Our centres are for everyone

Lendrick Muir/Letham Primary School Partnership
24 September 2021
Text: 6 benefits of an autumn/winter school residential Background image: close up image of toasting marshmallows over a fire
6 Benefits of an Autumn/Winter School Residential Trip
21 August 2023

Our centres are for everyone

Instructor in blue polo shirt sitting with two girls, talking and smiling.

Over the last few years, the team at Alltnacriche has been getting to know pupils and staff at Drummond School in Inverness.

Drummond is a school for young people with Additional Support Needs and includes both primary and secondary pupils. Initially, the team went to visit the school, introducing the young people to some outdoor activities and this led on to day visits to the centre.

The school staff worked closely with the Alltnacriche team, to create experiences that would help enrich learning for the young people, in line with Curriculum for Excellence.

Hannah Steeds, the Ministry Development Coordinator at Alltnacriche says, ‘We are totally committed to making sure everyone can get involved. For example, we have ground anchors fitted for our climbing wall so that we can create a pulley system for wheelchair users or young people who need a bit more support to climb.’

Isabel Black is the Depute Head Teacher at Drummond School. She says, ‘Being able to take groups of young people to Alltnacriche for a day experience was so positive. Seeing young people achieve things that they never thought they’d be able to do, such as the zip line, the climbing wall and gorge walking, was so significant. We saw young people trying new things and encouraging each other and clearly experiencing a sense of success and flourishing. That ethos of positivity is such a valuable thing! Our school is a wonderful positive place anyway, but being able to widen the experience of these young people is so important.

‘The team at Alltnacriche were wonderful… there’s always lots to be done in meeting the needs of the individual young people in the group. For example, creating visual timetables with meaningful symbols to help in preparing for the day. There was a genuine, collaborative attitude, with the team ready to learn and develop their approach.

‘As well as the outdoor activities the visits contributed to the RME curriculum, with the centre team introducing the young people to some Christian teaching.’

Hannah explains, ‘For the Bible story, we did practical retellings of Jesus’ miracles. For example, for the feeding 5,000 story we used the outdoor spaces available so that the young people could imagine being part of the story as we walked around, sat and talked. We got really positive feedback from the school staff who hadn’t really heard the stories told in that way before.’

‘The outdoors itself and activities in the outdoors are both so beneficial to the wellbeing of young people and we’re working hard to develop both our skills and our facilities. Over the winter, our team also engaged in soft skills and neurodiversity training to help us work well with young people with a variety of different support needs.’

– Hannah Steeds, Ministry Development Co-ordinator, Alltnacriche

So, what about the long-term benefits? Isabel comments, ‘Some of the young people achieved a John Muir Award through the visits, and now we’ve actually decided to take some young people away for a residential trip this year.

This is the first time for many years that we have been able to do this. Working with the Alltnacriche team has really contributed to the young people being ready. We aren’t visiting Alltnacriche for our residential as we need a centre with more specially adapted facilities, but the relationship with Alltnacriche has been very important in widening young people’s experience and an excellent use of some of our Pupil Equity Funding (PEF).’

Hannah concludes, ‘As well as Drummond we have also been working closely with Able2Adventure to provide sessions for pupils with Additional Support Needs from Kingussie High School and SNAP (Special Needs Action Project in Inverness). Whether a camp or school residential, we are always happy to meet with pupils before they come to explore how best to adapt our activities so that they can get involved.’

All three of our centres, Alltnacriche, Gowanbank and Lendrick Muir, provide support to groups and individuals with Additional Support Needs. Please get in touch to discuss requirements.

This article was taken from the July 2023 edition of @SU Magazine.

Editor: Hilary Phillips | cygnus-extra.co.uk

Design: Kimberly Wray | innovivid.co.uk

You can sign up to receive our @SU magazine 3 times a year in the post or via email. Sign up here.