An activities programme devised by boarding pupils and staff at Harrogate’s Ashville College – which included team building and leadership skill development opportunities – has been nominated for a national award.
The school, which has a 110-strong boarding community spanning 14 different nationalities, is one of just five schools shortlisted in the Boarding Initiative of the Year category in the TES Independent School Awards.
The new activities programme was devised after an on-line questionnaire completed by boarders found just 60 per cent considered the then provision to be either good or excellent.
As a result, the boarding council – which comprised pupils from across the houses – met to look at how a new activities programme could be compiled.
Pupils, together with the house staff identified that they wanted an activity programme which:
- Gave children an insight into British culture and the sights that the UK had to offer, in particular those that were unique to the UK, or indeed Yorkshire
- Enabled children to engage with the local community outside the confines of the school
- Offered breadth and variety, with no over focus on say for example, sporting activities
- Provided team building and leadership skill development opportunities and promoted healthy competition
- Was fun and took people out of their comfort zone
- Encouraged day pupils to enjoy and participate in the boarding activities.
- Offered more for the Sixth Formers socially on Saturday evenings
- Was mindful of the pressure points in the school calendar provided by academic expectations
Over the last 12-months activities the Ashville College boarders have participated in include paintballing, African drumming, inflatables, fishing, roller disco, go-karting, trampolining and disc golf.
They also enjoyed a trip to Harrogate Theatre to watch Aladdin a traditional English Pantomime, visited Manchester Museum of Science and Industry, walked in the Yorkshire Dales and had trips to the Bradford Alhambra and Leeds Grand theatres and the seaside for fish and chips.
Last term the pupils were anonymously re-surveyed and this revealed an increase to 92 per cent of students citing the programme as good or excellent.
Ashville College Headmaster Mark Lauder said:
Being nominated for this award is a tremendous achievement for Ashville College and a ringing endorsement of our boarding regime.
Next year the College celebrates its 140th anniversary, and boarding has been at the very heart of the school since day one.
We have listened to our boarders and the outcome is a tailor-made activities package that is rewarding, exciting and challenging. And the result of the anonymous survey really does speak for itself.