills challenges, where Josh Thorne-Alcazar and Thomas Winwood excelled.

The fun didn’t end there as after evening meal, the instructor team hosted activities each evening, from a trip to Mimizan and the beach, to the famous “Rockley Challenge” (if you know, you know). In addition to the myriad of activities, what would a trip to France be without the chance to try some authentic French food, yes that’s right, snails made it on to the menu!

Not just any old challenge.......

It is already well known to this new group of students that the Rockley education college programmes offer much more than a regular college course. Being a student at Rockley can be a direct pathway to employment. Starting the scouting process early, the teaching team were on the look out for students already displaying the attitude and values of a Rockley employee, these were celebrated each evening with the awarding of a daily Rockley Rockstar! A huge congratulations to Jamie Barlow, Hattie Clemas, Amber Titley, Ria Hartigan and Max Elvy for making a great start on their new Rockley Education journey!

Such a vibrant atmosphere was present throughout the week that when greeted with heavy rain on Tuesday morning, spirts were not dampened at all! In fact, I think everyone worked harder to be even more positive and get involved in the day. Luckily, Tuesday was the last of the showers and the weather only improved throughout the week, with the students being treated to the best of the weather on Friday before getting back on the coach on Friday evening.

The next time the students will see our French centres will be when they return for their work experience unit of work in June 2020. I’m sure they will be relishing the opportunity to get back out to this amazing location!

With this experience now coming to a close and a coach load of happily exhausted students on the journey home, the new cohort of students are now filled with an abundance of experiences to inform their studies and practical development for the academic year ahead.

Thank you, thank you and thank you again!

A huge thanks must be extended to all the staff at Le Lac Mimizan for hosting a truly amazing week for the new Rockley Education student cohort and creating a massively positive, fun and productive environment for these young people to be inspired by what we do.

Add in huge thanks to the Practical Instructor team, Maddie, Alex, Geoff, Jo, Meg and Andy. These Rockley Education graduates, provided not only excellent tuition but inciteful guidance and comments to the students about what to expect on the course and how to make the most of their time at Rockley. Lead by our Practical Coordinator, Josh, these staff have already begun building great relationships with the students on their journey to becoming excellent watersports professionals.

The real benefits

Without a doubt, this kind of trip at the start of a new term has been incredibly fun but the benefits go much further than that. For the students to be able to communicate and get to know each other and their teachers outside a classroom environment means that they will settle in to student life so much quicker! The skills they have learnt in such a short space of time by them getting stuck in with all the activities has been incredible. They've grown in confidence and they've been given the opportunity to work together as a team. As teachers, we have already identified leaders and team players and by spending time with them in a new, exciting and challenging environment, we have gotten to know the students in a way that may not have been possible.

This is just the start of a very exciting journey for all our students, we’re looking forward to the year ahead!

To find out more about the BTEC course, please click below or click here to book on to an Open Day. Our next one will be on 19th October, 10am - 12pm

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