It is always good to receive feedback from the Gift Your Gear groups. To see the difference the donated gear makes to the Gift Your Gear groups is important. We are really grateful to James at Spring Brook Academy for the valuable feedback we have shared below. The outdoor gear was donated in The North Face stores in the UK.
The biggest hurdle in setting up our outdoor education provision has been clothing and equipment for the pupils at Spring Brook. Outdoor equipment comes at a cost which is a struggle both for the disadvantaged families of our children (our pupils are almost all looked after children and are entitled to free school meals) and for schools in general. Particularly when the academic year runs mainly through the cold wet seasons of autumn, winter and spring, quality waterproofs, walking boots, warm clothing and rucksacks are difficult to attain without spending a fortune.
Since teaming up with Gift your Gear we have managed to furnish our group, and any future groups with all of the outdoor equipment that they need each week. All equipment is kept and washed in school, ready for use on our weekly treks and we have recently collected equipment for camping and cooking ready for our first outdoor camping expeditions due to take place in the summer of 2018. If we hadn’t found Gift your Gear we simply wouldn’t be able to give our pupils these experiences and life skills.
Spring Brook Academy is part of the New Bridge Group which is an Academy of special schools in Oldham catering for, educating and providing amazing outcomes for young people with a huge variety of special needs.
Spring Brook is a dedicated provision for those children with social, emotional and mental health needs and we have recently begun to introduce the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme into our curriculum for key stage 4 (14 – 16 years old). This is important for our pupils as many have not experienced the wonders of the countryside before let alone developed the skills to navigate across it, camp out and cook for themselves outdoors. The scheme allows our pupils to develop the skills they need for life in a different environment than in a standard classroom. Skills such as teamwork, organisation, planning ahead, social interaction, trust and resilience are things that our pupils struggle with the most and our new outdoor education curriculum offer is a great way to develop these skills.
Our first group began in September 2017 and is currently in the middle of their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze award. Alongside the physical, skills and voluntary aspects of the award which are developed in school we head out into the Peak District National Park for one day every week. This allows our pupils to get out of their normal day to day environment and develop many skills that will aid them in their future. The Peak District contains some amazing places hidden away where it has also been possible to link across the curriculum from just outdoor education and personal development and our pupils have had access to learning about real life history, geography and science through visiting locations rich in wildlife, airplane crash sites from the war and historical sites such as Roman ruins, castles and abbeys.
Big thank you to James at Spring Brook Academy