I made an interesting discovery this week, while chatting about Derwent Hill. Most of us, fortunate enough to, have made the trip to Portinscale for the Derwent Hill "experience", either in primary or secondary.
It's an important part of the journey through our school, that our children experience the awe and wonder of waking up to one of the most stunning views in the world.
The reasons we commit to Derwent Hill do include establishing those character building traits that are often talked about as being lacking in each generation. Not a bit of it. Our children possess problem-solving and reasoning skills, resilience, empathy, risk-taking, kindness, determination (to name but a few) in bucket loads. Derwent Hill probes these characteristics and remain, for many departing Y6s, their fondest memory of primary school (despite everything else we do...)
Which leads me to my original point. I discovered that Derwent Hill, was effectively "created" by a band of passionate head teachers and teachers - who dedicated their weekends to travelling up to the Lake District for months on end, to build bunks, fit out wardrobes, paint, nail, clean and generally making the place fit to cater for children.
This sacrifice is in keeping with the thinking that if it needs doing, let's do it and ensured that Derwent Hill, still 50 years on is providing a first-class destination for our children to make memories. It certainly doesn't go unnoticed by many parents, that teaching staff are still willing to give up their week, 24/7 to give our pupils the chance to take it in. When we wave them off tomorrow, it will be in the hope that they have an amazing time, but also remembering that without the three committed members of staff who will be swapping their homes and loved ones for 5 days at Derwent Hill, experiences like it wouldn't happen.
Our PCSOs (Police and Community Support Officers) have been in school this week discussing "stranger danger", while we have been also re-enforcing the important message about acceptable mobile phone use. It's so important that children understand and can balance, what is acceptable and unacceptable and understand the consequences of their decision making.
Being online is part of their world and we are clear about the fact that strangers exist in this virtual world as well as the real world, while also extending that necessary caution to older children, whom they don't know.
I will be sending out a letter regarding mobile phones to parents and carers of children in Yrs 5 and 6. Unless a child is walking to and from school, there is generally no need for them to bring a mobile phone with them into school. Those who do, should switch them off while on school premises and hand them into the office. If a child makes the choice to use a phone, while in school, it will be removed and their parent/carer ask to come into the school office to retrieve it. This is for everyone's safeguarding.