Windermere School has been named in the top two of a British independent schools’ survey of outdoor education programmes. The 157-year-old school was runner-up for its wealth of educational benefits in the fresh air, a key issue as COVID-19 continues to grip the world.
SoGlos said they scoured the UK to find 12 independent schools with “amazing” outdoor education programmes with the day and boarding Cumbrian school finishing second in the rankings behind Rendcomb College near Cirencester who sponsored the survey.
The survey said: “With its enviable location within a UNESCO World Heritage site, Windermere School in the Lake District has a unique outdoor education programme that is a compulsory part of the curriculum for pupils in Years Three to Nine, with the option to continue into Years ten and 11. Every fortnight, students have a full morning or afternoon dedicated to outdoor education, with activities like climbing, caving, kayaking and windsurfing on offer. The school also benefits from its own private water sports centre on the shore of Lake Windermere.”
Windermere School, which enjoyed excellent International Baccalaureate and GCSE results this year, encourages pupils to take part in outdoor education including sailing, climbing, caving, kayaking and windsurfing. The school is set over three campuses which occupy more than 50 acres of the National Park, a landscape which inspired world-renowned writers including Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth.
Covid-19 has had a huge impact on young people this year and the importance of Outdoor Education and PE is greater than ever. Windermere Students had an impressive programme of curricular teaching during the first lockdown and Outdoor Education and PE continued during this period online, with students learning skills and getting away from their screens as much as possible. Returning to School in September the programme of Outdoor Education was adapted, but seen as fundamentally important for the mental well-being of our students. A full programme of Outdoor Education continued with Hodge Howe being used in the first term and all of our students from Year 3 to 9 are now able to sail.
As we enter a second lockdown, Outdoor Education will still continue and students will be navigating, orienteering, undertaking Watersports and enjoying bush craft. Students will continue to develop the life-long skills such as tenacity, independence, confidence, teamwork and resilience.
Mr Ian Lavender, the school’s head, said: “I am delighted to see Windermere School recognised for its outstanding outdoor education programme. Our students receive a world-class academic education which is enriched by opportunities to explore our exquisite surroundings as part of the curriculum. Academic achievement is key, but it is combined with other activities to inspire a spirit of adventure amongst students.”